Verdicts & Settlements
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.
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.
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.
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, suffering severe brain injury due to a lack of adequate oxygen.
$19,800,000 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.
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 oximeter. 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.”
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.
$15,800,000 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
44-year old man presented to the defendant hospital for treatment of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. He was treated with plasmapheresis through a central venous catheter in his internal jugular vein. After treatment was completed, two resident physicians were charged with removing the catheter. The residents ignored the universally accepted technique for catheter removal by failing to appropriately position the patient in the supine position and failing to instruct the patient to perform a breath-hold maneuver. As a result, when the catheter was removed, the patient suffered a devastating air embolism that traveled to the brain, resulting in severe and permanent brain injury.
41-year-old woman died as a result of negligent post-operative nursing care provided at the Defendant hospital. The patient had undergone robotic assisted tongue-resection surgery. Following the surgery, the attending physician placed numerous orders, including one for a medication called Hydralazine, which is intended to control blood pressure in a post-operative patient. The Order instructed any nurse caring for the patient to administer the medication if her systolic blood pressure went above 140. On post-operative day number two, the patient’s blood pressure began to elevate over 140. The Hydralazine was not given by the nursing staff. Later that night, a shift change occurred as the patient’s blood pressure continued to rise. On multiple occasions throughout that evening and into the next morning, the patient’s blood pressure continued to elevate and at one point, it was measured at over 200 systolic. Still, the nursing staff negligently failed to administer the Hydralazine which would have reduced and ultimately controlled the blood pressure. Early in the morning of post-operative day three, the patient began to bleed profusely from her mouth. A code blue was called, but due to the profuse bleeding in the airway, the code team had great difficulty in intubating the patient. By the time they could do so, the patient had suffered a severe anoxic brain injury. The injury left her in a persistently vegetative state for the next 18 months until she ultimately expired.
49-year-old woman died as a result of the negligent medical care and treatment provided at the defendant hospital on September 1, 2012. The patient, who had just traveled from Florida to Michigan with her husband and three children to attend a family wedding, presented to the Emergency Department at the defendant hospital with a complaint of abdominal pain. A CT scan of the abdomen was performed, which revealed an obstructing kidney stone in the patient’s right ureter. Based upon that finding, the Emergency Medicine physician ordered a urinalysis to be performed to rule out the presence of a urinary tract infection. However, the urinalysis was never performed by the hospital’s nursing staff, and the emergency medicine physician, with knowledge of that fact, decided to discharge the patient from the hospital. This failure led to the rapid development of urosepsis (a severe infection caused by an untreated UTI), which caused the patient’s needless and preventable death just three days later.
53-year-old man underwent a hemorrhoidal banding procedure. The procedure itself was totally unnecessary as the patient had no signs or symptoms of any symptomatic hemorrhoids, but merely agreed to have the procedure done at his physician’s recommendation. On December 9 th, 2012, the patient presented to his local emergency department with a history of recent hemorrhoidal banding. His pain level noted as 8 out of 10 in the rectal area. His history included complaints of chills, sweats, fever, nausea and vomiting and an elevated white count in excess of 16,000. Ignoring the obvious cause and effect relationship, the emergency room physician contacted the partner of the physician who had performed the unnecessary banding procedure. That physician recommended that the patient be discharged from the hospital for follow-up in the office. Incredibly, the emergency room physician discharged the patient home with a diagnosis of “the flu.” On December 10 th, 2015 the patient presented to the office of the physician who had performed the unnecessary banding procedure. She sent the patient back to the emergency department. Despite his obvious signs and symptoms of a post-banding infection, the patient went uncared for for several hours until a patient advocate had to become involved at his wife’s request. When he finally was seen, he was seen by a surgical resident who failed to appreciate the dire situation that the patient’s symptoms suggested. The patient was not seen by the attending general surgeon until the next morning. By that time, it was too late as the patient’s infection had become unsalvageable. The patient died on the afternoon of December 11, 2015 as a result of severe sepsis caused by the unnecessary banding procedure.
23-year-old woman had recently given birth to her second child. One and a half months after giving birth, she presented to the emergency department at the defendant hospital where she was eventually diagnosed with a ruptured appendix. On August 12, 2013, she underwent surgery by the defendant surgeon. During the surgery, her appendix was noted to be highly infected and full of “gangrene tissue.” The defendant surgeon employed negligent surgical technique by closing the patient’s subcutaneous skin and tissue, which allowed for the underlying infection to disseminate and to be contained within the skin. The negligent surgical technique, which failed to resolve the underlying infection, necessitated five additional surgeries. Ultimately, the patient was found deceased in her hospital bed on the morning of September 2, 2013 as a result of the underlying infectious process, multiple imaging studies with contrast, five additional surgeries, and going under general anesthesia multiple times, leading to reduced kidney function and ultimately a cardiac arrhythmia that caused her tragic death.
77-year old man presented to the defendant hospital’s emergency department complaining of a sudden onset of leg weakness and paresthesia. The patient had recently been off his anticoagulation medicine due to a recent surgery. Although his symptoms progressed to increased pain, coolness in the leg, and eventually discoloration, the defendant physicians failed to consider an arterial injury and failed to order any arterial imaging studies. As a result, the patient required three surgical procedures, culminating in above-the-knee amputation of his left leg. According to one of the defendant physicians, the patient’s arterial occlusion of his left leg went undiagnosed and untreated because it was Christmas and the hospital was understaffed and the staff was “distracted.”