Doe v. Roe Hospital – $3M

Medical Malpractice & Elder Abuse

Case Summary:

$3,000,000.00 lifetime settlement for a medical malpractice case resulting from a breach of standard of care issue. Our client went to the hospital’s emergency room to seek treatment for intractable pain in his neck and arm. After testing the hospital admitted him so they could run a series of scans to rule out a stroke and/or other neurological issues. Despite the doctor’s order to put him on a CPAP machine, the staff failed to do so and then compounded their error by administering dilaudid, a respiratory suppressant narcotic. Our client’s breathing slowed to the extent that he finally went into respiratory arrest and suffered an anoxic brain injury.

Plaintiff’s Medical Expert Witnesses:
David Larkin, RRT, MS (Respiratory Therapist), Western Medical Consulting, Ogden, Utah, (508) 457-5150
Deborah Lutzow, R.N. (Registered Nurse), 48-810 Artesia Way, Morongo Valley, CA 92256, (760) 363-1211
Anthony J. Cuomo, M.D. (Pulmonology), FACP, FCCP, 6699 Alvarado Road, Ste. 2308, San Diego, CA 92120, (619) 463-9010
Michael Lobatz, M.D. (Neurology), 320 Santa Fe Drive, Suite 108, Encinitas, CA 92024, (760) 732-0557
Marcia Elfenbaum, MD (Physical Medicine/Physiatry), 4282 Genesee Ave., Ste. 304, San Diego, CA 92117, (858) 514-4116
Nancy E. Markel, Ph.D. (Clinical Neuropsychology), 8950 Villa La Jolla Drive, Ste. A108, San Diego, CA 92037, (858) 452-9940
Doreen Casuto, RN, BSAN, MRA, CRRN (Rehab Nurse/Life Care Planner), Rehabilitation Care Coordination, 7851 Mission Center Court, Ste 103, San Diego, CA 92108, (619) 299-9922
Roberta Spoon, CPA (Economist), Brodshatzer, Wallace, Spoon & Yip, 555 West Beech Street, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92101-2940, (619) 234-4173

Defendant’s Medical Expert Witnesses: Confidential

Plaintiff’s Technical Expert Witnesses:
Robert Hall, Ph.D., Vocational Rehabilitation, La Mesa, CA
Roberta Spoon, CPA, Economist, San Diego, CA

Defendant’s Technical Expert Witnesses: N/A

Defendant Insurance: Self Insured

Date, Time and Place of Incident(s): May 24, 2010, San Diego, CA

Facts and Background:

On May 23, 2010, Mr. Doe was admitted into the emergency department of Roe Hospital with complaints of intractable pain in his neck and arm. Roe Hospital admitted Mr. Doe, and ran a series of scans to rule out stroke and/or related neurological issues. Upon admit, Mr. Doe was ordered by admitting doctor to receive a CPAP breathing machine at night. Mr. Doe was not provided his CPAP breathing machine by hospital staff that night and was further dosed, intravenously, with dilaudid, a respiratory suppressant narcotic. By morning, Mr. Doe’s breathing had slowed – as result of his intravenous narcotics and having not received his CPAP breathing machine – until he finally arrested and suffered an anoxic brain injury.

Plaintiff’s Contentions, Allegations:
Roe Hospital staff breached the standard of care in failing to follow admit orders requiring the patient receive a CPAP breathing machine, and further failed to properly monitor Mr. Doe’s condition throughout the night resulting in arrest and brain injury the following morning.

Injuries and/or Damages:
Mr. Doe suffered an anoxic brain injury requiring full time attendant care in the future. Mrs. Doe brought a claim for loss of consortium.

Roe Hospital claimed that Mr. Doe had refused his CPAP breathing machine upon admission and that patients, like Mr. Doe, regularly refuse to wear the hospital’s CPAP machine. Roe Hospital monitored Mr. Doe’s condition very closely throughout the night and responded within seconds to his arrest. Further, Mr. Doe had an extremely complicated medical history, including pre-existing heart conditions, and the most probable cause of Mr. Doe’s arrest was the result of a heart arrhythmia and not the failure to provide CPAP. Roe Hospital further disputed the extent of future attendant care needs required by Mr. Doe.

PAST MEDICAL EXPENSES: $82,151 (paid by Medicare)
TOTAL: $2,682,151

Settlement Amounts: $1.9 million

Verdict or Award:
Settlement: $1.9 million with future benefits that will pay over $3 million to cover future attendant care and related medical expenses. Mr. Doe has used his settlement proceeds to build a new home that is wheelchair accessible, and retrofitted for all of his needs, has purchased a new wheelchair accessible vehicle, and has a guaranteed income stream for he and Mrs. Doe for the rest of their lives.

Length of Trial: N/A

Attorney for client: Brett J. Schreiber

Attorney for defendant:
Deborah C. Brickner, Lotz, Doggett & Rawers, LLP 101 West Broadway, Ste. 1110, San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 233-5565

Individual Defendants: United States of America

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