Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Joseph Barsuli, 49, was experiencing aches and left-sided neck pain. The doctor who examined him diagnosed a virus. He then developed numbness in his finger and arm, prompting his admission to a hospital.

At the hospital, a neurologist ordered a CT scan of the cervical spine, which was read by a radiologist, Dr. Wayne Liou, an employee of Virtual Radiological Corp. Dr. Liou interpreted the test as normal; however, the next day, another local radiologist reviewed the film and diagnosed a cervical epidural abscess.

A spinal epidural abscess is an accumulation of pus in the epidural space that can compress the spinal cord. The diagnosis of this is by MRI or by myelography followed by a CT scan. Treatment involves antibiotics and sometimes the drainage of the abscess. The symptoms of this condition are pain, fever and neurologic deficits.
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A South Carolina appellate court has found that a hospital was not responsible to injured patients for choosing not to make sure that a physician had a valid medical malpractice insurance policy in place. Two former surgery patients sued the Laurens County Healthcare System alleging that the hospital was liable for deciding not to ensure that the plaintiffs’ treating surgeon, Dr. Byron Brown, maintain sufficient medical malpractice insurance coverage.

The plaintiffs obtained default judgments against Dr. Brown. They in turn asserted that such a duty was included in the hospital admissions contract, which included “services to be rendered” to the patient. The trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the hospital.

In affirming the summary judgment order, the appeals panel stated that under the plain language of the admissions contract, it is not reasonable to conclude that the term “services to be rendered” refers to the act of monitoring a treating physician’s compliance with medical malpractice insurance requirements imposed by the hospital. The appellate court also rejected the plaintiffs’ contention that the hospital had negligently granted privileges to Dr. Brown.
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Jeanette Olken underwent successful self-catheterization procedures fter undergoing implantation of a sling to treat urinary incontinence. When she later experienced difficulty self-catheterizing, she went to a hospital emergency room.

Olken, 55, saw an emergency department physician and nurse who unsuccessfully attempted to catheterize her.

Dr. Joseph Zajac, a urologist, attempted to dilate Olken’s urethra using a metal sounds dilator. Dr. Zajac tore Olken’s urethra and vagina, and he disrupted the newly implanted sling.
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Mildred Vick, 65, underwent a Salpingo-oophorectomy performed by gynecologist Dr. Lawrence Bandy. Salpingo-oophorectomy is the surgery to remove the ovary fallopian tubes. This procedure is used to treat a variety of conditions, usually ovarian cancer.

Following this procedure, metabolic testing showed an abnormal glomerular filtration rate and creatinine level. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a test used to check how well the kidneys are functioning. It estimates show much blood passes through the glomerular each minute. Glomerular are the tiny fibers in the kidneys that filter waste from the blood.

Creatinine is a waste product produced by muscles from the breakdown of a compound called creatine. Creatinine is removed from the body by the kidneys, which filter almost all of it from the blood and releases it in the urine. The creatinine test measures the amount of creatinine in the blood and/or urine.
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William Pratt, 75, a bilateral leg amputee, went to the Wills Eye Hospital emergency room at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He complained of eye pain and tearing. During his medical workup, Pratt’s eyes were dilated. He was then treated with an antibiotic eye ointment.

The attending physician discharged Pratt with a diagnosis of corneal abrasion. Pratt’s vision was impaired. He steered his motorized wheelchair over cement steps while leaving the hospital. He fell over, and his wheelchair fell on top of him, causing him to suffer a spinal cord injury and a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Pratt underwent surgery but, unfortunately, he later died. He was survived by five adult children. One of the Pratt children, on behalf of the estate, sued Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Wills Eye Hospital, alleging that its staff chose not to advise Pratt of the need for assistance following his discharge.
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William Pratt, 67, was diagnosed with Stage IV liver cancer. He fell down a flight of stairs and was transferred to a hospital emergency room where he was examined and sent for radiological scans. A preliminary reading of the scans concluded that he had not broken any bones during the fall.

The next morning, radiologist Dr. Geoffrey Gilleland reviewed the films and determined that Pratt had in fact broken nine ribs. Dr. Gilleland did not notify the emergency department of his findings, and Pratt was later discharged.

Over the next two days, Pratt developed pneumonia. He was admitted to another hospital where he died two weeks later of the pneumonia and complications of end-stage liver cancer. He was survived by his wife and three adult children.
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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