MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

• Decedent, 57-year-old woman, was a patient in defendant hospital. Two days following surgery, the patient got up at night with nurse’s help to go to the bathroom. While alone in the bathroom, she fell hitting her left chest/abdomen on the toilet. She was taken back to bed, but several hours later, her spleen, which had ruptured, bled out causing her death. Plaintiffs were the husband and ten children who sued for wrongful death. They claimed that nursing conduct, including patient observation, documentation, and physician notification fell below the standard of care. 

• Decedent, a 37-year-old woman, was seen in defendant OB-GYN’s office by defendant nurse practitioner for a lump in her breast. Defendant sent patient for a study which lead to the impression that the lesion was non-malignant. The patient was told to return to defendant in a few months and when she did, the lesion appeared much worse and the diagnosis was made of an aggressive cancer which eventually resulted in the patient’s death. Plaintiffs were the husband and children of the patient who alleged that defendants negligently failed to properly diagnose and treat the cancer. Because the cancer was aggressive, causation was a significant issue. The family claimed the loss of decedent’s earning capacity in a new business. 

• Plaintiffs were the widow and children of decedent who was a middle-aged man. Defendant surgeon performed placement of a subclavian line which studies later showed had inadvertently punctured the pulmonary artery. After the procedure, the patient bled out in recovery, but a second surgery appeared to correct the problem. While in ICU after the second surgery, the patient bled out again and died. Plaintiffs claimed lack of informed consent, negligent performance of the initial procedure, failure to properly observe the patient post-op, and negligent subsequent surgery. Plaintiffs claimed non-economic damages, as well as loss of future income. 

• Plaintiffs, a 4-year-old girl and her mother, allege that defendant neonatologists negligently failed to recognize that skin lesions on the newborn girl seen at the time of birth could have been herpetic lesions. The mother’s history included evidence of past herpes. The doctors allegedly should have performed a C-section for delivery and should have treated the newborn for presumptive herpes infection. As a result of this negligence, the plaintiff suffered severe herpes encephalopathy, permanent brain damage, and permanent quadriplegia. Lifetime medical care was alleged to exceed $16 million present value. Plaintiff also claimed lifetime loss of earning capacity.