man-in-wheelchair-300x199Finis Cuff, 61, had a history of smoking and other health problems, including diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. When Cuff experienced elevated blood pressure, primary care physician Dr. Douglas Keagle prescribed medicine. Cuff’s blood pressure continued to rise, and he returned to Dr. Keagle who prescribed a different blood pressure medication. He then instructed Cuff, whose blood pressure had risen to as high as 200/80, to monitor his blood pressure.

Two days later, Cuff suffered a massive ischemic stroke, resulting in brain damage and lost functioning in both of his legs and right arm.

He sued Dr. Keagle alleging that he chose not to diagnose an impending stroke and refer him to a hospital for an immediate workup. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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imagesMr. Doe, 60, underwent an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram at a local hospital. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCM) is a procedure that allows medical providers to examine and better analyze bile ducts. The procedure is done with an endoscope. Bile ducts are those tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and then to the small intestine. The procedure was done to diagnose and treat problems with the pancreatic ductal systems.

During this procedure, complications arose and Mr. Doe passed away. He had been a corporate executive earning $143,000 annually and is survived by his minor son, who filed a lawsuit against the certified registered nurse anesthetist who attended the procedure. He alleged negligent management of Mr. Doe’s anesthesia, including choosing not to insert a Glidescope when complications developed. A Glidescope is a means in which to provide a patient with a video of clear airway views to allow for a quick ET tube placement in case of a problem. The use of a Glidescope would have been important in allowing for an immediate and urgent way of placing an ET tube to save Mr. Doe’s life.

The parties reached a confidential settlement.

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Unknown-1Mr. Doe, who was in his 60s, was admitted to a hospital for heart surgery. While he was recovering, healthcare personnel placed multiple lines in his body, including a central venous pressure catheter, which was replaced with a peripherally inserted central catheter line.

After Mr. Doe returned to his home, he began to experience chest pain and persistent arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is sometimes referred to as a malfunction of the heart’s electrical system. It occurs when the heart beats irregularly or improperly, meaning it beats too fast or too slow. The symptoms continued.

Mr. Doe then underwent testing over two years to determine the cause. A chest X-ray later revealed that his symptoms resulted from the presence of a foreign body. He underwent surgery to remove a fragment of a triple lumen catheter. Continue reading →

fathersonOn July 30, 2008, Isaiah Lockhart went to the Haymarket Center, a chemical dependency facility. Lockhart had a history of alcohol withdrawal. However, when Lockhart complained of “shortness of breath, dizziness, a productive cough and weight loss,” he was sent to get a medical evaluation.

Lockhart went by ambulance to the emergency room at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, a/k/a Cook County Hospital. He arrived at 10:26 p.m. and was triaged. His symptoms were documented and his vital signs recorded. At midnight he was brought into a treatment room and assessed by a nurse, who again recorded his vital signs.

At no point was his cardiac rhythm evaluated. Lockhart was left alone in the room for a short time and at 12:20 a.m. he was found in cardiac arrest. After a prolonged course of emergency treatment, his heart was successfully restarted, but the lack of oxygen left Lockhart with severe encephalopathy and in a persistent vegetative state.

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UnknownSara Perez, 30, suffered a seizure and collapsed. She was admitted to a hospital where doctors diagnosed a noncancerous brain tumor. Upon discharge, Perez was referred to another medical center where a physician recommended surgery to remove the tumor. The next month, she underwent preoperative blood work and an MRI. A month after that, an anesthesiologist cleared Perez for surgery and she was told that the hospital would call her to schedule the procedure. However, the hospital did not call to schedule that surgery.

At the next physician appointment several months later, Perez signed a second consent form. Perez then underwent another battery of preoperative tests and again was cleared for surgery. Several more months passed. No surgery was scheduled.

The noncancerous tumor grew larger, and Perez suffered a second seizure and midline shift of her brain, which led to her death 13 months after the first seizure. Perez had been a customer service dispatcher earning $10 per hour and is survived by her husband and three young children.

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718085_heartWayne Reynolds, 64, who had a history of smoking and high cholesterol, experienced rapid heartbeat and other problems over the course of several years. He consulted a cardiologist, Dr. Norma Khoury, who ordered an EKG.

The EKG showed an ST segment depression, prompting Dr. Khoury to order a stress test and a follow-up evaluation.

The heart center that was to administer the test informed Reynolds that it would have to be rescheduled due to staffing issues.

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idiopathic-scoliosis-1Edward Belowyianis, 14, suffered from scoliosis. Scoliosis is often referred to as curvature of the spine. The curve of the spine could be sideways and most often occurs during growth spurts in young people just before puberty. Scoliosis is not a disease, but is rather a medical term to describe the abnormal sideways curvature of the spine.

Because of this sideways curvature, pediatric orthopedic Dr. David Roye was the physician who performed surgery on Edward at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.

As a result of the surgery, Edward suffered paraplegia, which is paralysis of the lower limbs of the body. Edward died of complications eight years later. He is survived by his parents.

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UnknownAnna Rahm, 17, began experiencing back pain without relief. Anna’s parents took her to a chiropractor who suggested that she be taken to a physician so that she could undergo an MRI scan. Anna met with her primary care physician at Southern California Permanente Medical Group and was prescribed steroids.

Anna’s mother requested that Anna receive an MRI in light of her 8 months of back pain. However, the doctor said that she could not authorize the test. Anna consulted a physical medicine physician at the HMO clinic who denied her request for an MRI and instead recommended an epidural injection and exercise.

Anna’s back pain increased despite attempts to treat it with acupuncture.

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jb340Harvey Mantei, 60, underwent colon resection surgery performed by U.S. Veterans Hospital staff surgeon Dr. Karen Kwong. Within several days of the surgery, Mantei developed peritonitis and later required two more surgeries as well as additional hospitalizations for treatment of renal failure and MRSA.

Mantei continued to suffer abdominal pain and scarring and required a corset to support his weak abdominal area.

Mantei sued the United States because it operates veterans hospitals, alleging liability for Dr. Kwong’s failure to perform air and water testing during the colon resection surgery to ensure that the surgical connection was sufficient.

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UnknownIn this confidential settlement, a 13-year-old girl was sent to the hospital after she was involved in an automobile accident. She underwent an abdominal CT scan with contrast, which revealed a lacerated spleen with free fluid. The girl was referred to as “Doe” in this case for the purpose of maintaining confidentiality. Doe was transferred to a local hospital. An emergency room physician there reviewed the CT images with the radiologist. A pediatric surgeon also saw the scans.

Doe’s vital signs continued to worsen, and she complained of abdominal pain. A nurse notified the on-call resident of the worsening condition. This doctor diagnosed fluid shifting and ordered IV fluid and morphine.

The next morning a trauma surgeon ordered emergency surgery. Doe suffered a heart attack and required resuscitation before the procedure, which revealed a necrotic bowel resulting from the seatbelt injury in the automobile crash. Doe was then transferred to the ICU where she suffered a heart attack and died. The cause of death was determined to be septic shock resulting from seatbelt-related intra-abdominal injuries. Continue reading →