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$2 Million Dollar Settlement (Confidential) - Medical Malpractice

Failure to promptly diagnose and treat an acute diaphragmatic hernia cause by the impact of a motor vehicle accident. The delay in appropriate treatment lead to sepsis and multi-organ failure, causing multiple cardio-pulmonary arrests which resulted in permanent significant brain damage.

Plaintiff, a 54 years old father of 6, was involved in an unrestrained motor vehicle accident. He was taken by helicopter to defendant Hospital. On admission, he was diagnosed with a left hip fracture, multiple abrasions and left diaphragmatic hernia. with the spleen and abdominal fat protruding into the pleural cavity. Despite this finding being entirely consistent with a traumatic injury from a driver hitting a steering wheel following impact, this hernia was thought to be chronic by defendant trauma surgeons and defendant radiologists as treated as such for the next 9 days despite increasing respiratory and abdominal distress. While in the Emergency Department and over the next 9 days plaintiff was alert and oriented, able to provide a medical, family and social histories and complaints.

On the 5th day of admission, a STAT abdominal x-ray was order. The obstruction series could not rule out a bowel obstruction. On the 8th day of admission plaintiff's condition further deteriorated due to Defendants' ignoring all the warning signs over the previous 5 days. He developed sudden shortness of breath with oxygen levels in his blood being critically low at 83%. Another abdominal x-ray was performed and suggested a bowel obstruction. Defendant surgeons still did not take plaintiff for immediate surgical repair of the diaphragmatic hernia which had trapped bowel. On the 9th day of admission plaintiff was urgently taken to the operating room for exploratory surgery and repair of the left diaphragm. During the surgery plaintiff was found to have a laceration in his bowel. Post-operatively, there was a sudden change in plaintiff's neurological status. At this time he was determined to suffer from respiratory failure, sepsis, kidney failure and significant electrolyte imbalance. Over the next 2 days plaintiff's condition worsened causing him to go into cardiac arrest three times. Plaintiff was intubated. He required a tracheostomy, chest tube placement and feeding tube placement. Plaintiff also underwent multiple abdominal washings and a thoracentesis.

Plaintiff was discharged to a rehabilitation Hospital with anoxic brain injury 60 days after his admission to defendant Hospital for, intensive, physical, speech, occupational and psychological therapies. At the rehabilitation hospital he was evaluated and found to have impairments affecting speech, including articulation, and had difficulty with tasks and was confused and disoriented. Plaintiff continues to have significant speech and cognitive difficulties and behavioral outbursts which prevent him from being able to care for his daily needs.

This informational piece was prepared by Silverman & Fodera. If you would like more information on this topic, call us at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" link on this web site.