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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Birth injuries lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy

The birth of a baby can be an exciting time for Rhode Island parents. Along with the anticipation comes many questions and concerns, such as which bottles are best, which car seat to buy and how often the diaper needs to be changed. While these are important questions, there are also other important questions that soon-to-be parents often do not think to ask -- questions such as at what point in labor will a C-Section be deemed necessary, and will there be enough medical personnel on hand in the event that something goes wrong? A recent lawsuit filed in another state, in which a baby suffered birth injuries such as brain damage and cerebral palsy, points out the need to address these questions before they become critical issues.

According to information provided by the family's attorney, there were problems during the delivery of the unborn child, and the need for a C-Section became apparent. However, it appears that this procedure was not performed within a reasonable amount of time after it became known that it was necessary. At birth, the baby was not breathing.

Jury returns $10.6 million verdict in wrongful death suit

Millions of Americans, including some living in Rhode Island, are concerned about their weight. This is evident in the number of weight loss programs, diets, diet pills and even weight loss clinics that appear in advertisements, stores and office complexes. Many individuals go to great lengths to lose extra weight and improve their appearance. Bariatric surgery is one option that some individuals choose. According to a jury, this choice resulted in the wrongful death of one woman.

In Dec. 2009, a 39-year-old woman entered her local hospital so that she could have bariatric surgery to aid in her weight loss. She began experiencing complications shortly after the operation. Fever, high blood pressure and severe pain were among her complaints. Two days after surgery, she was moved to ICU. Several days later, exploratory surgery was performed, and a gastric leak was discovered.

Infant dies as a result of doctor mistakes; family awarded $1.25M

The birth of a baby girl is a time to celebrate. Friends and family often gather throughout Rhode Island to welcome the newest addition to the family. The expectation is that this precious child will grow up, attend school, play and one day begin a family of her own. When doctor mistakes cut this new life short, however, the celebration can turn to a time of mourning and loss.

In 2009, a little girl was born to a couple in another state. Although she was several weeks premature, she was otherwise healthy. Due to her early birth, it was necessary to feed her by means of an umbilical catheter. In placing the catheter, the nurse practitioner placed its tip into the little girl's heart. Although this error was indicated in an x-ray, the radiologist did not indicate any problems in his report.

Doctor errors rather than systems can lead to patient deaths

Over the years, the concept of designing systems to ensure that proper procedures are followed has been used extensively throughout a number of businesses in Rhode Island and across the country. A considerable number of hospitals and doctors' offices use a systems approach in managing patient care. The idea behind this approach is to minimize errors; however, research is showing that doctor errors rather than system errors are the main reason behind unexpected patient deaths.

The concept is simple enough. There are specific protocols, or checklists, to be followed based upon a given scenario. If a patient is exhibiting particular symptoms, certain medications or tests are ordered. This concept is in place to ensure that the proper steps are followed in each case.

A brain injury can permanently change a person's life

Unless an individual knows someone with a brain injury, or is personally affected by one, that individual most likely does not give much thought to brain injuries. However, the possibility of a brain injury occurring along Rhode Island's highways, sidewalks or even playgrounds is very real. The month of March has been designated as an awareness month for brain injuries. As one young man in another state has pointed out, a brain injury can occur when least expected and can change a life forever.

Brain injuries can occur as the result of an event such as a stroke or lightning strike. They can also occur as the result of an accident or an assault. Anything that causes the brain to be shifted or any force that is applied can cause a brain injury.

Doctor mistakes the basis for $1 million jury award

At some point in life, a number of Rhode Island residents will face bypass surgery. This type of surgery has become fairly common, and, often, the patient recovers and is able to return home in a short amount of time. However, as with any type of medical procedure, something can go wrong, and doctor mistakes can lead to further injury or even death.

In 2003, a 71-year-old woman entered her local hospital in order for a scheduled bypass surgery to be performed. During this procedure, the woman died, and a jury has now awarded her family $1 million as a result. Prior to the lawsuit going to court, the hospital she was a patient in settled a claim with the family. The terms of this settlement have not been made public.

Broken ankle leads to $9.1 million award for doctor's negligence

Falling down the steps or tripping over the dog are accidents that are fairly common and can have very similar results -- they can easily lead to a broken bone. The majority of broken bones suffered by Rhode Island residents properly heal over time with very little lasting effects. Every once in a while, however, a broken bone can lead to other problems that must be addressed. Recently, a jury in a nearby state awarded $9.1 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit for doctor's negligence in the case of a broken ankle.

Approximately 10 years ago, a 35-year-old gentleman fell down a set of steps on his way to work. At first, he appeared to suffer from a simple broken ankle. Throughout the course of healing, he began to have pain in his little toe. It was later determined that the broken ankle had caused nerve damage in this toe. The doctor who treated him for the nerve damage ultimately had to amputate the toe.

$1.3 million jury award in doctor errors lawsuit

Each individual in Rhode Island has their own idea of what the ideal body looks like. Some are health conscience and are careful to eat mainly healthy, organic foods. Others look to exercise as a way to maintain the body they desire. In addition to exercise, one 40-year-old woman in another state decided that a tummy tuck was the correct choice for her. She now regrets this decision and must live with the results she claims, and a jury agrees, are the result of doctor errors.

In 2009, this woman underwent an outpatient tummy tuck procedure. At that time she was exercising almost daily and was considered to be in good shape. Her goal was to enhance her appearance. However, soon after the procedure, she began developing complications which she reported to the doctor.

Doctor errors allegedly lead to a heart attack

Health concerns often lead Rhode Island residents to seek medical treatment. When heart problems are suspected, a heart catheterization is a common procedure. Along with this procedure, an angiogram and the placement of stents if needed is common. Recently, man in another state filed suit claiming doctor errors after suffering a heart attack following these common procedures.

In 2009, this gentleman had several symptoms that indicated heart problems. Prior to undergoing a heart catheterization and other tests, he was told that if blockages were found or if stents needed to be placed, they would done at this time. According to the patient, several medical concerns requiring stents were noted; however, none were placed.

Doctor mistakes leads to $750,000 award in woman's death claim

High blood pressure and pain radiating throughout the chest are symptoms that would send most Rhode Island residents to the emergency room. These same symptoms did cause a woman in a nearby state to seek medical attention. Unfortunately, her condition was misdiagnosed, and she died without receiving proper treatment. A jury has recently awarded her family $750,000 in restitution for the doctor mistakes that were evident in this case.

In 2009, the woman sought medical treatment at her local emergency room because of the pain in her chest and the increase in her blood pressure. Doctors ran tests and ruled out all but two possible causes. The woman stated that she was allergic to a substance that was to be used in the test that should have ultimately diagnosed her condition. Rather than transport her to a facility that could perform a similar test, her attending doctors performed two other, less conclusive tests.

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