Category Archives for "Verdicts"

1 $11.4 Million Awarded in Nurse Malpractice Case

After a three-week trial, a jury ruled that nurse malpractice caused Laine Jelinek to suffer damage to his brain during birth. The injury left Laine with cerebral palsy, and he will require constant care over the course of his lifetime.


The lawsuit filed by Laine’s parents in 2006 cited negligence on the part of a certified nurse midwife and registered nurse. The nurses were accused of failing to act in a timely manner after a fetal monitor showed signs the baby was in distress.


Laine was born in 2005 at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Illinois. The $11.4 million verdict will help pay for past and future medical expenses and also compensate Laine for his suffering and loss of earning capacity, among other things.


“This is not an award…But it will change Laine’s life and make the family’s life reasonable,” an attorney for the family said.

Wrong Medicine In This Case

The family of a Pennsylvania woman, Sandra Koch,  has been awarded  1.6 million dollars by a Superior Court jury because she was given the wrong heart medicine.

According to the lawsuit, she had been admitted to Christiana Hospital on July 23, 2003 to be treated for atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart beat.  During her stay she was prescribed Sotalol twice daily.  The drug is used to maintain a regular heart beat in those who have a ventricular heart rhythm disorder.  Also named in the lawsuit were Drs. Lewis and Boyle doctors at Cardiology Consultants, P.A.

Koch also had kidney problems and was receiving dialysis every 3 days.  Sotalol is excreted by the kidneys and, in her case, was building up in her body.  In addition she was receiving  a dosage that was four  times what was appropriate for someone in her condition.  She was receiving 80 milligrams twice daily and that dosage was continued after her discharge.

Four days after discharge she collapsed while eating at a restaurant.  She was pronounced dead at Christiana Hospital.  Timothy Lengkeek, the family attorney, said that doctors should not have given the dosage of Sotalol knowing  she had renal impairment.

"The drug is excreted from the body by the kidneys and if the kidneys don’t work and you are only getting dialysis every third day, the drug can build up in the body and cause a fatal heart arrhythmia, which is what she had kill her six days after she started the drug," Lengkeek said. "There was overwhelming evidence that you don’t use this drug in this particular patient when there are other alternatives that were available that would have done the same thing."

Two Million Dollar Malpractice Verdict

In Rhode Island, a Warwick man has received a $2 million verdict from a Superior Court jury.

Richard Barrett brought suit against Rhode Island Hospital and Dr. William Feng claiming that he did not receive proper care during his open heart surgery in 1998.

Richard Barrett said in his lawsuit against the hospital and Dr. William Feng that he got low amounts of oxygen to his brain during the 1998 operation.

His lawyer says Barrett’s brain damage erased some memories of his children, affected his ability to form new memories and impaired his ability to communicate.

David Carroll, representing the hospital and Dr. Feng, says that Mr. Barrett got excellent care.  He plans to file for a new trial and pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court if the new trial is denied.


1 22 Million in Birth Malpractice

Heather Grow’s daughter, Cassie, was delivered by caesarian section but only after she had been stuck in the birth canal for over thirteen hours.  In 1997 Heather was told that she had a narrow pelvic arch and that became an issue about two weeks before delivery when her doctors realized that the baby was about nine pounds.

Cassie got stuck in the birth canal clearly being pushed through an opening where she couldn’t fit.  Attorney Patrick P.J. Beirne described it as like trying to push a watermelon through an opening the size of an apple.   Not only was Cassie too big for the birth canal but medical workers continued to give Heather drugs to make the uterus contract.  She continued having contractions every couple minutes.  This continued for hours all the while squeezing the baby’s head causing brain damage.

Attorney Mark Mueller said that the doctor had a responsibility to ensure that Heather had a safe delivery.

Cassie, now 11, is a spastic quadriplegic. That means she has limited use of her limbs.

She can walk short distances but needs a walker. She can see but because the part of her brain that processes vision was damaged, her brain can’t properly interpret what her eyes see. She has problems using her hands, and she is mildly retarded, Mueller said.

"These are permanent injuries," Mueller said.

The vast majority of the settlement is for Cassie’s future medical needs  and future loss of ability to perform ordinary activities.

$2.5 Million Illinois Erb’s Palsy Verdict

In Illinois a two million plus dollar award was given to a four year old by a Lake County jury.   His permanent disability was caused when the doctor pulled too hard on the baby’s neck during delivery.  As a result the boy suffered severe nerve damage.    He has had two surgeries so far and several physical therapy sessions.   His mother says he may need yet another surgery later this year.

In addition to Dr. Thakar, the lawsuit also named Dr. Thakar’s employer, Greenleaf Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates in Gurnee.

"The award will provide for the physical and occupational therapy the child needs for the remainder of his life," Attorney Joe Kolar said. "The jury verdict will help pay for any future surgeries he may need and compensate him for the pain and suffering he will experience for the rest of his life."

New Jersey Cerebral Palsy Verdict

No question.  This is a large verdict and it is no wonder that the the defense has said publicly that they will seek a new trial. That is standard.  Take a look at the facts laid out in this quote.  This (in my opinion) is a pretty typical medical malpractice case involving a delay in diagnosing the problem.

After a trial that began Feb. 11, the jury in Freehold deliberated two days before finding Aravind Palav, an obstetrician, negligent and awarding the boy $19.25 million on Monday afternoon.

According to Drazin, Palav initially misdiagnosed Kowalski, who was 30 weeks pregnant at the time, after she called him the evening of Sept. 11, 1997, complaining of abdominal pain.

Palav delayed in determining she was hemorrhaging and had lost a massive amount of blood, the lawyer charged. Kowalski was 40 at the time.

Palav also failed give to Kowalski the tests she needed, did not recognize the baby might be in "fetal distress" and ignored the warnings of a nurse who pinpointed the woman’s problem, Drazine said.

Brandon, delivered by C-section at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, had to be resuscitated and spent four months in intensive care, Drazin said. He suffers from severe brain damage, cerebral palsy and is legally blind.

Source: Jury awards disabled boy $19 Million

Here’s how a malpractice cap affects a verdict

In a recent medical malpractice verdict in Indiana a jury awarded $3.7 Million to a young person with cerebral palsy.  Indiana state law reduces that amount to $2 Million under a law that caps verdicts.

Hmmm.  So what that means is that the insurance company gets to fight tooth and nail to keep from paying out and when they lose big then they are still protected.  Their maximum risk is $2 Million.  So who then bears the cost of the medical mistake… The victim.

Here’s the Article:

A child was born in 2001 via c-section and is now suffering from cerebral palsy. Her family believes it was a lack of oxygen during birth and that doctors were too slow in her delivery. A jury in Indiana agreed and awarded them $3.7 Million in the medical malpractice case.


Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Verdict in Pennsylvania

Another pretty large verdict.  Often these verdicts make the news because of their size.  Please notice that there is usually an offer to settle for the insurance policy limits or some other number.  In many states if there is an offer to settle and the defendant and the insurance company refuse that offer, then if the verdict is larger than then offer or the policy limits then the insurance company may have to pay the higher number (the verdict).  This is designed to encourage settlements.

A Philadelphia jury on Wednesday awarded $12 million to a woman with terminal breast cancer in her suit against two doctors for allegedly failing to diagnose the disease before it had progressed to an incurable stage.

Specifically here is what the lawsuit alleges. "Lawsuit Alleges"  What that basically means is "Here is what the plaintiff claims happened to her."

The suit alleged that, due to Sutherlin’s history of breast problems, including a bloody discharge from her nipple that required a prior biopsy, she was not a proper candidate for a "screening" test in the mobile unit and instead should have undergone a "diagnostic" test.

Magilner testified in his deposition that Sutherlin’s questionnaire, which was completed by Fox Chase technicians, made no mention of Sutherlin’s surgical history, nor the fact that she had undergone breast reduction surgery in 2000. The suit alleged that Magilner’s report erroneously described a "dilated duct" that was "unchanged" and suggested a follow-up test in one year.

But Jones argued in court papers that a comparison of Sutherlin’s 2001 and 2003 mammograms showed that the report from the first test made no mention of a dilated duct.

"In short, Dr. Magilner missed a clear opportunity to note the change in the left ductal prominence, which is where Angela Sutherlin ultimately developed a palpable lump and breast cancer was found," Jones wrote in her pretrial memo.

The suit alleged that when Sutherlin had another mammogram in March 2004 at the Albert Einstein Medical Center, another doctor, Susan Summerton, interpreted the films and noted "several small nodular densities," but found that they "remain stable compared to prior studies."

But the suit alleged that no nodular densities had been noted in the prior report, and that Summerton therefore should not have labeled the finding as benign.

1 Here we go again.

One big verdict and you start seeing stories like this.  You have to dig deep into this article to see the reality: 

Insurance Companies control trial tactics and settlement negotiations.  The insurance company in this case could have settled this case for $2 million.  That is less than 10% of the verdict.  Instead, they chose to go to verdict and they lost.  I bet the doctor wanted to settle.

The second point is that even though the insurance company lost, it will likely settle for an amount significantly less than the trial verdict, so the $38.5 million dollar verdict is a little misleading.

Here’s the article:

A Stamford jury’s decision to award a record $38.5 million to the parents of a boy born with cerebral palsy has reignited debates over medical malpractice rates, insurance company tactics and the cause of cerebral palsy.

Continue reading

4 Anesthesia Malpractice Case Verdict in Illinois

On Thursday in La Salle County Circuit Court, a jury decided Adam Porter should receive nearly $24 million from a doctor and nurse practitioner in a malpractice case.

The 34-year-old Streator man filed a lawsuit in May 2003 against Ephraim W. Batambuze, M.D., John E. Podzamsky, D.O., registered nurse anesthetist Linda Blair of A.T. Associates and nurse practitioner Patricia Duffield, as well as against Batambuze’s practice, Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants.

Porter said he entered St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator in November 2001 for surgery involving a kidneystone in his ureter. During surgery, he underwent cardiac arrest and the flow of oxygen to his brain was interrupted.


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