Verdicts & Settlements

$3.36 million

This medical malpractice claim arises out of the negligence of the Defendants in failing to timely diagnose and treat a spinal epidural abscess (SEA) in the cervical spine which resulted in, becoming a quadriplegic at the age of 41. Despite multiple orders for a "stat" MRI to confirm a suspected SEA, four days elapsed without the necessary test and surgical treatment. Timely and proper compliance with the standard of care would have allowed surgical decompression of the spine and would have avoided all neurologic deficits.


$9,300,000
Julie Harris v. Bonnie Hafeman, M.D., et al

Plaintiff presented to the offices of Defendant Hafeman on June 2, 2010. Defendant Hafeman was her primary care physician. Plaintiff was complaining of a fever, chills, nausea and lethargy. Defendant Hafeman suspected that she had an infection. A mediport that had been placed in March of 2010 was presumed to be the site of the suspected infection. Defendant Hafeman had had the mediport put in because she thought Plaintiff had magnesium wasting syndrome. Plaintiff was receiving 8 grams of magnesium through the mediport, even though the body can only absorb 4 grams. Defendant Hafeman ordered a culture and sensitivity, complete blood count, and chest X-ray. Plaintiff was started on Roecephin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic before the results of the culture and sensitivity were obtained. Plaintiff was working as an OB nurse at Defendant Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital at this time.

On June 7, 2010, Plaintiff had a spiking fever and chills. Defendant Hafeman admitted her to Defendant Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital with a diagnosis of sepsis. She was started on Ampicillin and Tobramycin (80 mg IV every 8 hours). The antibiotics were delivered via the mediport.

The mediport was removed on June 8, 2010. At or around this time, the dose of Tobramycin was increased from 80 mg every 8 hours to 100 mg IV every 8 hours. A PICC line was inserted to facilitate the IV therapy

The final results of the blood cultures were reported on June 10, 2010. Rhodococcus equi (R equi) was identified as the offending organism. R equi is a Gram-positive bacterium that is commonly found in dry and dusty soil. It is known to infect domesticated animals (horses and pigs) and humans. However, R equi infections are rare among humans. People who are immuno-compromised are at greater risk of developing infections secondary to R. equi. Symptoms and severity of the illness vary depending on the location and extent of the infection. Rhodococcus infections resemble clinical and pathological signs of pulmonary tuberculosis. Defendant Hafeman was prescribing Prednisone and Imurone, both of which suppress the immune system.

Plaintiff was discharged from Defendant Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital on June 12, 2010. A plan was hatched by Defendant Hafeman to continue IV Tobramycin therapy on an outpatient basis. Accordingly, she wrote the following orders upon discharge:

  • 300 mg of Tobramycin IV every 24 hours. Give over 60 minutes per Rx dosing.
  • Start at 2130. Pls do a random Tobramycin blood level @ 9 AM.

Tobramycin must be used with great caution because of its propensity to cause ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity. There are drugs that equally efficacious in treating R equi, and are far less dangerous. Given the dose of Tobramycin prescribed, and the duration of time Plaintiff was to be on it be on it, Defendant Hafeman should have ordered trough and peak level monitoring of the drug. Instead, trough and peak serum concentrations were obtained on June 13th, 14th and 15th only. The peak level done on June 14th was critically high (16.03). This should have been of great concern to the Defendants but, unfortunately, was not considered by them. Plaintiff also alleged that the standard of care required Defendant Hafeman to perform clinical examinations of Mrs. Harris on a regular basis. Plaintiff alleged that the failure to monitor her for Tobramycin poisoning was a violation of the standard of care.

Plaintiff argued that the pharmacists who filled the prescription should have been aware that blood levels needed to be regularly checked. Moreover, the pharmacists should have known that Plaintiff required close clinical observation. However, none of them ever informed Defendant Hafeman, nor Plaintiff, that laboratory testing and close clinical observation were necessary. Blood should have been drawn for monitoring. Laboratory values (i.e. BUN and creatinine) should have been obtained to ensure Plaintiff was not becoming toxic. Unfortunately, this was not done.

On July 30, 2010, Plaintiff saw Defendant Hafeman at her office. Defendant Hafeman noted that she was experiencing headaches, anxiety, memory clouding and muscle aches. Defendant Hafeman testified that this was a sign of impaired renal function. Despite this, she failed to obtain trough and peak levels of Tobramycin. At her deposition, Defendant Hafeman testified that the standard of care required her to get trough and peak levels at this time. At trial, she admitted that peak and trough testing should have been done regularly from the time Tobramycin was administered on an outpatient basis.

Plaintiff received the last dose of Tobramycin and had blood drawn on August 2, 2010. The results were abnormal including, but not limited to, elevated BUN and creatinine. The abnormal laboratory results suggested that she was toxic and her kidneys were starting to fail. Once again, Defendant Hafeman neglected to heed warning signs that all was not well. In fact, she failed to review the test results.

On August 6, 2010, Plaintiff complained of severe and unrelenting head pain, nausea, and overwhelming fatigue. Defendant Hafeman finally reviewed the laboratory results during this visit. After doing so, she admitted Plaintiff to Defendant Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital with a diagnosis of acute kidney failure. Two units of transfused blood were given. By this time, she had unfortunately suffered permanent damage to her eighth cranial nerve. Her kidneys were functioning at 20% and she had five times the recommended amount of Tobramycin in her system

On August 11, 2010, Plaintiff was discharged from Defendant Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital with chronically elevated BUN and creatinine levels. The plan was to follow her on an outpatient basis. The discharge diagnoses included a diagnosis of acute renal failure from Tobramycin.

Subsequently, Plaintiff was diagnosed with eighth cranial nerve palsy and vestibular nerve damage. The records state that she has bilateral vestibular disease "secondary to the Tobramycin". Plaintiff has experienced debilitating dizziness which has prevented her from ambulating and maintaining balance. She has significant difficulty with short term memory and neuropsychological testing demonstrated cognitive impairment. Sadly, Plaintiff can no longer perform her job as an OB nurse, which gave her much satisfaction and self-worth. In fact, she has not worked since 2010. In addition, she has been unable to perform most household functions. Plaintiff struggles with depression. Her quality of life has been greatly reduced.

Defendants denied liability. Defendants argued that Plaintiff had approximately six months to live when she was started on Tobramycin, and permanently damaging her kidneys cured her of magnesium wasting syndrome and, consequently, saved her life. In addition, Defendants argued that Plaintiff made a "remarkable recovery ", and she was capable of returning to work. The jury rejected these arguments and returned a verdict for Plaintiff after deliberating less than four hours.


$19 Million
Estate of Sabrie Nash v. Children’s Hospital of Michigan, et al

Plaintiff’s decedent, Sabrie Nash, was a twin who was born premature at 25 weeks on November 7, 2010. Following birth, she was diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), respiratory distress syndrome, and pulmonary hypertension. She was hospitalized at Defendant, Children’s Hospital of Michigan (CHM) and placed on a mechanical ventilator for almost two months. Over time, Sabrie began to make progress with respect to growth and development and her condition improved. On October 11, 2010, she was discharged home on supplemental oxygen.

Sabrie continued to show signs of improvement while at home. She was eating well and gaining weight. Nevertheless, she remained on supplemental oxygen and medication to assist with breathing as her lungs continued to develop.

During the first week of November 2010, Sabrie’s mother noticed that she had respiratory congestion with nasal discharge. On November 7, 2010, Sabrie’s mother took her and her twin brother to CHM to be evaluated. Sabrie’s mother indicated that she did not feel that Sabrie’s breathing was labored, but she was concerned that drainage was clogging the nasal cannula tubing. A chest X-ray showed no focal consolidations (a sign of pneumonia). Sabrie was prescribed nasal saline drops and sent home.

On November 18, 2012, at approximately 9:15 pm, Sabrie’s parents brought her to the emergency department at CHM. At this point, her corrected age was less than one month. Sabrie’s mother reported that Sabrie "was breathing funny," describing episodes of rapid breathing followed by slow breathing. She also reported that Sabrie had stopped breathing and had gone limp. Sabrie’s mother said that she had a "bad feeling" which had prompted her to take Sabrie to the emergency department. Her level of concern was much higher on November 18th than it had been when Sabrie was taken to the emergency department on November 7th.

Sabrie was first seen by Katie Dobratz, M.D. Upon evaluation, Sabrie was tachypneic (respiratory rate 60-68 bpm), hypoxemic (oxygen saturation 88% on 0.06 L NC), and cyanotic (blue). She had a bronchospastic cough, coarse breath sounds, diffuse wheezing, and decreased air exchange. The nursing staff noted that Sabrie had labored respirations with retractions and accessory muscle use. The use of accessory muscles with respirations was an indication that Sabrie was having to work very hard to breath. In short, she was respiratory distress. Sabrie’s clinical status was much more concerning than it had been 11 days earlier. Her clinical condition was indicative of pneumonia.

Dr. Dobratz was doing a residency in emergency medicine. Her supervising physician was Defendant, Minh Cruz, M.D. (Defendant Cruz). Defendant Cruz was acting as the attending physician. A chest x-ray was done. There were findings on the chest x-ray that were consistent with pneumonia. In particular, focal consolidations/infiltrates were seen. However, because there was low lung volume, the x-ray was not diagnostic. Neither Defendant Cruz nor Dr. Dobratz appreciated the significance of the chest x-ray. Their interpretation was that no focal consolidations were present. According to the treating radiologist and experts, this was incorrect. No additional diagnostic studies were ordered by Defendant Cruz or Dr. Dobratz. Neither Dr. Cruz nor Dr. Dobratz consulted with a radiologist.

Sabrie was put on 100% oxygen. She was also given two bronchodilators (albuterol and Atrovent) to relax the muscles in the airways and increase air flow to the lungs. Sabrie’s oxygen saturation temporarily improved after she was started on 100% oxygen and given breathing treatments. Defendant Cruz and Dr. Dobratz incorrectly assumed that this was a sign that she was stabilizing. Anytime a patient is given 100% oxygen and bronchodilators, no matter how sick she may be, the oxygen saturation will increase. The assessments done by the respiratory therapist who saw Sabrie throughout her stay in the emergency department demonstrated that she was not improving. Specifically, the respiratory therapist noted the presence of crackles, wheezing, rales, coarse breath sounds, decreased air exchange, and hypoxia. Of particular significance was the fact that Sabrie’s respiratory rate continued to be elevated after the bronchodilators were given and the supplemental oxygen was increased. She was breathing rapidly to try to compensate for the respiratory compromise the infection was causing. Sabrie’s respiratory status did not get better after she received treatment as Defendant Cruz and Dr. Dobratz assumed to be the case. She remained in respiratory distress.

A diagnosis of bronchiolitis was made by Defendant Cruz and Dr. Dobratz. Bronchiolitis is an infection of the bronchioles (small air passages in the lungs). It is the leading cause of serious lower respiratory illness in infants. The standard of care required that Sabrie be admitted to the PICU. Instead, she was discharged home at approximately 11:36 pm with orders for albuterol treatments every few hours. Sabrie’s parents did not have a pulse oximeter to monitor her oxygen saturation at home. Defendant Cruz testified that the standard of practice required that a patient such as Sabrie be sent home with a pulse oximter. The decision to discharge Sabrie proved to be a fatal error.

A resident radiologist and senior radiologist interpreted the chest x-ray after Sabrie had been discharged. The radiologists reported there was low volume in the lungs, and that focal consolidations could not be excluded. The senior radiologist who interpreted the chest x-ray testified that the study was abnormal and the focal consolidations were consistent with pneumonia. He further testified that Defendant Curz and/or Dr. Dobratz could have obtained input from a radiologist prior to discharging Sabrie had they bothered to make an effort to do so. Moreover, the senior radiologist stated that he would have expected Dr. Cruz and Dr. Dobratz to appreciate the fact that the chest x-ray findings did not rule out pneumonia.

Sabrie’s parents gave her breathing treatments at home as had been ordered. They testified that her condition was the same throughout November 19th as it had been when she was in the emergency department the day prior, i.e. she did not get better nor did she get worse.

On the morning of November 20, 2010, Sabrie was fed and given a breathing treatment after she awoke. She remained on supplemental oxygen. Her parents did not notice any difference in her respiratory status from the previous two days.

Sabrie’s took Sabrie and her siblings to an auto auction. She was placed in a car seat in the family van. Sabrie stayed in the vehicle with her siblings upon arrival to the auction. Her parents alternated going into the auction. At least one parent was in the van with Sabrie the entire time they were at the auction. Sabrie was interacting with her siblings. Neither of the parents noticed any outward signs of respiratory distress. At approximately 2:00 pm, they arrived back home. Blankets were placed over Sabrie and her twin sister’s car seats to keep them warm as they were taken from the van to the house. A blanket was over Sabrie for only a matter of minutes. After bringing the babies into the house and removing the blanket from Sabrie’s car seat, Sabrie’s mother found that she was not breathing. Her father immediately started doing CPR. Copious amounts of fluid were coming out of Sabrie’s mouth and nose. An ambulance was immediately called and CPR was started.

Sabrie was taken to CHM. Unfortunately, the health care providers were unable to successfully resuscitate her. She was pronounced dead at 3:01 pm. The Detroit Police were notified as a matter of routine. Whenever a child dies under the same or similar circumstances, the authorities are contacted. Sabrie’s parents were interviewed. A determination was made that there were no signs of neglect or foul play.

An autopsy was performed which revealed that Sabrie died of bilateral, bacterial bronchopneumonia. Bronchopneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs due to an infection caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The infection produces inflammation in the alveoli of the lungs, causing the alveoli to fill with pus or fluid. The alveoli are tiny air sacs. Because of Sabrie’s underlying condition, the untreated pneumonia was more than she could handle. She suffered acute respiratory arrest that caused apnea, hypoxemia, anoxia, and multi-organ failure. There was no evidence on autopsy, or otherwise, that Sabrie died as a result of suffocation or positional asphyxia.

At deposition, Defendant Cruz testified that she first learned that Sabrie had died when she received the Notice of Intent to File Claim. However, the audit trail was produced at trial and demonstrated that Defendant Cruz had accessed the medical records 12 minutes after Sabrie had been pronounced dead.

Plaintiff’s expert witnesses testified that the standard of care mandated that Sabrie be admitted to the hospital, and that she would not have died this been done. She would have been monitored and the respiratory distress treated. Sabrie would have received antibiotics and breathing treatments. She could have been successfully resuscitated if she had gone into respiratory arrest while she was in the hospital. The experts testified that the chest x-ray showed focal consolidations and, therefore, pneumonia could not be ruled out. Given Sabrie’s underlying respiratory condition, Plaintiff’s experts were emphatic in their belief that she require admission to the hospital.

Defendants argued that it was appropriate to have discharged Sabrie from the hospital. They claimed that she improved while she was in the emergency department. Defendant Cruz testified that she examined Sabrie’s twin brother that evening, and his respiratory status was the same as Sabrie’s. There is no record of Defendant Cruz examining Sabrie’s brother. Defendant Cruz also claimed that Sabrie’s condition, and her twin’s condition, were unchanged from when they had been evaluated in the emergency department at CHM on November 7, 2010. Defendants argued that Sabrie died as a result of positional asphyxia because she had been left in her car seat for more than an hour, as opposed to pneumonia and bronchiolitis. At her deposition, Defendant Cruz accused the parents of killing their child by leaving their baby in the car seat unattended for two hours. At trial she recanted because her own experts stated that there was no evidence that this occurred. The defense tried to portray the autopsy done by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office as being substandard, and the pathologist who performed the autopsy as being incompetent. Plaintiff called the pathologist to testify at trial. She stated that there were clear and unequivocal signs of pneumonia (macrophages) and that the cause of death was pneumonia "every day of the week and twice on Sunday."


$1,300,000

Medical malpractice claim involving a 65-year-old female plaintiff who presented to her PCP in April with a complaint of lower back pain. Plaintiff was diagnosed with severe chronic degenerative disc space narrowing at L4-L5 & L5-S1 with mild chronic narrowing at L3-L4 per X-ray. PCP then sent plaintiff to physical therapy. During therapy, her symptoms worsened and she developed bilateral lower extremity (BLE) paresthesia and saddle paresthesia. Plaintiff was initially able to walk into her PT appointments, but required assistance with ambulation over the course of therapy. In May, plaintiff returned to the PCP who sent her for an MRI of the spine, but not on a STAT basis. Instead, he ordered a routine MRI that took eight days to be done and interpreted. Eventually, plaintiff was diagnosed with severe cord compression at T11/12 with saddle paresthesia and was taken to surgery. However, she suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury, and continued to suffer from BLE weakness following surgery. Plaintiff alleged that the physical therapist and PCP negligently delayed treatment of her condition, which resulted in permanent weakness.

Defendants denied liability and zealously defended the case. The defense disputed liability, and challenged plaintiff's claim that her ability to ambulate decreased during therapy, noting that she traveled to Vegas with her family toward the end of therapy.


Nassar

We represented 10 victims of MSU doctor Larry Nassar, and are continuing to represent them in cases against USAG.


$130 Million
William Beaumont Hospital

Two-month old child, brought to William Beaumont Hospital in Troy, MI, for a renal scan involving a kidney condition. After multiple failed attempts to start an IV, the child's condition changed dramatically, with the child showing signs of trouble breathing and turning blue. Hospital staff failed to call a code blue or perform chest compressions in a timely fashion, leading to hypoxic ischemia, with resulted in massive brain damage and cerebral palsy. The jury found for the plaintiff, awarding $130 million.


$55 Million
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 difficulty 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.


$35 Million
Oppenheim vs. Project Straight, et al

A 33-year-old husband and father of three and 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 died. Believed to be largest verdict ever in Oakland County for medical malpractice.


$22 Million
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.


$22 Million
Lugo

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, suffering severe brain injury due to a lack of adequate oxygen.


$19.8 Million Jury Verdict
Heister vs. Surulli

Jury verdict predicated upon attending obstetrician's 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.


$16.2 Million Settlement
Parties undisclosed

Settlement on behalf of a child who suffers from cerebral palsy due to medical negligence. As a result of negligence, the child will require 24-hour care for life. Under the terms of the settlement, the child, medical facility and medical personnel will remain anonymous.

Cerebral palsy causes impaired movements, rigid limbs and involuntary muscle spasms, among numerous other physical symptoms. Cerebral palsy also causes intellectual disability and potential blindness, deafness and an increased risk for epilepsy.


$15.8 Million 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 11-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.


$11 Million

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 pre-eclampsia 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 to 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 ensure that the patient received adequate care and treatment.


$7.53 Million

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.


$6 Million
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 cesarean section (which the mother consented to), the doctor and nurse continued to administer Pitocin until the baby developed severe bradycardia (low heartbeat), causing permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy and developmental delays.


$6 Million
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 continue monitoring, the baby developed severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) while at home. The hypoglycemia resulted in permanent brain injury and developmental delays.


$6 Million

Settlement on behalf of a newborn who suffered 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 12 hours after discharge was brought back to the hospital by his mother with severe hypoglycemia. The child suffered permanent brain injury and will require round-the-clock care for the remainder of his life.


$5.1 Million

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 use endovascular techniques to stint the injured artery. The child suffers from severe seizure disorder and hemiparesis.


$5 Million

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 cesarean 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.


$5 Million

Mother had multiple previous cesarean sections and was scheduled to have a repeat C-section scheduled for 37 weeks. Mother presented to the hospital at 35 weeks complaining of abdominal pain. Mother requested C-section, but was informed by hospital staff that she could not have one 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 C-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 defendant's expert then agreed would have necessitated immediate cesarean delivery.


$4.5 Million
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 cesarean section. The delay in delivery caused permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy and developmental delays.


$4 Million

Settlement on behalf of patient who experienced brain stem injury secondary to increased intercranial pressure from benign colloid 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.


$3.36 Million
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.


$3.36 Million

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 an 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 had lost use of his arms and legs. He is wheelchair-bound and requires 24-hour care for the remainder of his life.


$3 Million

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 getting 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 insurance policy. McKeen & Associates successfully argued that the nurses had an independent duty to intervene and discontinue the Pitocin therapy.


$3 Million

Settlement reached on behalf of premature girl who suffered 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 percent oxygen therapy. Approximately 24 hours after birth, she suffered 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 used, the respiratory arrest would have been avoided and she would not have suffered a brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.


$3 Million

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.


$2,775,000

Settlement in medical malpractice claim where the anesthesia staff failed to notice respiratory failure in mother in a timely fashion during a cesarean section. This caused mother to suffer brain damage due to anoxia.


$2.6 Million
Failure to deliver and properly resuscitate newborn

An obstetrician and obstetric nurses failed to recognize the need for delivery by cesarean 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.


$2.5 Million Jury Verdict
O'Donnell vs. Henry Ford Health Systems

A 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 and which did not eliminate halo glare, other higher order apparition.


$2.5 Million

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 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 defendant's negligent failure to use appropriate testing to ascertain whether the vessel was a vital structure prior to embolizing it.


$2,375,000

Settlement on behalf of preemie 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 overcame the defendant's argument that the thrombolytic therapy was necessary by demonstrating that studies showed there was still an adequate flow around the clot and that anticoagulation therapy would prevent enlargement of the clot.


$1.8 Million
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 cesarean section. The delay in delivery caused permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy and developmental delays.


$1.8 Million
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 nonindicated pancreatic biopsy. Pancreatic biopsy led to severe multiple complications eventually culminating in the wrongful death of a 39-year-old housewife.


$1.8 Million
Jury Verdict
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 a wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Gregory R. Strauther and Gratiot Health System. In March 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 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 30, 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 Ames' death.


$1.7 Million

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 cesarean 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.


$1.7 Million
Jury Verdict
Heimlicher vs. Steele, et al

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 unborn child. Plaintiff and mother of five Laura Heimlicher lost her unborn child, Cole Heimlicher, as a result of a local hospital's failure to perform an immediate cesarean section delivery, which would have saved 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.


$1.5 Million

Settlement for the estate of a 24-year-old mother of two. Late in 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 cesarean section, leaving two young children.


$1.4 Million

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 daily activities for the rest of her life.


$1,400,000.00

Facts: The client suffered an injury to his spinal cord when 4 emergency room physicians failed to diagnose an abscess causing spinal cord compression. The client suffered a permanent injury to his spinal cord which caused weakness in his extremities which limited his ability to care for himself and return to work.


$1,375,000

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 hyperflexed position for eight days postoperatively. The patient's neurologic status was not evaluated at any time postoperatively. The patient was unable to move his arms and legs when awakened due to ischemic injury to the spinal cord caused by the postoperative 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.


$1.35 Million

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 beats per minute 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 nonreassuring and a difficult forceps delivery was performed. The child had low Apgar scores and transient neonatal depression. McKeen & Associates 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.


$1.3 Million
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 on 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.


$1,250,000.00
Madelyn Smith vs. Martin Tuma, M.D.

First Chair: Steven C. Hurbis, Esq.

Facts: A jury verdict of $1,250,000.00 was rendered against Dr. Martin Tuma was placing an IVC filter in Madelyn Smith when the filter was not indicated. A strut from the filter tore Madelyn’s inferior vena cava and caused massive bleeding. Madelyn suffered a large rectoperineal hematoma while losing nearly 2 liters of blood. She was hospitalized for months, required a long rehabilitation stay, and was never the same. Madelyn had a massive scar from a wound that never truly healed.


$1.2 Million

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 suffers anoxia, resulting in cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.


$1.1Million

Settlement reached on behalf of a 38- yar- od working mother who suffers 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- kown 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 that kept whr 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.


$1 Million

Settlement in a medical malpractice claim for a 9- yar- od 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 b's palsy, leaving the child with permanent loss of function of her arm.


$725,000.00

Facts: The client suffered an injury to his spinal cord when his neurosurgeon failed to diagnose cauda equina syndrome. There was a 48-hour delay which caused a permanent injury to the spinal cord. The client struggled with some difficult walking coupled with bowel and bladder issues.


$725,000.00

Facts: The client suffered a MRSA infection after spine surgery that was negligently undiagnosed for several weeks. The infection spread to his heart and brain causing him to suffer injuries to his vital organs. The client was not able to return to work, and suffered physical disability because of the infection.

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