Wade vs. Henry Ford Hospital
Michigan's largest medical malpractice verdict. Verdict obtained on behalf of brain damaged baby who had presented to emergency department of Bon Secor Hospital with complaints of difficulty in breathing. Mother reported child seemed to be "gasping for air". Following cursory physical examination, child discharged home with instructions for use of inhaler. The following morning the child arrested while en route to the hospital for additional respiratory difficulties. McKeen & Associates effectively argued despite normal vital signs, history of child gasping for air and numerous visits to emergency department over previous week merited admission to the hospital for observation.
Oppenheim vs. Project Straight, et al
33 year old husband and father of three, successful business executive presented to outpatient detox center to help with recovering from addiction to prescription pain medications. Rogers negligently failed to preoperatively ascertain whether patient had cholinesterase deficiency that would make it more difficult for him to recover from anesthetic than normal patients. Patient left unattended for lengthy periods of time in recovery, suffered hypoxic ischemic brain damage. After lingering for several days, the patient expired. Believed to be largest verdict ever in Oakland County for medical malpractice.
Blazo vs. McClaren Regional Medical Center
Largest jury verdict in medical malpractice case in history of Genesee County. Mother, pregnant with twins at 30 weeks presented to McClaren Regional Medical Center for outpatient carpal tunnel surgery. While in recovery, mother reported contractions. Following brief period of monitoring, nurse spoke with attending obstetrician and decision was made to discharge mother. The next morning, mother awoke with advanced premature labor, totally in breach presentation mandating immediate cesarean section delivery. The twins suffered consequences of prematurity with soft neuro cognitive impairment. The male twin later victimized by sodium overdose resulting in stroke and mild cerebral palsy.
Verdict on behalf of Milwaukee family whose daughter was brain damaged from birthing complications at a community health center funded by the federal government. Claim was brought under the federal tort claims act. McKeen & Associates successfully established that the child was stuck in the birth canal for more than 20 minutes, sustaining severe brain injury due to a lack of adequate oxygen.
$19,800,000 Jury Verdict
Heister vs. Surulli
Jury verdict predicated upon attending obstetricians negligence in failure to provide appropriate ante natal care. During prenatal visits, it should have become obvious that a dangerous condition known as oligohydramnios or decreased amniotic fluid existed. Oligohydramnios is both an identifier and risk factor for fetal compromise. As a consequence of delay in delivery, the minor Plaintiff suffered meconium aspiration syndrome and significant cognitive impairment. Defendants argued that cognitive impairment unaccompanied by cerebral palsy cannot be due to ante natal or peri natal events. Plaintiff successfully argued that hypoxia and ischemic injury can cause brain damage that manifests in a variety of ways including cognitive impairment with or without cerebral palsy.
$15,800,000 Jury Verdict
Lowe vs. Henry Ford Health Systems
Mother presented to Riverside Hospital for induction of labor at term. Following administration of Pitocin, fetal monitoring revealed severe episodes of umbilical cord compression and fetal heart rate deceleration. Following repositioning, cord compression was alleviated and fetal heart rate returned to normal baseline. Outpatient obstetrical resident negligently approved patient request to go to bathroom necessitating position change and discontinuation of fetal monitoring. During eleven minute period when fetal monitor was off, cord compression occurred, resulting in severe hypoxic ischemic injury. Following emergency cesarean section delivery, infant was delivered in a profoundly depressed and asphyxiated condition resulting in severe cerebral palsy and mental retardation. The Hospital argued that at the time the decision was made to allow patient to go to the bathroom, the fetal heart tones were normal and baby was well oxygenated. Plaintiff countered arguing that discontinuing the monitor in the face of previous decelerations created an unreasonable risk that additional episodes of umbilical cord compressions would go unnoticed squandering opportunity to alleviate umbilical cord compression with position change or immediate cesarean section delivery before brain damage could ensue.
Settlement of birth trauma claim arising out of defendant's negligent management of labor and delivery, resulting in lack of adequate oxygen, cerebral palsy, and mental retardation. Plaintiff, a 21 year old college student presented to a level III perinatal center at 37 weeks gestation complaining of pain across her stomach, headache and visual disturbance. An evaluation revealed that she was suffering from preeclampsia and her baby experienced intrauterine fetal death. The defendants negligently failed to diagnose a placental abruption and failed to recognize the existence of a bleeding condition known as DIC. Accordingly, defendants negligently failed to expedite delivery and replace lost blood volume and blood products to correct patient's coagulopathy. Following delivery, patient experienced massive postpartum hemorrhage resulting in arrest. Plaintiff went for approximately 12-15 minutes without adequate oxygen to her brain resulting in hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or brain damage which manifests itself in severe quadraparesis, cortical blindness and cognitive deficits with executive functioning difficulties. The defendant doctor had only $200,000 of insurance. McKeen & Associates successfully argued that the hospital's nursing staff knew or should have known of the potential for a placental abruption and DIC, known or should have known of the potential for a coagulopathy and need for blood replacement products and should have pursued a "chain of command" to go over the doctor's head and insure that the patient received adequate care and treatment.
Settlement on behalf of a 16 year old girl blinded shortly after birth due to physician neglect. Following the baby girl's premature birth, she received a consultation to rule out retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). She was diagnosed with ROP in both eyes and a plan of care was made, but no follow up care was provided due to poor communication between physicians. Appropriate care was not administered for six months. By that time, she was diagnosed with stage 5 ROP and it was too late to save her sight. McKeen & Associates was able to successfully argue that timely medical treatment would have prevented blindness.
Delay in performing c-section
An obstetrician and obstetrical nurse failed to recognize that use of Pitocin was causing too frequent uterine contractions which in turn caused the fetus to be less able to tolerate the stress of labor. Rather than perform a c-section (which the mother consented to) the doctor and nurse continued to administer Pitocin until the baby developed severe bradycardia (low heart beat) which caused permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays.
Failure to monitor newborn's blood sugar
Pediatricians and pediatric nurses failed to correctly monitor a newborn's blood sugar and allowed the baby to be discharged before it was proven that the baby could maintain adequate blood sugar levels on oral feedings alone. As a result of the failure to keep the baby and continue to monitor the baby developed severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) while at home. The hypoglycemia resulted in permanent brain injury and developmental delays.
Settlement on behalf of a newborn who sustained permanent brain injury due to profound hypoglycemia. The baby was born at term, but was small for gestational age, which put him at increased risk for hypoglycemia. The attending pediatrician and newborn nursery nurses failed to properly monitor the baby's blood sugar before feedings to see if the baby could maintain a safe blood sugar on oral feedings alone, without supplementation by IV fluids. The baby was prematurely discharged and within twelve hours after discharge was brought back to the hospital by his mother with severe hypoglycemia. The child sustained permanent brain injury and will require round-the-clock care for the remainder of his life.
Settlement on behalf of 1 month old infant who was run over by father in driveway. Child was airlifted to care center where he was noted to be neurologically intact. Several hours after admission, child began demonstrating evidence of weakness in hand grasp. Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) was ordered STAT. Defendant hospital however negligently failed to obtain the study in a STAT fashion, and eventually the child suffered a stroke from delayed recognition of an internal carotid artery dissection. McKeen & Associates successfully argued that the delay in diagnosis resulted in a squandered opportunity to either anticoagulate the child to prevent stroke and/or utilize endovascular techniques to stint the injured artery. The child suffers from severe seizure disorder and hemiparesis.
Settlement on behalf of a minor child born at 35 weeks with severe perinatal asphyxia. Mother was sent to the hospital by her obstetrician due to a complaint of decrease in fetal movement. Upon arrival at the hospital an obstetric resident with six months experience and an obstetric nurse misread the electronic fetal monitor strips and failed to recognize the need for an immediate c-section. As a result in the delay in delivery, the child experienced severe hypoxia and asphyxia resulting in hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The child has cerebral palsy and permanent developmental delays.
Mother had multiple previous cesarean sections and was scheduled to have a repeat cesarean section scheduled for 37 weeks. Mother presented to the hospital at 35 weeks complaining of abdominal pain. Mother requested cesarean section but was informed by hospital staff that she could not have cesarean section simply for abdominal pain. Defendants negligently failed to recognize that uterine rupture was occurring and eventually uterine rupture transpired resulting in profound hypoxic ischemic brain damage to baby with cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Defendant hospital argued that it would have been below the standard of care to have done a cesarean section for a premature infant. Plaintiff successfully demonstrated however that the child had mature lungs and that if there was any concern for lung immaturity, (a consideration which was insignificant, the risk of profound brain damage from uterine rupture), a simple test would have revealed lung maturity which defendants expert then agreed would have necessitated immediate cesarean delivery.
Failure to monitor baby and perform c-section
Obstetric resident and obstetric nurses failed to recognize abnormal fetal heart tracing in the face of a complaint of decreased fetal movement. In addition, the obstetric resident failed to properly interpret a test of fetal well being (biophysical profile) resulting in further delay in delivery by c-section. The delay in delivery caused permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays.
Settlement on behalf of patient who experienced brain stem injury secondary to increased inter-cranial pressure from benign coloid cyst of the third ventricle. Patient presented to his primary care physicians complaining of headache. The physicians negligently failed to obtain a CT scan which would have allowed for identification of benign brain tumor and safe stereotactic aspiration. The cyst caused an obstruction of cerebral spinal fluid and increased intercranial pressure. The patient presented to the hospital with a severe headache and loss of neurologic deficits. The hospital personnel negligently failed to take prompt steps to decrease the increased intercranial pressure. The patient suffered severe brain stem injury.
Failure to diagnose and treat spinal epidural abscess.
Internal medicine doctors, nurses, and neurosurgical staff failed to take the proper steps to allow performance of an MRI to confirm a suspected spinal epidural abscess (SEA) in a young man with a history of injection drug use. Due to the delay in performing the MRI there was a delay in performance of surgery once the patient developed signs and symptoms of spinal cord compression. The delay in performing surgery resulted in the patient developing permanent paraplegia from the level of C-7 down. The patient now requires 24 hour, round-the-clock care.
Settlement on behalf of a 45 year old man who was rendered a paraplegic due to the failure of hospital staff to diagnose and perform surgery to treat a condition called cervical spinal epidural abscess (SEA). Plaintiff presented to the emergency department with complaints consistent with a SEA in his neck. A stat MRI was ordered to confirm the diagnosis and allow surgeons to identify where the abscess was and how best to operate on it. There was a three day delay in obtaining the MRI. Ultimately, Plaintiff developed new onset neurologic deficits indicating that the abscess was pressing on his spinal cord. By the time surgery was performed, Plaintiff has lost use of his arms and legs. He is wheelchair bound and requires 24 hour care for the remainder of his life.
Settlement in birth asphyxia claim when physician and nurses failed to recognize a fetal heart rate monitor pattern that showed clear fetal distress requiring urgent cesarean section. The child's mother was receiving an induction of labor with Pitocin for several hours when the fetal heart rate monitor showed significant decelerations of the heart rate. The monitor also showed that the mother's contractions were occurring too close together, preventing the baby from sufficient oxygenation. Neither the physician nor the nurses turned off the Pitocin and the baby became bradycardic and a c-section was performed 30 minutes too late, resulting in the child's cerebral palsy and mental retardation. The defendant physician had a $100,000.00 insurance policy. McKeen & Associates successfully argued that the nurses had an independent duty to intervene and discontinue the Pitocin therapy.
Settlement reached on behalf of premature girl who sustained a respiratory arrest causing cerebral palsy. Following admission to the NICU, the child's oxygen saturation and overall condition steadily decreased despite receiving up to 100 % oxygen therapy. Approximately 24 hours after birth, she sustained a respiration collapse stemming from air leaking into her chest from her lungs, a condition known to occur in premature infants. McKeen & Associates successfully argued that if surfactant therapy (which improves the level of oxygen saturation and keeps the baby's lungs inflated by keeping them from sticking together) was utilized, the respiratory arrest would have been avoided and she would not have sustained a brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.
Settlement in a birth trauma case on behalf of a child whose birth was complicated by improper monitoring of mother's blood pressure after an epidural was placed. The child did not receive enough blood and oxygen due to mother's low blood pressure leading the obstetrician to attempt to deliver using a vacuum before the child was low enough in the birth canal. This led to multiple "pop offs" of the vacuum and eventual trauma to the child's skull leading to cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.
Settlement in medical malpractice claim where the anesthesia staff failed to notice respiratory failure in mother in a timely fashion during a c-section. This caused mother to sustain brain damage due to anoxia.
Failure to deliver and properly resuscitate newborn
An obstetrician and obstetric nurses failed to recognize the need for delivery by c-section based on abnormal fetal monitor tracings and possible infection. Due to the delay in delivery the child experienced lack of blood and oxygen prior to birth which caused injury to the brain. Following delivery, neonatologists failed to properly resuscitate the child and failed to control seizure activity which contributed to the child's brain injury. The child has permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays as a result of the improper care.
Settlement on behalf of former premie twin who developed hypertension due to clotting of catheter. Rather than simply use conventional anticoagulation therapy, Defendants chose to proceed with dangerous and unapproved thrombolytic therapy designed to break up the clot, which unfortunately resulted in severe intercranial bleeding and cerebral palsy. McKeen & Associates was able to successfully overcome the defendants argument that the thrombolytic therapy was necessary by demonstrating that studies showed there was still an adequate flow around the clot and that utilization of anticoagulation therapy would prevent enlargement of the clot.
$2,500,000 Jury Verdict
O'Donnell vs. Henry Ford Health Systems
49 year old attorney presented to defendant's ophthalmology clinic for performance of lasik surgery. Lasik surgery negligently done when ophthalmologist failed to cut an adequate flap, consequently leading to laser obligation of flap hinge, resulting in irregular stigmatism. Irregular stigmatism required that patient wear hard contact lenses which patient found very uncomfortable to use and which did not eliminate halo glare, other higher order apparition.
Settlement paid on behalf of 39 year old male (Cobus) who developed severe aphasia or inability to verbally communicate following endovascular coiling of arterial venus malformation. McKeen & Associates successfully demonstrated how the defendant, Interventional Neuroradiologists, negligently injected glue to occlude only the arterial venus malformation, but also the artery of percheron, an important arterial structure that was not encompassed within the aneurysm which resulted in the severe aphasia. Defendants argued that the complications were an expected risk of a procedure. McKeen & Associates, however, demonstrated that the complication was a result of inappropriate technique and the defendants negligent failure to use appropriate testing to ascertain whether the vessel was a vital structure prior to embolizing it.
Failure to perform c-section after automobile accident
Emergency medicine and obstetric staff failed to promptly evaluate the status of an unborn baby following a motor vehicle accident involving the baby's mother. The accident contributed to the development of a placental abruption which, over time, deprived the baby of blood and oxygen. The delay in evaluating the baby resulted in a delay in recognition of fetal distress and delivery by c-section. The delay in delivery caused permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays.
Medical Malpractice Verdict
Miller vs. Cabrera
Patient presented to emergency department complaining of abdominal pain and appearing jaundiced. Patient underwent surgery to remove an impacted gall stone. Defendant surgeon reportedly felt the pancreas felt "woody" and proceeded with dangerous non-indicated pancreatic biopsy. Pancreatic biopsy led to severe multiple complications eventually culminating in the wrongful death of a 39 year old housewife.
Ames vs. Strauther, et al
Aaron Forrest Ames, representing the estate of his late wife Lucy Ames, received a jury verdict of $1.8 million in the wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Gregory R. Strauther and Gratiot Health System. In March of 2002, 41-year old Lucy Ames was admitted to the hospital for severe abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with chronic gall bladder disease. Two days later, she underwent a rather common procedure known as laparoscopic gall bladder removal. This is normally a simple procedure where patients can leave the hospital in a day or two. In this case, Lucy Ames suffered for four months while accumulating over $500,000 in medical expenses. On July 30th, 2002, Lucy Ames died at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor suffering from sepsis and a perforated cecum (a pouch at the start of the large intestine.) The Gratiot County jury agreed with the medical negligence complaint that Dr. Strauther was negligent by clipping the right hepatic duct which led to Mrs. Ames' death. Lucy Ames is survived by her husband, Aaron, and her daughter, Julia Pleggameier.
Settlement in a birth trauma case on behalf of a child who was born with evidence of intrapartum asphyxia due to hypoxia and ischemia. The child has cerebral palsy and severe learning disabilities. Mother presented with preterm rupture of membranes and was monitored for several days. Fetal tracings began to show evidence that the baby was stressed and not tolerating the intrauterine environment. Delivery via c-section was indicated for several hours. Ultimately, the umbilical cord prolapsed creating an obstetrical emergency and the child was born via c-section having been asphyxiated.
Heimlicher vs. Steele, et al
SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- On March 11, 2009, an eight-person jury at the United States Federal District Courthouse in Sioux City, Iowa unanimously found a local hospital responsible for the untimely death of an innocent unborn child. Plaintiff and mother of five, Laura Heimlicher, tragically experienced the premature passing of her unborn child Cole Heimlicher, as a result of a local hospital's failure to perform an immediate cesarean section delivery, which would have spared the life of the baby. The Defendant hospital had all of the resources and personnel necessary to deliver the child in time. In violation of the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the Defendant transferred the mother to a hospital 102 miles away, in another state, in snowy icy weather, while the condition of the mother and baby were rapidly deteriorating.
Settlement for the estate of a 24 year old mother of two. Late in stages of her second pregnancy, the patient developed a common condition called pre-eclampsia which is characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine. In some cases, pre-eclampsia can lead to fluid collection in the lungs and if not treated can cause death due to congestive heart failure. The patient presented to an emergency room with complaints of cough. Her blood pressure was elevated. No urine test for protein was done and no chest x-ray was done despite the cough. The patient's obstetrician was not contacted and informed of the patient's new complaints. A few days later, the patient went to see her obstetrician for a routine visit. The obstetrician noted elevated blood pressure and found protein in the urine so she sent the patient to the hospital. The patient still had the cough and her lungs had fluid in them. Once at the hospital, despite the abnormal lung sounds, a physician's assistant gave a bolus of IV fluid which caused the patient to go into congestive heart failure. The patient died during an emergency c-section leaving two young children.
Settlement in a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a 35 year old single mother of one. The client had a history of removal of a benign brain tumor which caused her pituitary gland to stop working. The client recovered from the brain tumor removal and was able to return to work as a mortgage banker. She had to take daily medication called DDAVP to prevent her from losing large amounts of fluid by urination. She was admitted to the hospital with dehydration and for reasons unexplained her doctor stopped her DDAVP which caused her to become even more dehydrated. Due to the severe dehydration, her sodium level went to a critically high level which caused her blood to become thick like maple syrup. The thick blood caused clots to form in her brain causing a stroke. She will require assistance with her daily activities for the rest of her life.
Settlement reached in a medical malpractice claim involving a tracheal surgery resulting in quadriplegia. A 16 year old boy was diagnosed with a cancerous tracheal tumor and a tracheal resection surgery was performed. In an effort to keep the tracheal anastomosis without tension and to allow healing, the surgeon kept the patient medically paralyzed with his head casted in a hyper flexed position for eight days post operatively. The patient's neurologic status was not evaluated at any time post operatively. The patient was unable to move his arms and legs when awakened due to ischemic injury to the spinal cord caused by the post operative head/neck positioning. The defendant asserted that the extent of the tumor required removal of significant amounts of tissue thus significant flexion of the head and neck was the only way to keep the anastomosis intact. McKeen & Associates demonstrated that a less drastic surgical approach would have avoided ischemic injury to the patient's spinal cord and that the quadriplegia could have been avoided.
Settlement reached in medical malpractice claim on behalf of a child who suffers from mild cerebral palsy and cognitive deficits. While a laboring mother was receiving Pitocin to augment labor, the nursing staff observed repetitive variable decelerations of the baby's heart rate. They spoke to the physician, but did not ask him to come in from home. Later the decelerations of the heart rate dropped to 60 b.p.m. and the decelerations evolved into mixed variables and late prolonged decelerations. The nursing staff attempted to resuscitate the child in utero with position changes, but did not turn off the Pitocin. By the time the physician arrived, the fetal heart rate was non-reassuring and a difficult forceps delivery was performed. The child had low apgar scores and transient neonatal depression. McKeen & Associates successfully demonstrated that the child's injuries were due to hypoxia before birth and not due to an intrauterine stroke prior to labor as asserted by the defendants.
Wrong sided brain surgery
A neuroradiologist, while attempting to place a coil in an aneurysm in the brain caused the aneurysm to rupture, causing a medical emergency. The neuroradiologist, neurosurgeon, and operating room nursing staff then failed to correctly communicate and identify the proper side of the head the patient was to have surgery to repair the ruptured aneurysm. The nursing staff and neurosurgeon started brain surgery on the wrong side of the patient's head which caused considerable delay in clipping the ruptured aneurysm. Due to the ruptured aneurysm and the delay in fixing it, the patient suffered permanent brain injury and remained in a comatose state until her death.
Estate of Roe v. Defendants
Settlement on behalf of the estate of a 56 year old woman who presented with a leaking aneurysm in her brain. An interventional neuroradiologist at the hospital attempted to put a coil in the aneurysm; however, he caused the aneurysm to rupture. The patient was taken to an operating room for emergency surgery; however, the neurosurgeon started the surgery on the wrong side of the patient's head, causing further delay in controlling the bleeding. By the time the bleeding was controlled, severe and permanent brain injury had occurred. The patient was left in a vegetative state until her death one and half years later.
Settlement of medical malpractice claim for failure to timely deliver and to recognize signs of fetal distress which were evident on the fetal monitor. Child sustained anoxia resulting in cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.
Settlement reached on behalf of a 38 year old working mother who sustained post traumatic neuropathic pain (RSD) to her left arm caused by an unnecessary injection. The patient was hospitalized for pneumonia and received a vaccine, Pneumovax, from her physician to prevent pneumonia. Five months later she saw her physician for cold and flu symptoms and he once again gave her a Pneumovax injection. It is well known that Pneumovax can be given only once in a patient's lifetime unless one of a limited number of exceptions applies. This patient did not fit into any recognized exceptions to the general rule. Following the second injection, the patient experienced discomfort when moving her arm and over time her arm became worse resulting in burning pain, weakness and sensitivity to touch. She was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) a complex pain syndrome which disabled her from working. McKeen & Associates made the defendant acknowledge that the second injection of Pneumovax was inappropriate under the circumstances and successfully overcame the defendant's position that the RSD was caused by diabetes.
Settlement in a medical malpractice claim for a 9 year old girl who has Erb's Palsy due to mismanagement of shoulder dystocia during delivery. During labor the child's shoulder became stuck under the mother's pubic bone which would not allow the baby to continue through the birth canal. The delivering obstetrician used excessive traction to deliver the baby causing injury to the nerves that go from the spinal cord to the shoulder. The injury to the nerves caused a condition known as Erb's palsy leaving the child with permanent loss of function of her arm.