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Medical Malpractice Results

    • $4 Million For Wrongful Death Of 40-Year-Old From An Undiagnosed Blood Clot - Medical Malpractice

      We represented the estate of a 40-year-old woman who died from a blood clot that traveled to her lungs (known as a pulmonary embolism). Our client had been given a drug, Lupron, for the treatment of endometriosis. Complications from this drug led to the development of a blood clot (known as a deep vein thrombosis) in our client's pelvis. Two physicians caring for our client failed to communicate with each other about the complications our client was experiencing, thereby delaying necessary treatment. As a result, the blood clot grew until a piece broke off and embolized to our client's lungs causing her death. A District of Columbia jury awarded the estate of our client $4 million. This verdict was appealed on a number of grounds, including that the verdict was excessive. The appeal was denied by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

    • $3.4 Million Settlement For Wrongful Death From Drug Reaction. - Medical Malpractice

      We represented a husband amd three young children for the wrongful death of their 43-year-old wife and mother. The wife/mother was negligently misdiagnosed by her psychiatrist as suffering from Bipolar II Disorder, when in fact she was suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The psychiatrist prescribed the drug, Lamictal, to treat the Bipolar II Disorder. At the time, Lamictal was not approved by the FDA for the treatment of Bipolar II Disorder. The drug was also known to carry very dangerous side effects, most notably Stevens Johnson Syndrome, which can be fatal. In choosing Lamictal, the psychiatrist elected not to use other medications that have a longer proven track record for treating Bipolar II Disorder and do not carry the risk of death as a potential side effect. The psychiatrist never advised the wife/mother about the risks of Lamictal and the alternative medicaitons available. Tragically, the wife/mother developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome as a result of the prescription of the Lamictal. After a lengthy battle with the disease, she died.

      The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $3,482,192.50. The verdict was reduced by the court to $1,650,000 in accordance with Virginia's statutory cap in place at the time. The verdict was recognized as the 2nd Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict in Virginia in 2005.

    • Jury Awards $3 Million For Wrongful Death From Cervical Cancer. - Medical Malpractice

      We represented the estate of a 36-year old woman who died from cervical cancer. An abnormal Pap smear test revealed early stages of the cancer. Tragically, the Pap smear was misinterpreted by the doctor as normal. As a result, the diagnosis and treatment of the patient's cancer was delayed, thereby causing her premature death. In accordance with Virginia law, the jury's verdict was reduced to applicable statutory cap in place at the time.

    • Breast Cancer Case Settles For $2.4 Million - Medical Malpractice

      We represented a forty year-old woman in this District of Columbia medical malpractice case. The patient had a screening mammogram at which time the radiologist found an abnormality in the right breast and recommended to the primary care physician that a repeat study be performed to rule out cancer. The primary care physician failed to follow this recommendation and failed to inform the patient about the abnormality that was found. One year later, the patient had another screening mammogram, which led to the diagnosis of breast cancer. The patient claimed that the one-year delay in the diagnosis and treatment of her breast cancer led to the spread of her cancer and to a significant reduction of her life expectancy.

    • $2.3 Million Against Hospital Physician Engaging In Sexual Relationship With Patient - Medical Malpractice

      We represented a thirty-two year old woman who sought treatment from a hospital-based psychiatrist. The psychiatrist violated the patient-physician relationship by engaging in a sexual relationship with the plaintiff. The hospital knew of the psychiatrist's actions and yet did not seek to restrict the psychiatrist's access to the plaintiff.

    • Jury Verdict In Wrongful Death Case Following Hiatal Hernia Repair - Medical Malpractice

      We represented the estate of a 49-year old woman. She was a single mother of a 17 year-old daughter. The mother died as a result of complications that occurred during surgery.

      In 2007, the mother underwent a surgical procedure to treat gastroesophageal reflux and to repair a hiatal hernia. A composix mesh was used to reinforce the area of the hiatal hernia repair. The defendant surgeon used helical tacks (which resemble corkscrews in appearance) to affix the mesh to the diaphragm through the use of a surgical instrument known as the Autosuture ProTacker. Both the FDA and the manufacturer of the Autosuture ProTacker warned against the use of these tacks in areas where tissue could be compressed to a thickness of 4 mm or less and vital organs were in close proximity. Because the diaphragm is less than 4 mm in thickness directly underneath the heart, both the FDA and the manufacturer specifically warned against the use of these tacks when affixing mesh in this area. The defendant surgeon ignored these warning during the mother's operation. One of the helical tacks used by the defendant surgeon cut the mother's heart vein causing the sac around her heart (known as the pericardium) to fill with blood. Once the pericardium filled with blood, the mother's heart was unable to beat correctly, and the mother went into cardiorespiratory arrest. Her cardiorespiratory arrest caused an anoxic brain injury and brain death.

      The case was tried to a Fairfax County jury. The defendant surgeon did not offer to settle the case before trial. The jury returned a verdict for almost $2.5 million. This verdict was reduced by the judge to the statutory cap of $1.85 million.

    • Jury Verdict For Plaintiff In Lung Cancer Case - Medical Malpractice

      The plaintiff is a 70-year-old man with a history of melanoma. His dermatologist ordered periodic chest imaging studies to conduct surveillance for possible metastasis of the melanoma.

      On Aug. 1, 2006, a chest CT scan ordered by the dermatologist was interpreted by the defendant radiologist. The radiologist reported back to the dermatologist that there were no findings of malignancy, but he did see evidence of prior asbestos exposure. Plaintiff had many pleural plaques (benign lesions) from asbestos exposure in his lungs.

      Plaintiff’s expert radiologists testified that the defendant should have interpreted this film as raising high concern for malignancy, since a nodule in the lower lobe of the left lung had shown significant interval change in size and shape from a prior CT scan done in 2003 and was not a pleural plaque. The CT scan in 2006 did not show enlarged lymph nodes and, therefore, the plaintiff was a clinical Stage I lung cancer patient at the time. The cancer was diagnosed 28 months later via a CT angiogram ordered for possible peripheral vascular disease. At that time, plaintiff was determined to have Stage III-A lung cancer because the cancer had spread to lymph nodes.

      Experts for plaintiff testified that there was an 80 to 90 percent chance of cure if the cancer had been diagnosed back in 2006, and the chance of cure decreased to 20 percent at the time of diagnosis in late 2008. The plaintiff responded well to chemotherapy and radiation therapy which improved his chance of cure to somewhere between 30 and 40 percent.

      The defense offered two arguments. First, the defendant’s radiology expert testified that it would have been reasonable and within the standard of care to interpret this cancerous nodule as a benign pleural plaque although it had a significantly different appearance than the other pleural plaques.

      A defense oncology expert testified that on the basis of doubling time analysis there would have been microscopic disease in the lymph nodes back in 2006 and, therefore, the delay in diagnosis did not change the stage of the cancer, the treatment regimen or the plaintiff’s outcome.

    • Jury Verdict For Patient Who Lost Central Vision In One Eye - Medical Malpractice

      Mike represented a 53 year old woman who lost central vision in one eye following a vitrectomy performed by Dr. Randall Wong at the Capital Eye Consultants. The allegations against Dr. Wong were that he recommended and performed eye surgery despite the fact that the patient's condition did not justify surgery. The patient was not suffering any eye-related symptoms to support surgical intervention. During the unnecessary surgery, the patient suffered an optic neuropathy caused by mechanical trauma to the fovea, resulting in central vision loss.

      Shortly before trial, Dr. Wong admitted liability. The only remaining disputed issue was the valuation of the patient's eye injury. The patient's employment required that she drive a motor vehicle as an essential part of her job duties. Her vision loss resulted in her being found disabled from her employment. As a result, she had a significant loss of income claim.

      After a four-day trial, the jury awarded Mike's client $1.6 million.

    • Settlement Of $1.475 Million For Failure To Diagnose Heart Disease - Medical Malpractice

      We represented a 55-year-old gentleman who suffered a massive heart attack after his treating physicians failed to diagnose and treat the plaintiff's underlying heart disease. Prior to suffering his heart attack, the plaintiff had notified his treating physicians that he was a Type-II diabetic, that he had a strong family history for heart disease, and that he had previously been treated for high cholesterol and borderline hypertension. When the plaintiff began to experience chest pain, his treating doctors ordered a stress test, which the plaintiff failed. Nevertheless, the plaintiff's physician diagnosed the plaintiff as suffering from gastroesphogeal reflux disease or GERD. When the plaintiff continued to experience chest pain and notified his doctors of such, he was again told he had GERD. Soon thereafter, the plaintiff suffered a massive heart attack that has left him severely disabled and with a shortened life expectancy. This case was filed in Virignia, which had a statutory cap that limited the plaintiff's recovery.

    • $1.4 Million Settlement For Stevens Johnson Syndrome Patient - Medical Malpractice

      Plaintiff was a 36-year-old female with a mental disability due to a birth injury that left her with the functional age of approximately six years old. The plaintiff also had a seizure disorder. She was experiencing tremor episodes that the defendant neurologist thought were break-through seizures. In response, the defendant decided to transition the plaintiff from Depakote, the seizure medication she had been taking, to Lamictal. The alleged negligence in the case was that the defendant ignored an FDA Black Box Warning in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) and prescribed the Lamictal at double the initial dose recommended by the manufacturer and double the recommended escalating dose. According to the PDR’s Black Box Warning, the risk of prescribing Lamictal at these higher doses is that the patient will have a higher risk of developing a serious, life threatening rash called Stevens Johnsons Syndrome.

      Unfortunately, plaintiff did develop Stevens Johnsons Syndrome with severe rash over 85 percent of her body surface area and damage to the epithelium of her eyes. The rash was so severe that it was the equivalent of having third degree burns. The plaintiff was treated for three months in a burn unit. She underwent multiple pig skin and cadaver skin grafts, including on her face, and an operation on her eyes. She recovered remarkably well from the injuries with no grossly disfiguring scarring. She has permanently mottled skin from the burns and grafts, some loss of vision in her eyes, and loss of some fingernails.

    • Settlement For Death Of A Toddler Following Trachea Surgery - Medical Malpractice

      The plaintiff's child was a two-year-old who was born with a congenital problem known as Pierre Robin Syndrome. This condition caused some breathing difficulties that required the placement of a tracheostomy tube to assist with breathing. After successful corrective surgery for the underlying congential problem, the tracheostomy was removed. A tract from the skin to the trachea, known as a tracheocutaneous fistula, remained however. Surgery was required to correct this tract. The child died due to complications from the surgery to close the tract. Plaintiff alleged that the surgeon negligently closed the skin while leaving the trachea open. This alleged negligence forced air into the child's chest and resulted in the lungs not being able to expand properly. In turn, the child's heart was unable to pump properly, and the child died. The case settled for $1,375,000.

    • $1.25 Million Settlement For Wrongful Death From Acute Pancreatitis - Medical Malpractice

      We represented the wife and three children of a 40-year-old man who died from complications of untreated acute pancreatitis arising from undiagnosed Cushings Syndrome. Of note, the insurance company for the defendant doctor refused to make a settlement offer until the trial began. During the trial, the insurance company made its first settlement offer and continued to increase its offer throughout the trial until the $1.25 settlement figure was agreed to just before closing arguments began. The case was filed in Virginia and was subject to the $1.5 million statutory cap on damages applicable at the time.

    • Misread Mammogram Leads To $1.05 Million Settlement - Medical Malpractice

      Misread Mammogram Leads To $1.05 Million Settlement.

      We represented the estate of a 52-year-old woman who died from the metastatic spread of her breast cancer. Years prior to the diagnosis of her breast cancer, our client underwent two screening mammograms. The radiologists who read the mammograms interpreted them as negative (not showing any cancer). In fact, both mammograms showed the presence of early breast cancer. As a result of the incorrect interpretation of the mammograms, our client's breast cancer spread from her breast into other organs, ultimately causing her death.

    • $1.05 Million Settlement In Bacterial Endocarditis Case - Medical Malpractice

      We represented a 39-year old gentleman who presented to his primary care physician with signs and symptoms of an infection. A blood culture was necessary to diagnose and treat his infection, but it was not done. Instead, the doctor diagnosed our client with pneumonia instead of the blood-borne bacterial infection that he had. When the patient reported to the emergency department weeks later in significant distress, testing revealed that our client had bacterial endocarditis, an infection involving the heart. The failure to make the diagnosis earlier and to give antibiotics earlier allowed the infection to progress to the point that our client suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest, and required open heart surgery to implant an artificial heart valve and a pacemaker. He will need lifetime treatment with blood thinners, and cardiac monitoring.

    • Uterus Injury Following Hysteroscopy - Medical Malpractice

      The plaintiff was a 38-year-old women who underwent a hysteroscopy to investigate the cause of vaginal bleeding. It was alleged that during the hysteroscopy, the gynecologist perforated both the uterine wall and the rectal wall. The hole in the rectal wall allowed fecal contents to leak out and infect the abdomen and pelvis. The plaintiff suffered a massive infection that was life-threatening. When the infection was diagnosed, part of the treated required the removal of the plaintiff's uterus. Liability was hotly contested. The defendant claimed that the infection arose solely from the perforation of the uterine wall, which was a known complication of a hysteroscopy.

    • Jury Verdict Against Chiropractor Who Breaks Patient's Ankle - Medical Malpractice

      We represented a 43 year-old woman who suffered a broken ankle as a result of the chiropractic manipulation of her feet and ankles. Our client originally visited a chiropractor for back and hip pain. During the chiropractor's examination of our client, he diagnosed her with excessive foot pronation. None of his examination findings supported this diagnosis however. According to the chiropractor's analysis, excessive foot pronation caused an alteration in the patient's biomechanics resulting in hip and back pain. Unfortunately, because the chiropractor failed to take an adequate patient history, he did not appreciate that our client's back and hip was related to a motor vehicle accident, and was not related to gait abnormalities.

      In an effort to treat excessive foot pronation, the chiropractor performed a series of manipulations known as the Charrette protocol. During the manipulations, a portion of our client's talus bone was sheared off, resulting in condition known as a dispalced osteochondral defect. Our client required surgery in an attempt to fix her injury. To date, surgery has not been successful.

      The case was tried to a jury in Fredericksburg, Virginia over the course of three days. The jury awarded our client $500,000 for her injuries.

    • Jury Verdict In Case Involving A Misplaced Pacemaker Lead - Medical Malpractice

      We represented the family of an 81-year-old woman who died following the misplacement of a pacemaker lead. The decedent was diagnosed with a Mobitz Type II heart block and was sent to Fauquier Hospital by her primary care physician for evaluation and treatment. The implantation of a dual chamber pacemaker was recommended, and the surgery was performed by Dr. Chirag Sandesara. Instead of threading the pacemaker lead through the venous circulation and into the right side of the heart, Dr. Sandesara inserted the lead directly into the patient's aorta and into her left ventricle. After the decedent was discharged home with the lead unknowingly in her left ventricle, she suffered a heart attack and heart failure. Thereafter, her health continued to deteriorate, and she died from her complications a few months later. The case was tried to a jury in Fairfax County. The jury found in favor of the patient, and awarded the family compensated that totaled just over $480,000.

    • Client's Case Settles And Defendant Doctor's License Suspended - Medical Malpractice Confidential

      On March 6, 2006, the medical license of Dr. Rene Alvir was suspended indefinitely, for a period of not less than one year, by the Virginia Board of Medicine. Dr. Alvir was a surgeon who performed a TURP surgical operation on a patient represented by Tom Smith of Shevlin Smith. The Virginia Board of Medicine found that conversative medical treatment (i.e. no surgery) would have been the appropriate course of treatment for the patient. The patient later died following complications from this unwarranted surgery. The resolution of the underlying medical malpractice case was confidential by agreement of the parties.