Jury Verdict: Failure to Treat
Stephenson was hired by the Estate of “D.P.” to pursue a medical malpractice claim against Community Hospital in Indianapolis, as well as a claim against a surgeon who failed to timely identify a small bowel obstruction. Our client had gone to the Community Hospital emergency room on three separate occasions within a five day period of time complaining of stomach pain. On her third trip to the hospital, a KUB series of films were ordered by the emergency room doctor. For reasons unknown, after the films were interpreted by a radiologist in the hospital showing the life-threatening condition of a small bowel obstruction, the radiologist’s interpretation was not given to the treating surgeon.
The matter went to trial, and a jury returned a verdict in favor of the estate for $8.5 million.
Settlement in Excess of $1.1 Million for Failure to Properly Diagnose Melanoma
M.A.C. worked as a nurse practitioner for a hematology oncology doctor. M.A.C. scheduled an appointment with M.D. because she was concerned about the appearance of a mole on her thigh. As part of her medical training, she had seen the horrors that patients went through when melanoma metastasized and traveled throughout the body. M.D. removed the mole and did his own pathology examination of the mole, but did not send the tissue to a pathologist or dermatopathologist for examination and a separate opinion. M.D. failed to diagnose melanoma. Two years later, M.A.C. was diagnosed with Stage III metastatic melanoma, as the cancer had metastasized from the location of the tumor to the lymph nodes. M.A.C. underwent surgery to remove 16 lymph nodes, as well as a year of chemotherapy treatment.
Initially, the doctor denied he did anything wrong, but his own expert disagreed and said that if M.A.C. had been properly diagnosed at the time of the mole removal, it was likely that the cancer would not have metastasized, and M.A.C. would have never needed the surgery to remove 16 lymph nodes or the chemotherapy. The case settled shortly before trial for 92% of the maximum recoverable amount under Indiana law.
Settlement Secured: Pediatric Malpractice
“J.P.” was a four year old boy who went in for a tonsillectomy/adnoidectomy. He went in the same day as his brother for the same surgery, and was released the following day. Three days after the surgery, J.P. was throwing up blood late in the afternoon. His mother took him back to the hospital where he was examined by the original surgeon. The child was taken back into surgery, and it was found that he did have a bleeding area coming from the surgery site. He was kept overnight at the hospital.
The medical records show that the morning following this surgery to repair the bleed, the child was “borderline needing transfusion.” The ENT doctor who performed the surgery told the mother to take him home and just monitor him. At approximately midnight that night, the child woke his mother up and had blood on the front of his shirt. The mother immediately called the hospital and was connected to the surgeon. The surgeon again advised the mother just to monitor the child and to bring the child to his office the following day.
The mother took the child to the doctor’s office at noon on the following day. A very minimal exam was done by the surgeon. No additional tests were requested. The doctor again advised the mother to take the child home and monitor him. Approximately four hours later, the child collapsed and started spitting up blood. An ambulance was called, and the child was taken to the hospital. The child had such a small volume of blood in his system that starting an IV was virtually impossible. The child died from loss of blood.
A medical malpractice claim was filed against the ENT doctor. The doctor denied any liability claiming the child’s condition upon physical examination on each occasion was fine, and there was no justification for any additional hospitalization or further treatment. Amazingly, the medical review panel determined that there was a question of fact as to the child’s condition at noon and did not render an opinion on the issue liability. Within 30 days of trial, the case was settled for a confidential sum.
Settlement Secured: Chiropractic Malpractice
“R.V.” was a 44 year old man who was referred to a chiropractor for low back strain that he had experienced while working as a plumber. During a typical chiropractic visit, the chiropractor manipulated R.V.’s cervical spine and neck. This specific type of manipulation is known to potentially cause the dissection or splitting of a vertebral artery at the base of the skull, which results in a major blood clot forming that travels into the base of the brain resulting in a significant stroke.
Stephenson took over the prosecution of the case against the chiropractor when R.V.’s initial attorneys failed to properly pursue the claim, and the court set a hearing on a motion to dismiss the matter. Stephenson was able to become involved in the case and, after taking the deposition of the chiropractor and performing an initial investigation, was able to obtain a confidential settlement.
Settlement Secured: Orthopedic Malpractice
In 2011, 79-year-old “CC” was experiencing severe low back pain which radiated down the back of her leg and into her calf. CC was referred to “MD,” an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spine surgery and practices with a large group of orthopedic physicians at one of the major hospitals in Indianapolis. After obtaining a lumbar MRI scan and examining CC, MD recommended that she undergo an L4-L5 lumbar laminectomy surgery to be performed at the hospital.
On January 11, 2011, the surgery was performed as scheduled. Unfortunately, CC was in such severe pain after the surgery that, after release from the hospital, she had to go to a nursing home for two weeks of rehabilitation before she was able to go home. After returning home, CC’s low back pain improved very little. Six weeks after surgery she returned to MD and expressed her concern. MD advised that she had severe arthritis in her back and that he had not guaranteed that all her back pain would be relieved by surgery. No further testing was ordered and CC left with no further follow up appointments scheduled.
CC assumed she just had to live with the pain. However… Continue Reading.