According to recent patient-safety research by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the current third leading cause of death in the United States is medical errors.
The analysis of these researchers was published in the BMJ and revealed that medical errors in hospitals and other healthcare facilities claim 251,000 lives each year – more than accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, and stroke. These errors include everything from bad physicians to more systemic problems, e.g. breakdown of communication when patients are transferred from one department to another.
New Jersey Hospital And Doctor Hit With $17 Million Verdict in Brain Injury Case
In October 2017, a state court jury hit a New Jersey hospital and doctor with a judgment of $17 million after finding them negligent in treating a child named Kelsey Heaney, who was brought to the facility with pneumonia in 2008 and discharged with brain injury.
The verdict of the eight-member jury was unanimous, handing a win to Kelsey Heaney and dealing a significant blow to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Dr. Charles K. Dadzie, a pediatric pulmonologist as well as his practice, Meridian Pediatric Associates. The pediatrician, hospital, and practice were accused of taking the girl off the ventilator much sooner than they should have.
The verdict followed a six-week trial before Judge Katie Gummer of Monmouth County Superior Court during which the now 16-year-old Heaney and her parents were among those who testified in court.
Apart from expert witnesses, the paraprofessional who accompanies the 11th grader to school every day helped in convincing the jury, some of whom were in tears when she revealed cognitive impairments when she testified. According to her testimony, Heaney appeared to have difficulty with tasks like performing simple math and telling time. The lawyers also said that while being sworn in, she raised her left hand instead of her right when asked.
According to an amended version of her complaint filed in 2010, Kelsey Heaney was 7 years old when she was taken to the hospital in Neptune, New Jersey on November 14, 2008 to receive treatment for respiratory distress. On November 17, she was intubated and placed on a mechanical ventilator and the next day, underwent lung surgery.
The complaint said that the ventilator was removed and Heaney underwent cardiac arrest on November 27. According to the suit, the ordeal left her with physical and emotional pain and suffering, permanent neurological injuries, scarring and disfigurement, diminished quality of life as well as past and future medical bills and pain.
The girl’s parents, Kristen and Richard Heaney filed the lawsuit and lodged vicarious liability and negligence claims against the hospital, pediatrician, his practice as well as unnamed hospital personnel. Among other things, the Heaneys alleged that there was a failure on the medical professionals’ part to properly wean their daughter from the ventilator.
Harvard Medical School professor Jeffrey E. Burns, the defense’s expert witness, opined that the medical professionals providing treatment to Heaney acted within the standard of care. Heaney’s lawyers also said that the defense also pointed out that Heaney performs well and gets high grades in school. However, the paraprofessional who has been Heaney’s aide since she incurred her brain injury claims that there is a wide difference between scoring high grades in special education classes and brilliant marks in regular coursework.
Claims for Brain Injury Negligence
When brain damage or injury is caused by medical negligence, it can result in catastrophic impacts on the patient as well as their family. This type of injury can range in severity from those that you can barely notice – such as an inability to concentrate for extended time periods or mild memory loss – to coma, considerable physical disability, and even death. It can be difficult enough to come to terms with suffering brain damage, but knowing your life has been changed for the rest of your life due to medical negligence and errors is heartbreaking.
What is Brain Damage Negligence?
Brain damage negligence can refer to injuries that a patient sustains as a result of errors that are made during the treatment of another type of condition or brain damage that they sustain during the diagnosis and treatment of a condition that the patient already suffers from. Some of the examples of brain damage negligence include the following:
· Lack of surgery during surgery or childbirth
· Failure to administer the correct medication
· Anesthetic errors
· Delay in the treatment of certain conditions, like a stroke
It is important to bear in mind that not all brain damage is caused by medical error or negligence. In cases that it is, or cases in which brain damage has been exacerbated by substandard medical care, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence compensation claim.
Holding Medical Professionals Responsible for Brain Damage Negligence
Whether they are prompted by illness or accident, hospital visits are presumed to benefit the person receiving treatment and care. Needless to say, no one wants to be discharged from the hospital in a worse condition than they were when they were admitted, and no one expects the treatment to result in more harm than good.
Unfortunately, when physicians, nurses, and other professionals in the world of healthcare fail to perform their duty to diagnose and provide treatment for a brain injury, or cause a brain injury due to negligence during treatment, it can lead to catastrophic results.
Types of Hospital Negligence that can Cause a Brain Injury
The negligence of hospitals or doctors can result in a brain injury during treatment when:
· There is a delay in proper diagnosis: Though most symptoms of closed head injuries may not be apparent immediately, the failure of a hospital or doctor to conduct an investigation of a possible head injury can cause the injury to become much more serious.
· A condition is misdiagnosed: An incorrect diagnosis can result in a delay in the effective treatment of a closed head injury. This in turn can lead to more dangerous injuries or complications, and may even turn life threatening.
· There is an anesthesia error: Before a surgery, an anesthesiologist may not sufficiently investigate a patient’s history, or they may not administer tracheal intubation properly. During surgery, failing to monitor vital signs adequately, due to malfunctioning hospital equipment or human error, can also result in profound injury.
· Medication errors are made: Physicians may prescribe the wrong dosage of a medication; nurses can fail to administer a correct dosage; and hospital equipment used for treating patients may malfunction and result in medication error. These are all preventable errors and can lead to brain injury.
· Surgical errors are made: During surgery, a surgeon many inadvertently sever nerves or damage an organ. There are even cases where a surgeon has operated on the wrong body part, and others where a medical device is accidentally left behind in the body of a patient. Additionally, a serious infection can be caused by poor post-operative procedures.
· Injuries are caused during childbirth: Infants can suffer severe brain injuries due to errors that occur during childbirth or prenatal negligence prior to birth. Babies can suffer from serious conditions such as cerebral palsy, intracranial hemorrhage, perinatal asphyxia, etc. due to negligence or errors during childbirth.
In every one of these injuries, it is stated that negligence occurs when the medical professional’s actions do not meet the standard of care which a patient should receive under reasonably similar circumstances.
How These Errors Cause Brain Damage
In cases that involve delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of an existing closed head injury, failing to provide treatment for bleeding, clotting or swelling in the brain can cause a buildup of pressure within the skull. If this pressure is not relieved swiftly, the brain can become compressed or stretched, leading to even more damage.
Brain injuries that occur during medical procedures such as childbirth or surgery are, in most cases, due to lack of adequate oxygen to the brain. When oxygen is not enough, brain cells begin to die and, if this is allowed to persist, it can lead to coma, extensive brain damage, and ultimately untimely death.
Most leading hospitals and physicians have medical and insurance personnel, whose primary duty is to limit or even deny any liability soon after a brain injury occurs due to medical negligence. Therefore, it is extremely important for patients and their families to contact well-known and experienced medical malpractice attorneys who have handled brain injury negligence cases in the past as soon as a brain injury is diagnosed.
To determine negligence, complicated medical records and scientific analysis often need to be closely examined. A medical negligence claim must be filed within a limited time period after the injury, and because of the complex nature of a brain injury as well as any litigation that involves this type of injury, attorneys need to be given as much time as possible to investigate and prepare a claim.
Judge Gives the Go-Ahead to Trial for Brain Injury Lawsuit Against Pop Warner
In October 2017, a federal judge ruled that two mothers from California looking to hold Pop Warner liable for brain injuries that resulted in the tragic deaths of their sons can go to trial for their lawsuit against the youth football league.
The Los Angeles judge rejected a motion by Pop Warner to toss the lawsuit, agreeing that the company misrepresented that its top priority was safety.
Kimberly Archie, one of the moms, says that she wants a jury trial and that her son deserves to be heard, even if it is only from his grave.
Increasing evidence that playing football can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is blamed for a decline in the number of youngsters playing organized football. CTE is a degenerative brain disease that can result in depression and mood swings. In 2015, the evidence also moved the National Football League (NFL) to settle claims with up to 20,000 former players before there was discovery in that case.
In the California case against the United States’ biggest youth football league with about 200,000 participants, Pop Warner, Paul Bright, Archie’s son, died when he was 24 years old in a 2014 motorcycle accident after playing youthful football for 8 years.
When an autopsy was conducted on Bright, it was discovered that he suffered from CTE. According to Archie’s claims in court papers, CTE was the cause of Bright’s erratic and life-threatening behavior on his motorcycle.
Jo Cornell, the second mother, claims that Tyler, her son, played in Pop Warner from 1997 through 2002 and was diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2014. At the age of 25, Tyler committed suicide.
Seeking class-action status, the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. In 2016, Pop Warner settled for less than $2 million in the first CTE-related lawsuit against the company.
If the company loses in the current California lawsuit, Pop Warner could be hit hard in the wallet. The league had revenue of $3.9 million and total assets of $2.1 million in 2014. According to a source close to the settlement, its insurance carrier covers every player in the league, in certain cases, up to $2 million.
In legal papers seeking to dismiss the case, Pop Warner argued that the sport comes with an inherent risk. It said that players at all levels and their parents are aware that a common risk in contact sports, like football, is head contact and when they decide to participate and continue to play the sport, it constitutes an assumption of the risk. Some people believe this is common sense – the debate rages on.
Get Expert Legal Representation for Brain Injury Negligence
If you or a loved one has suffered serious brain injury as a result of the negligence of a hospital, doctor, or any other medical professional, you should immediately seek the help of a prudent and dependable medical malpractice attorney at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280.
This is the best way to make sure that your rights are protected and that you are fairly compensated for the injuries and other damaged caused to you and your family. With one of your capable lawyers by your side, you can ensure that you receive the compensation you are legally entitled to.
RMFW Law has won millions of dollars for past clients, you too can be on this amazing list. These cases are not easy to win but we know how to put together a winning case. Without a medical expert supporting your claim you do not have a claim but we know medical experts who can possibly back up your case. Let’s get started down this road today. Call us now!