Medical Malpractice

Notable Verdicts & Settlements in Medical Malpractice Cases

Unmonitored Patient After Surgery Suffers Severe Brain Injury Due to Lack of Oxygen – $3M Settlement

We represented Tom S., 38 years of age, who went to a hospital in South Jersey on July 18, 2007 with severe abdominal pain. He was diagnosed with a hernia and surgery was performed the next day without any complications.

He was then transferred to the medical surgical floor at this South Jersey hospital. At approximately 5:30am on July 20th, one of the Hospital’s nurses entered Tom’s room. She testified that she could not wake Tom S. up. She testified that she continued to arouse him for a period of time which she estimated could be as long as ten minutes, but the records revealed lasted almost thirty minutes. A “code” was called at the hospital and Plaintiff was then given medications that brought him back to life; however, with severe complications.

This hospital had policies and procedures that required patients such as Tom S. to be monitored continuously. More specifically, the hospital had a policy which required Tom’s oxygen to be monitored continuously through the night so that he did not have episodes where he stopped breathing. However, the nurses failed to follow their own policies and when they found Tom S. unresponsive they waited an extraordinary and devastating length of time that caused him to have a severe brain injury.

Plaintiff had a nurse expert to testify that the nurses violated the standard of care and their own policies with regard to the proper monitoring of Plaintiff. In addition, we had retained a neurologist and a life care planner to substantiate the incredible damage to the Plaintiff.

We were able to secure a $3M settlement for the Plaintiff which will ensure that his medical needs will be taken care of for the rest of his life.

Premature Baby’s Death Results in Significant Settlement

Our client, Deanna was 26+ weeks pregnant with her first baby. During the evening hours, our 19 year old Patient began to have stomach pain and back pain so she went to the emergency room at Delaware Valley Memorial Hospital. Our client stayed in the emergency room for several hours. While at the hospital, she was never seen by a physician and she was never given any testing to determine if she was having premature contractions or if she was in labor. The emergency room nurse discharged her home at approximately 3:00a.m the next day.

Later that morning, when our client got up to go to the bathroom, she could feel something protruding from her vagina. Unfortunately, the thing that was protruding was her baby’s leg. She delivered a stillborn baby on the bathroom floor at her home.

Our firm was able to secure experts to prove that the hospital’s policies and procedures were negligent because our client was never examined by a physician. Moreover, we were able to establish through our experts that Defendant’s hospital was negligent and we were able to secure a significant, yet confidential settlement for our client.

Baby Dies Due to Negligent In-Home Nurse

In one of the saddest cases our firm ever had, we were able to secure a confidential settlement for the parents of a disabled child who died due to the negligence of an in home nurse. We represented a mother and father who had 3 year old daughter who was unfortunately born with significant disabilities. Despite limited training and resources, our clients provided round the clock care for their disabled daughter. Finally, the parents were able to hire an in-house nurse that would assist them in caring for their severely disabled son. The first night the nurse was working, and the first night the parents left their daughter’s side, the nurse allowed the child’s breathing tube to be dislodged and the baby died. Although he could not bring the baby back, we were able to secure a substantial settlement for the parents for their tragic loss.

$1.2 Million for Anesthesia/Surgery Mistake

In one of the hardest fought cases our firm ever had, we were able to secure a substantial settlement for a family who was the victim of medical malpractice at local surgery center here in Philadelphia. Our client who was 60 years old at the time presented to an out patient surgery center for nasal surgery to correct snoring. Due to the doctors’ failure to properly monitor the patient during and after the surgery, Plaintiff suffered brain damage from a lack of oxygen. Shaffer & Gaier secured many experts in many fields that established that the Plaintiff’s brain injury was due to a period of lack of oxygen while he was at the surgery center.

Failure to Diagnose Stroke secures $900,000 settlement

We represented an elderly woman who awoke with sudden numbness in her arm and dizziness. She made an emergency appointment with her family doctor fearing that she was having a stroke. Our client immediately went to her family doctor within an hour. Our client’s family doctor incorrectly diagnosed Plaintiff as having carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately for our client, she went home and the next day she had a massive stroke. Shaffer & Gaier was able to secure several experts that established that Plaintiff’s stroke and the damages that occurred would have been totally preventable if her family physician had properly recognized the signs and symptoms of oncoming stroke.

Misread Biopsy Results in Confidential Settlement

We represented a 34 year old woman in Camden NJ who went to Cooper Hospital for exploratory surgery of her uterus. Our client had several fibroids in her uterus and her gynecologist was concerned that these fibroids could be cancerous. Our client went to Cooper Hospital for an exploratory surgery and biopsy. The biopsies came back positive for cancer and therefore our client had a total hysterectomy. Unfortunately for our client, the biopsies were mis-read and she did not have cancer at all. We were able to secure an expert that was able to establish that the biopsies were misread and the surgery for a total hysterectomy as not necessary. We were able to secure a confidential settlement for our client.

Montgomery County Verdict for Plaintiff

We represented a 22 year old young woman who filed suit against her gynecologist. Our client had a vulvoplasy to her vagina, a procedure to remove excess tissue that caused continued urinary tract infections and discomfort. After the surgery, our client had several new problems that she was never told were a risk of the surgery. A jury determined that Plaintiff was not properly informed of the possible complications and problems that could arise from this surgery. A jury awarded $50,000. While the verdict was somewhat limited – it was the first Plaintiff’s verdict that had been returned in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in some time. Moreover, it our understanding that prior to this verdict, there were over 40 straight defense verdicts in medical practice cases in Montgomery County.

$1.8 M Settlement for Failure to Diagnose a Stroke

In a true tragedy, a family was left without a father and husband, due to a medical mistake at a local hospital. We were able to secure a substantial settlement for our client’s family from the hospital and its physicians. A 34 year old man went to a Montgomery County hospital’s emergency room with a severe headache, dizziness and extremely high blood pressure- all symptoms consistent with an oncoming stroke. Plaintiff actually had a stroke in the waiting room in the emergency room. Our client was admitted into the Hospital. The hospital staff failed to recognize that the stroke caused bleeding inside of Plaintiff’s brain and unfortunately died while in the hospital. We were able to secure the right experts that established that if the Hospital had acted promptly, he would have survived this stroke.

Obstructive Bowel Yields Confidential Settlement

Our firm represented John C. who was sixty seven (67) years old, married with three (3) children. John was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002, which was treated by surgical resection. After a period of time, his cancer went into remission and John had surgery at a Philadelphia hospital to reverse the colonostomy performed during his cancer treatment. The plan for the surgery was for John to return to his regular life which had been put on hold for so long due to cancer treatments.

John went for surgery in December of 2008 and the surgery was performed without incident. The surgery was performed at a well established Philadelphia hospital. However, nearly five (5) days after the surgery, John developed pain and nausea. John continued to have excruciating pain that had to be treated by morphine. Doctors believed that the bowel might have been obstructed. However, the doctors did not order any testing to make a definitive diagnosis. Unfortunately for John, the obstructive bowel caused him to go into cardiac arrest and eventually die.

Our firm was able to secure a very significant but confidential settlement against the Philadelphia hospital for the negligent care. We were able to establish that the doctors should have done testing to diagnose the obstructive bowel which could have easily been corrected.

$1.5 Million Verdict for Plaintiff

Our firms were proud to secure a verdict for our client whose cancer was not diagnosed simply because his doctors failed to read his test results. Our client was only 45 years of age when he went to his family doctors for routine prostate screening. Unfortunately, his doctors failed to properly read the testing and his cancer was allowed to spread. Due to the doctor’s negligence, the Plaintiff had terrible complications related to the cancer.

Fall out of Hospital Bed Equals Sizeable Settlement

Plaintiff Helen R. was a patient at a hospital located in Camden County, New Jersey. She presented to the hospital for a left knee replacement. The knee replacement was performed on September 15, 2009 without any complications. Two days after the surgery, Plaintiff was in the hospital bed when she experienced a traumatic fall from her bed. Defendants never performed the proper fall assessment and did not have the Plaintiff’s bed rails raised. Therefore, once she was heavily sedated with pain medication, she became disoriented and fell out of bed.

As a result of this fall, she sustained a compound fracture of the right leg and ankle which required extensive surgery. Therefore, instead of having a right knee replaced where she could return back to her active lifestyle, she had significant limitations. Discovery revealed that the Defendants failed to have a proper fall assessment and failed to have a standard of care applicable to a patient such as Helen. Therefore, Plaintiff was able to secure a substantial yet confidential settlement.

Quadriplegic Sues Over Nursing Care

We represented a student at Temple University, who came to Philadelphia to study Pre-Medicine. Prior to entering the college, he was involved in a very unfortunate wrestling accident, which caused him to be a quadriplegic. Our client wouldn’t quit and still proceeded with his education and decided to become a full-time student at Temple University. Because he was a quadriplegic, our client needed night time nursing care to care for his bowels and bladder because he was unable to care for that himself. We were able to prove that the nursing agency that visited the Plaintiff did not do their job properly and our client went into shock requiring hospitalization. Unfortunately, our client had to drop out of Temple University and take his studies elsewhere. We were able to secure a significant settlement on our clients’ behalf for this negligent nursing care.

Genetic Testing Error Leads to 750k Settlement

Shaffer & Gaier secured a settlement for the parents of a child who unfortunately contracted a severe and rare genetic disorder that was missed through genetic testing. The clients were residents of Sacramento, California. Before having children they sought genetic counseling. The father had a rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos (EDS) Syndrome that ran in his family. EDS is a genetic disorder that causes severe vascular and connective tissue complications; EDS is often fatal.

Our clients sought genetic counseling to determine if the father was a carrier of EDS. The family wanted the genetic counseling to plan a pregnancy because if the father was a carrier they could have had a child through in vitro fertilization (IVF) which would have ensured that the gene did not pass to the child.

In 2005 the father had blood work which was sent to the Defendant’s lab in Allentown PA. The defendant’s lab informed the father that the test was negative for EDS. The parents were understandably relieved and had their children naturally. In 2012, the father developed severe complications that were similar to EDS. He had new genetic testing done and it was unfortunately confirmed that he was, in fact, a carrier for EDS. A tragic error was created because the lab misread the first test. Thereafter, the parents had their son tested and it was confirmed that their son had EDS. This tragedy could have been prevented had the initial testing been done properly.

Shaffer & Gaier secured the leading genetic experts in the country which established that the Defendants made a crucial mistake. Had the test been run properly their son would have avoided the condition because the parents could have conceived through IVF. The case was filed in Federal Court in Pennsylvania As the case was preparing for trial Shaffer & Gaier were able to negotiate the settlement that will ensure that the child has future care for his medical expenses.

Scranton Hospital Pays for Allowing Patient to Develop Bedsores

We represented a client who went into a Scranton Hospital for heart surgery but was discharged with a baseball sized bed sore to his buttocks. Our client was 55 years of age and had heart bypass surgery at a Scranton Hospital. Due to the surgery, Plaintiff needed the nursing staff to turn his body so that he did not develop pressure sores i.e. bed sores. Plaintiff was not repositioned correctly and was allowed to develop huge bedsores. Our client developed significant complications and needed a series of several surgeries to correct the wound caused by the Hospital’s negligence.

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