Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Failure to Diagnose Breathing Problem Results In Structured Settlement of Over $1,000,000

Attorneys Joseph Manna and Lynn Bochenek recently obtained a structured settlement of over 1,000,000 for their client against a hospital that failed to diagnose and treat an intubation problem, which caused the death of a father. The patient had been intubated after sustaining non-life threatening burns in a house fire. He was rushed to a hospital where he was recovering while intubated.

What is Intubation?

Intubation is the use of a breathing tube to deliver oxygen to a patient’s lungs. Many times, a patient’s natural breathing is suppressed with medications in order to ventilate the patient more comfortably and efficiently. When this type of ventilation is done, the patient is unable to breath on their own and healthcare providers must be careful that there are no problems with the breathing tube. If problems with the intubation tube arise, they must be addressed immediately so that the patient is not deprived of life giving oxygen.

Problems With Intubation Tube Not Addressed

In this case, the patient’s ventilator alarm began to sound moments after a nurse had cleaned the intubation tube by suctioning it out. A hissing sound could be heard along with gurgling, which are telltale signs of a problem with the intubation tube that requires the tube be replaced immediately.

Unfortunately, the nurse silenced the alarm, not recognizing that an emergency was in process. Instead of immediately addressing the problem, the nurse put out a routine call for a respiratory therapist to investigate and assist. None came, even after four pages had been placed for a respiratory therapist.

The patient’s blood oxygen quickly desaturated, causing his heart to stop. Although a code was called, the father was deprived of oxygen for too long and he tragically passed away.

Structured Settlement for Patient’s Family

The settlement proceeds obtained in this case will be used to ensure the financial future of the man’s 5 year old daughter. Using a process called a structured settlement, the settlement is expected to grow to well over $1,000,000 by the time the young girl is ready for college.

A structured settlement is a financial planning tool that is used to safeguard and grow settlement money for children and adults. It involves purchasing very safe annuities in exchange for a promise from a financially secure company to pay interest rates higher than one can obtain from an ordinary bank savings account. There are many financial advantages to using this settlement tool.

For More Information

If you have questions regarding medical malpractice or feel you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact Joseph Manna or Lynn Bochenek for a free case review. They can be reached via e-mail at jmanna@lglaw.com and lbochenek@lglaw.com as well as office phone at (716) 849-1333 and cell phone at (716) LAW-3333.

$1,012,500 Settlement Obtained for Delayed Diagnosis of Emergency Back Condition

Attorneys Joseph Manna and Lynn Bochenek recently obtained a $1,012,500 settlement in a medical malpractice case for a man who suffered injuries due to the failures of a hospital and chiropractor to diagnosis and treat cauda equina syndrome (CES).

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES)

CES is a condition that occurs when the bundle of nerves below the end of the spinal cord, known as the cauda equina, is damaged. Signs and symptoms may include low back pain, pain that radiates down the leg, numbness around the anus, inner thighs and groin, and loss of bowel or bladder control. A hallmark sign of CES is saddle anesthesia, which is numbness and tingling in the areas that come in contact with a saddle if one were riding a horse.

The cause of CES is usually a severely herniated disc in the low back. Other causes can include spinal stenosis, cancer, trauma, epidural abscess, and epidural hematoma. The diagnosis of CES is suspected based on symptoms and confirmed by medical imaging such as MRI or CT scan.

CES is generally treated with emergency spine surgery. Without prompt surgical treatment, a patient can develop permanent bladder and bowel problems and sexual dysfunction as well as mobility problems.

Chiropractor Recognizes Symptoms of CES

In this case, the patient complained of severe back pain radiating to his leg with numbness in his groin. He went to see his chiropractor, who testified that he could see “a city block away” that his patient had CES.

Because it is an emergency, and to avoid dangerous treatment delays, chiropractors must send CES patients to an emergency room immediately and also contact or communicate with the emergency room personnel that they are referring such a patient for treatment. The purpose of this communication is to avoid misdiagnosis in an ER and to expedite emergency surgery.

Failure to Communicate CES Diagnosis

Unfortunately, the chiropractor in this case failed to communicate his CES diagnosis to the patient and the ER. Although the patient went to an ER, providers there did not recognize that the patient had CES and they released him on pain medications thinking he had benign low back pain

Consequences of Emergency Room Misdiagnosis

The patient went home, as instructed, and tried to rest. The next morning, he woke up paralyzed and incontinent. He was rushed to a different hospital where doctors performed emergency spine surgery. Although they were able to restore movement to his legs, the delays caused the man to develop permanent bowel and bladder problems, mobility problems and sexual dysfunction.

Settlement Obtained for Client

Insurers for the chiropractor agreed to pay 30% of the $1,012,500 settlement with the hospital’s insurance company paying the balance of $700,000. The client intends to utilize the funds to cope with his mobility disability including the purchase of non-opioid pain relievers, a ranch style home and a mobility scooter.

For More Information

Joseph Manna and Lynn Bochenek are both Partners at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP. They concentrate their practice in patient advocacy and representing clients severely injured by medical malpractice.

Settlement Obtained for Pedestrian Struck by Distracted Driver

Michael P. Stuermer, a Partner at the law firm of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, recently obtained an $825,000 settlement on behalf of a pedestrian who was injured as the result of being struck by the vehicle of a distracted driver.

The following provides an overview of distracted driving, details on the accident and injuries in this case, information on the result obtained for the injured pedestrian, and who to contact for a free case review if you suspect you have been the victim of an injury caused by a distracted driver.

Distracted Driving Epidemic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes distracted driving simply as any activity that diverts attention from driving. Such activities commonly include texting on a phone, eating & drinking, talking to passengers in the car, and adjusting a car’s entertainment or navigation system.

According to a recent NHTSA report, in 2015, 391,000 individuals from across the United States suffered some form of injury from a motor vehicle accident that involved distracted driving. An additional 3,477 were killed in distracted driving crashes.

Pedestrians Impacted by Distracted Driving

The consequences of distracted driving go beyond the drivers and passengers of vehicles. In 2016, 562 non-occupants such as walkers, bicyclists, and other pedestrians, were killed in distracted driving related accidents.
More…