Medical Malpractice Case Results

PLEASE NOTE: EVERY CASE IS UNIQUE AND DEPENDS ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS, INCLUDING THE FACTS, PARTIES, ISSUES, AND JURISDICTION. ALTHOUGH FRITH & ELLERMAN LAW FIRM, P.C., WAS SUCCESSFUL IN THESE CASES, WE CANNOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT ON ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY OUR FIRM.

Trucking Company Pays $2.5 Million After Driver Causes Accident

The plaintiff was retired, traveling home to North Carolina after judging an antique car show in Kentucky. The plaintiff said he was clipped in the right rear corner of his car by the defendant’s tractor trailer, sending his car spinning out of control into the guardrail and concrete embankment on the right shoulder. Evidence would have shown the driver was checking his cell phone and following too closely when he collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries including fractured ribs, spine, collapsed lungs, fractured sternum, a degloving injury of the wrist and arm, and fractures of the forearm. He survived, miraculously, requiring ongoing physical and occupational therapy that will continue indefinitely in either a long-term care setting, or at home with 24-hour-a-day nursing care.

The case resolved during mediation for $2,500,000.

VA Hospital pays $1,000,000 after Failing to Diagnose Thyroid Cancer

Plaintiff visited his VA physician with a growing goiter on his neck. The hospital physicians failed to order any relevant testing including a biopsy, which would have identified very aggressive anaplastic thyroid cancer. Tragically, the patient died. 

Assisted Living Facility Settles After Resident Thrown From Wheelchair And Fractures Leg

The defendant’s employee pushed our client’s mother in a wheelchair in violation of the plan of care. The employee told her to “hold her feet up” because the wheelchair lacked foot rests; but she could not understand the instruction because she had dementia. She also lacked the strength to lift her legs. Her feet were caught on the carpet, and she was thrown from the wheelchair and fractured her leg. Her health declined and she soon passed away.

The case settled prior to filing suit for a confidential amount at the request of the defendant.

Hospital Settles After Surgical Error Injures Patient

The plaintiff, a 65-year-old woman, scheduled routine surgery to repair a recurrent ventral incisional hernia at a local hospital. The defendant surgeon told the family that he would utilize a laparoscopic approach, unless he encountered significant intraoperative complications, at which point he would convert to an open surgical procedure, or laparotomy. During the procedure, the defendant surgeon encountered extensive adhesions that required prolonged lysis over the course of three hours, nearly twice as long as usual. He persisted in utilizing a laparoscopic approach, until finally converting to an open procedure.

The next morning, the plaintiff complained of increased abdominal pain and distension. She became septic. The plaintiff returned to the operating room for emergency exploratory laparotomy, where the defendant surgeon discovered three separate bowel perforations in her intestine from the previous day’s surgery. Specifically, he identified a “through-and-through injury” to the distal ileum presumed to have been caused by a trocar during the laparoscopic procedure. The injury had a width of 5mm, nearly identical to the width of the trocar that had been inserted during the hernia repair.

As an expert medical doctor would have testified, the plaintiff experienced numerous complications as a result of the perforated bowel. She spent a month in the intensive care unit due to sepsis and was discharged to a skilled rehabilitation facility, where she suffered further pain and complications during her recovery. She now requires near constant home health care and has experienced a diminished quality of life.

The case settled prior to trial for a confidential amount.

Department of Veterans Affairs Settles After Medical Mistake Causes Stroke

The plaintiff was a patient at the Department of Veterans Affairs Coumadin Clinic, receiving 20-30mg of Coumadin every day to keep his INR in therapeutic range. Notwithstanding, when he was admitted to the VA his treating physician (a resident) decreased his dose to only 5mg. Plaintiff alleged the physician wholly failed to consult the VA records which reflected the patient’s long history of Coumadin resistance and current 20-30mg a day dose.

Unfortunately, as the patient did not receive the therapeutic levels of Coumadin while inpatient at the VA, he suffered a stroke a few days after his VA discharge on June 4, 2010. As a result of the stroke, he was airlifted to a local level 1 trauma center where he received emergency treatment. In addition, and as a result of the stroke he was forced to undergo months of therapy. He requires continued assistance with activities of daily living, and is at now at greater risk for future stroke.

The case settled for $275,000 prior to service.

Virginia Hospital Settles For Failing To Monitor Patient’s Oxygen

The plaintiff went to a Virginia hospital for treatment. He required supplemental oxygen at home. Plaintiff’s evidence would have been that the nursing staff failed to use the pulse oxygen timing equipment available in the hospital to monitor the patient. Sometime during the night, it appears he removed the oxygen and died. Staff was unaware of its removal because equipment had not been used.

The case settled for a confidential amount.

Virginia Hospital Settles After Staff Miscommunicates Blood Sugar Levels

The plaintiff, a gentlemen in his late 60’s, went to a Virginia hospital for treatment for low blood sugar. Plaintiff’s evidence would have been that the nursing staff failed to communicate patient’s blood sugar levels to the physician and that as a result, he did not receive proper insulin. As a result, sometime during the night, it appears the patient suffered brain injury, and died a few weeks late.

The case settled for a confidential amount.

Nursing Home Settles After Patient Develops Severe Bed Sores

The plaintiff, a woman in her 60’s, went to a Virginia hospital for surgical care. She was accidently left on a bed pan and nursing staff realized she had developed a Stage III pressure ulcer on her sacrum. Plaintiff alleged the hospital was negligent for failing to turn, provide pressure and leaving her on the bed pan. She required additional wound care, home health care and therapy for months.

The case settled months before trial was scheduled in 2011.

Doctor Settles For $890,000 After Error Leads To Amputation

A mother and wife, in her 60s, went to the emergency room complaining of pain in her right leg and right knee. The plaintiff advised the defendant physician of her history of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, diabetes, hypertension, hypokalemia, asthma, Greenfield filter placement, right knee replacement surgery, among other medical conditions and surgical history. Most significantly, the patient was taking Coumadin and had an INR of 5.0 in the ED. Despite her signs and symptoms, she was diagnosed as having joint effusion and sent home on pain killers.

48 hours later, she returned to the ED with numbness and excruciating pain in her right knee and calf. The plaintiff described the pain as throbbing and on a scale of 10, rated the pain a 10. A surgical consult revealed the patient lacked sensation in her foot, non-dopplerable dorsalis pedis pulse and was unable to dorsiflex or plantarflex her right foot. Because so much muscle and soft tissue had died due to the delay in diagnosis, the patient had to undergo an above the knee amputation.

The case settled for $890,000 prior to trial.

Doctor Settles For $1.4 Million After Miscommunicating Cancer Finding

A married young mother of two children, age 37, went to her physician for an annual physical. A pap smear revealed HPV and abnormal cells. The physician ordered a Cone Biopsy be performed within the month. The pathology report from the biopsy revealed adenoid cystic carcinoma or cervical cancer. Despite this finding, the physician failed to report the severity of the pathology report, but advised the patient to undergo a hysterectomy. The patient did not go through with the hysterectomy. Nine months later she began to experience abdominal “bloating” and sought medical care from her primary care doctor (another physician), who diagnosed the presence of a pelvic mass. The primary care physician immediately sent the patient to a nearby hospital for a CT scan, the results of which revealed a 14-cm mass within the patient’s pelvis, as well as masses throughout the liver consistent with liver metastasis likely related to the pelvic mass.

The decedent was immediately referred to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for a surgical oncology consult. However, surgery was not a treatment option due to the metastatic nature of the cancer. Chemotherapy treatments were started, but the patient died within 30 days of arriving at Baptist Medical Center due to complications from her metastatic cervical cancer. The Administrator of the decedent’s estate filed suit and alleged the defendant physician was negligent in failing to correctly report the results of the biopsy, which would have allowed the decedent the opportunity to treat her cancer. The plaintiff was prepared to present expert testimony that the decedent had a five-year survival rate of 75 percent had she received appropriate and timely treatment for her cervical cancer.

The case settled during mediation for $1.4 million dollars.

Doctors Settles After Removing Neck Collar, Paralyzing Patient

The plaintiff, age 64, was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in April of 2004. He was taken from the accident scene, by ambulance, to a local hospital. Multiple radiographic studies were ordered by the Emergency Room physician, including a CT scan with contrast, to evaluate the extent of the plaintiff’s head and neck injuries. The Emergency Room physician also ordered the application of a soft cervical collar to immobilize the patient’s cervical spine. On the second day of hospitalization, the plaintiff’s consulting neurosurgeon’s partner made rounds and removed the plaintiff’s soft collar. Upon transfer to a Level 1 trauma center within 1 week, the plaintiff was noted (for the first time) to be unable to move his legs or arms. An MRI confirmed the plaintiff had suffered a C6 – 7 disc and ligament injury and a CT scan showed a bilateral C6 – 7 facet disruption and retrolisthesis of C6 on C7. The plaintiff’s quadriplegia is permanent.

The case settled prior to trial against the neurosurgeon.

Radiologist Settles After Missing Critical Result in CT Scan

A 47-year-old male arrived at the Emergency Department at a local hospital complaining of back pain and nausea on March 25, 2007. The ER physician, aware of the presence of the thoracic aneurysm, ordered CT studies of the chest to rule out any changes in the aneurysm. The films were taken by the staff of the hospital radiology department and sent, via tele-radiology, to a radiologist in another state for interpretation. The ER physician requested that the old and current CT studies be compared and any changes noted. The remote radiologist reportedly compared the old and new radiographs and reported to the ER physician there had been no change in the appearance of the thoracic aneurysm. Based upon this interpretation, the decedent was discharged from the ED with directions to see his family doctor if symptoms persisted. Decedent continued to experience pain and discomfort for the next several days and died five days later due to a ruptured thoracic aneurysm.

The case settled shortly before trial.

ER Doctor Settles After Discharging Patient Who Suffered Seizure

A 39-year-old paraplegic presented to the Emergency Department of a local hospital with severely elevated blood pressure. An ED physician discharged the patient, despite the fact that vitals signs were the same at discharge as on admission to the Emergency Department. The patient developed seizures the following morning, returned to hospital, and subsequently died four days later. The patient’s cause of death was “hypertensive seizure.” The patient’s primary care physician and nephrologist opined that the patient should have been admitted to the hospital, placed in ICU and given IV nitro and IV Labetolal to reduce blood pressure. This same physician opined that such treatment would have been 90 percent successful.

The case settled prior to a jury trial.

Department of Veterans Affairs Settles After Veteran Suffers Nerve Damage

A 31-year-old veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom went to the VA for surgery to repair an ankle injury that occurred during his military service. An orthopedic surgeon tried to discharge the client, but his wife refused to leave the VA grounds until her husband received post-surgical care for the pain and swelling around the surgical site. Despite extreme pain and swelling, and the family’s insistence that our client was suffering from something called compartment syndrome, the VA did little for over two days. Finally, an emergency fasciotomy was performed relieving the pressure from the nerves in his foot and ankle. Sadly, over 48 hours of pressure caused permanent nerve damage.

A settlement of $300,000 was reached prior to filing.