Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

In this medical malpractice lawsuit, the state supreme court of Utah affirmed the decision of the court of appeals, which affirmed the judgment of the district court excluding the plaintiff’s proximate cause expert’s testimony. The state high court held that the district court did not err.

Richard and Deanne Taylor’s daughter, Ashley, was diagnosed at a young age with a neurological disorder that caused her to suffer from spasticity. To control this effect, Ashley received the medication Baclofen through a catheter and an implanted Baclofen pump that delivered it into the thecal sac around her spinal cord.

On April 17, 2013, Ashley woke up suffering from severe shaking in her legs. She saw a physician at the University of Utah Hospital where she received an oral dose of Baclofen. The physician did several tests, which gave Ashley more oral Baclofen and instructed her to return the next day. Although the following day’s tests did not show an obvious sign of a problem, the doctor thought there might still be a problem with the pump. During that time, Ashley kept vomiting and had difficulty keeping down oral doses of Baclofen. After further consultation, the doctor recommended surgery to replace the pump and the catheter connected to it. The surgery was performed the following day. Ashley’s sister later agreed with the statement that Ashley was “back to herself” a day after the surgery.
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At issue in this case, which ended in the Idaho Supreme Court, was whether the jury’s verdict would stand. A medical malpractice lawsuit was brought by Leila Brauner against AHC of Boise d/b/a Aspen Transitional Rehab (Aspen). The lawsuit arose out of Aspen’s delay in sending Brauner to the hospital following her knee replacement surgery, which was a substantial factor resulting in the amputation of her right leg above the knee at mid-thigh.

After a jury trial, a verdict in favor of Brauner was signed by the jury in the amount of $2,265,204 in damages.

Aspen appealed, alleging that various pre-trial and post-trial rulings were in error and resulted in an unsustainable judgment.
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A Mississippi State Appellate Court has reversed a dismissal of a lawsuit that claimed the defendant physician, Dr. Terry Millette, misdiagnosed Debra Green as having multiple sclerosis (MS). As the lawsuit was filed after the applicable state’s one-year limitation, the defendant moved to dismiss, which was granted by the trial court.

Green, a patient of physician Dr. Terry Millette, developed memory problems and an unsteady gait. She began to suffer frequent falls. Green underwent an MRI, which led Dr. Millette to diagnose multiple sclerosis. One year later, in November 2016, after she had been taking medication for MS, Singing River Hospital sent her a letter stating that questions had been raised about Dr. Millette’s medical practices. The letter urged her to obtain a re-evaluation of her diagnosis and treatment plan.

Early in the following year, 2017, Green was evaluated by a new doctor. The doctor told her in May 2017 that she did not have MS. Green sent Singing River Health System a pre-suit notice of claim in January 2018 and filed a medical malpractice suit in May 2018.
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Ms. Doe, 52, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of abdominal pain. She underwent an ultrasound and was diagnosed as having gallstones. Dr. Roe, a general surgeon, performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, during which the doctor encountered an unusual amount of bleeding. The surgeon converted to an open procedure where it was revealed that Ms. Doe’s common bile duct had been clipped and transected. This is the surgical procedure when removing a patient’s gallbladder becomes necessary.

Ms. Doe was transferred to another facility where she underwent emergency surgery to repair injuries to her common bile duct, the hepatic duct and right hepatic artery. Ms. Doe was hospitalized for ten days and the recovery took several months.

Ms. Doe continues to suffer discomfort and pain. She sued Dr. Roe, alleging that the doctor negligently did the laparoscopic surgery by misidentifying bodily structures for cutting. Continue reading

Vincent Lowe brought this medical malpractice lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Mo., against Bryan J. Menges, D.O. and James D. Cassat, M.D. and their employers, Mercy Hospital East Communities (“Mercy Hospital”) and Mercy Clinic East Community (“Mercy Clinic”). In the lawsuit, they alleged that as a result of these defendants’ choosing not to timely diagnose and treat the condition known as mesenteric ischemia, which caused inadequate blood supply to Lowe’s intestines, a substantial portion of his lower bowel had to be removed leaving him with short bowel syndrome, which will require extensive ongoing medical care.

At the jury trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Lowe for past and future economic and noneconomic damages totaling $14,245,545. The jury made comparative fault assessments of 65% to Dr. Menges and Mercy Hospitals, 25% to Dr. Cassat and Mercy Clinic and 10% to Lowe for a net verdict of $12,820,990.

Mercy took an appeal challenging the admission of the life care plan that was prepared and submitted into evidence by Lowe’s expert.
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Doe was 32 when he was taken to Roe Hospital’s emergency room suffering from abdominal distention, constipation and discomfort. There were a large number of patients in the emergency room at the time Doe came in. In the emergency department, Mr. Doe was brought to a hallway because of the overcrowding where hospital nurses attended to him. Over the course of several hours, Doe’s symptoms worsened. Hospital nurses administered a Fleet enema.

A later CT scan revealed that Mr. Doe had a bowel perforation. Surgery was considered but deemed to be too late. Mr. Doe suffered septic shock and then died a day later.

The lawsuit against the hospital alleged that it chose not to timely diagnose and treat Doe’s bowel perforation, which led to his untimely death. Before trial, the parties settled for $950,000.
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Then 2-year-old Doe was taken to a children’s hospital after suffering a fall. A pediatric resident, Dr. James Prosser, set Doe’s fractured right arm and placed a cast on the arm. Later that day, Doe was returned to the hospital, where another physician examined him again and discharged him.

Doe’s parents took the child back to the same hospital a third time. This time the staff removed the child’s cast. This led to a diagnosis of compartment syndrome and Volkmann’s ischemic contracture.

Doe is now 19 years old and has a deformed and shortened right arm, scarring, and lost function in two of his fingers.
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Often we hear about large awards paid to patients who were injured in hospitals or other health care facilities. An unusually large award was announced in the case of a brain-damaged woman. It is something of a landmark award because of the amount of money involved. The city announced it planned to appeal the award.

A Bronx jury awarded about $120 million to a woman who has been incapacitated since she was treated at three New York hospitals in 2004.

The award, by a State Supreme Court jury, was made in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jacqueline Martin by her mother. Martin suffered brain damage after a series of hospital visits in February 2004.
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The Illinois Appellate Court rejected a claim by the plaintiff, Ludgardo R. Castillo, that expert testimony was required only to establish the applicable standard of care. Also, the trial court did not err in indicating to Castillo that she would have to pay money to the defendant to reimburse defense counsel for expenses incurred in attending a California evidence deposition of plaintiff’s expert taken days before the scheduled trial. If plaintiff wanted that expert to appear live at trial: (1) the record reflected that the plaintiff was never formally ordered to pay defendant anything; and (2) the plaintiff failed to show any prejudice by her inability to have expert testimony live.

Lastly, the trial court was in error in allowing the defendant to question the plaintiff’s physician as to whether syphilis could be a source of her pain where the plaintiff was never diagnosed with this condition. Since the error related only to plaintiff’s damages and the jury never considered such evidence as the jury held in favor of the defendant on the issue of liability.

The plaintiff, Ludgardo R. Castillo, appealed from a jury’s verdict in favor of the defendants, Dr. Jeremy Stevens and Center for Athletic Medicine (CAM), on plaintiff’s claim of medical negligence.
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David Scheer, the father of Matthew Scheer, drove his son to the emergency room at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center because David noticed that his son had added some disturbing posts on social media. Matthew was 26 at the time. He was also suffering from auditory and visual hallucinations. Matthew was diagnosed as having suffered a break from reality and was admitted to the hospital when he arrived.

As an inpatient, Matthew was seen by two hospitalists. While at this facility, Matthew became agitated, accused the nurses of being devil worshippers, and told staff that he wished to leave the facility.

The second attending hospitalist did not contact David Scheer, Matthew’s father, about his son’s intentions. He allowed Matthew to leave the hospital against medical advice during an Atlantic coast hurricane. Matthew disappeared and reportedly drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. His death certificate listed his death as a suicide. He is survived by his parents and sibling.
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