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Simple Procedures Done Incorrectly Can Create Complex Problems

Sometimes even the simplest procedure can cause very complex problems and even death as we have found recently with two cases involving catheter removal and insertion.

In one case that McKeen & Associates attorneys Brian McKeen and Kenneth Lee recently settled for $3 million, a 44-year man with Guillain-Barre Syndrome was treated at his local hospital with plasmapheresis through a central venous catheter in his internal jugular vein. After treatment, two resident physicians removed the catheter but ignored the universally accepted technique for catheter removal which includes appropriately positioning the patient in the supine position and instructing the patient to perform a breath-hold maneuver. Unfortunately, as a result of this negligence, when the catheter was removed the patient suffered an air embolism that traveled to his brain, resulting in severe and permanent brain injury.

Another case recently settled by attorneys Brian McKeen and Kenneth Lee for $550,000, involved a 52-year-old woman hospitalized for presumed sepsis. The healthcare providers negligently inserted a catheter into the patient's carotid artery instead of the correct location in the patient's internal jugular vein to administer medications. This egregious mistake caused a blood clot to develop in the artery which then embolized to the patient's middle cerebral artery causing a massive stroke and eventual death.

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