This past month, there were several medical malpractice related issues made the news:
- The Department of Veterans Affairs continued to make the news due to the scandal causing the delay in care of many veterans. The Military Times reported on August 26 on the VA inspector general issued a 143 page report condemning the poor care veterans were receiving. The report noted training and new scheduling practices that did not delay care that vets needed.
- The Madison Record reported on August 29 that Wisconsin jurors held an ob-gyn responsible for $1 million in damages for a girl injured at birth. This medical malpractice arose out of a nerve root injury to the girls brachial plexus, which is a condition that will affect her for the rest of her life. These types of injuries often occur when an obstetrician negligently applies too much force in attempting to pull a baby out during delivery. The force tears the nerve in the child, permanently disabling the child.
- Citizen’s Voice, a Wilkes-Barre news outlet, on August 21, reported on a $1.5 million jury verdict in Pennsylvania. This lawsuit was due to a nurse who went against doctors orders by giving the patient a blood pressure medication after heart surgery. The drug, Labetalol, can cause complications and injuries if given to a patient who’s blood pressure is not high enough to sustain the medication.
- The Herald-Sun reported on August 20 that a Durham, North Carolina jury found $1.5 million in damages after a doctor uses the wrong drug on a patient causing permanent blindness. The patient went in for cataract surgery but a nurse applied the wrong medication to his left eye, which happened to be toxic and caused blindness. As a result of this negligence, not only was the patient now blind in his left eye, but has also developed other complications. After costs and interest, the final judgment was over $2 million. The newspaper also reported that the doctor ultimately responsible for the surgery has presently moved his practice to Texas.
- Also on August 20, the Alabama local news reported on a $4 million wrongful death lawsuit that occurred in Walker County. In this case, the patient went to his emergency room complaining of stomach and chest pains. The doctor mistook the pains for simply stomach illness. The man went home and hand a heart attack leading to his death. The man was 40 years old at the time of his death. The trial revealed a simple cardiac enzyme test that could have identified that the man was having a heart attack. This test was not performed by the ER doctor, which directly lead to the man’s death.
- On August 14, the Columbus Dispatch reported on an Ohio jury that found $1.8 million in damages arising out of the wrongful death of a 30-year old patient after surgery. He was injured in a traffic accident that caused a subdural hematoma. A simple CT scan would have identified the hematoma before he went into surgery for his other injuries. Because the doctors failed to order the CT scan, they went into surgery without releasing the pressure caused by the hematoma on the patients brain. Due to the increased pressure from the surgery and the hematoma, the patient suffered brain death shortly after surgery.
- The Journal News, a New York publication, reported on a $2.3 million jury verdict in Rockland County. The suit arose out of a man who’s orthopedic surgeon left a serious infection untreated. The injury could have been prevented in this 53 year old man if the doctor had ordered a simple culture, which would have identified the bacterial infection.
If you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should contact a lawyer immediately to determine whether you have a case.