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Emergency Room Mistakes Case Results

Recovery in excess of a million dollars — A retiree from Shaler, went into the ER at a North Hills hospital after falling at home and hitting his bed. An X-ray and CT scan was taken of his neck in the emergency room, and he was told everything was fine and sent home. Within a few hours of leaving the hospital, Robert was a paraplegic. The doctors in the ER had failed to see that he had an unstable fracture of his cervical spine, and by permitting him to walk out of the hospital, the fracture shifted and caused a permanent spinal cord injury. Rob's wife had to quit her job, and she now takes care of her husband at home on a full-time basis as he is wheelchair-bound. We obtained a recovery well in excess of a million dollars for Bob and his wife.

Million dollar recovery for a truck driver in his late 50s that presented to a local emergency room with chest pain, shortness of breath and other complaints. An EKG was ordered by the emergency room physician and was interpreted by the ER doctor as normal. In truth, the EKG showed that the patient was in the early stages of a heart attack.  As a result of his heart damage and resulting fatigue, he was not able to return to work as a truck driver and was more limited in what he could do around his house and property.  Click here for the expanded case summary.

Six-figure recovery for failure to diagnose a heart problem - In this case, a 68-year-old woman, who had a known history of heart disease, came into the emergency room with complaints of pain in her left side, left arm and leg. She was admitted to the hospital and blood work was done to check several things including something called cardiac enzymes.  Unfortunately, her condition was misdiagnosed, and she suffered a cardiac arrest a few days later and died.  Click here to read the full case summary.

Significant six-figure recovery — A retired man from Pittsburgh entered the emergency room complaining of chest pains. Unfortunately, he sat in the ER for a long time before anyone saw him. By that time, he had suffered a heart attack and had permanent damage to his heart and died a few days later. We filed a claim against the hospital on the ground that they let the man sit too long in the ER. A significant six-figure recovery was obtained on behalf of his widow.

Significant award — A long-time postal worker from DuBois, Jefferson County, went to the emergency room with excruciating pain in his right leg. The ER doctor felt that it was a blood clot in his leg because it was turning blue from lack of blood supply. He urgently paged a surgeon, but the surgeon waited several hours to respond. In the meantime, Randy's leg suffered gangrene from lack of blood supply and it had to be amputated. We obtained a significant award to compensate Randy for living the rest of his life as an amputee.

Large six-figure award — A young girl from Uniontown, Fayette County, went into the emergency room with complaints of back pain that should have alerted the doctors to the possibility that she had a disk compressing on her spinal cord. They ignored those warning signs for several days and by the time they finally discovered the problem, the young lady had suffered permanent damage to her bowel and bladder function. We obtained a large six-figure award on her behalf.

Six-figure settlement — A young father from Allegheny County went into a Pittsburgh hospital with a serious leg fracture. The doctors in the emergency room did not realize that the fracture site was open and likely contaminated, therefore they did not give the proper antibiotics. Rodney eventually had an amputation at the ankle after previously undergoing several surgeries trying to salvage the foot. A substantial, six-figure settlement was obtained for him as a result of a lawsuit filed against the hospital.

Significant six-figure recovery — A middle-aged man from Uniontown, Fayette County, presented to the emergency room with signs and symptoms of a dissected aortic aneurysm, which was causing pericardial effusion, a collection of fluid around his heart. The doctors in the ER did not discover the problem, and the man died. If they had correctly diagnosed his condition, the aortic dissection could have been repaired in surgery. We obtained a significant six-figure recovery for this man's widow.

High six-figure award — An electrician from Pittsburgh went into a hospital in Shadyside with a ruptured colon. The surgeon who saw him thought that the rupture did not require surgery. However, because he did not operate until nearly 24 hours later, the patient became riddled with infection and ended up spending three months in the hospital. He also developed two serious incisional hernias, which required additional surgery. One of the hernias was so large that it could not be repaired, and he is now required to wear a corset. The personal injury attorneys at Gismondi & Associates filed a medical malpractice action against the surgeon on the ground that he should have operated on the ruptured colon as soon as the patient entered the emergency room. We received a very high six-figure award on behalf of this man.

Significant six-figure recovery - A maintenance man from Pittsburgh went to the emergency room at a South Side hospital with complaints indicating that he had a urinary tract infection. He should have been admitted to the hospital but was sent home. While at home, the infection got much worse. By the time he returned to the hospital, the infection was in his blood stream (a condition known as sepsis), and he ended up dying. We filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the ER on the ground that they should have admitted him to the hospital originally and given him strong antibiotic treatment to stop the infection before it went too far. We received a significant six-figure recovery on behalf of his widow.

Significant six-figure recovery — A severely retarded boy from Washington, PA, went into the emergency room with signs and symptoms suggesting that he had an abnormal build-up of fluid on his brain. Unfortunately, the emergency room physician and the radiologist who read a CT scan of the child's brain failed to detect the excess fluid. If the fluid had been seen, it could have been safely drained. Unfortunately, that did not happen and the child died a few days later. Even though the child was already severely disabled before this incident, we obtained a significant six-figure recovery on behalf of the parents in a medical malpractice claim filed against the hospital.

Significant six-figure settlement — A sheet metal worker from Beaver County suffered significantly reduced function in his right hand because of a one-month delay in diagnosing a fractured wrist. He had been seen at the emergency room one month earlier where X-rays were taken of the wrist and he was mistakenly told that there was no fracture. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the Beaver County hospital on the grounds that they "missed" the fracture in the emergency room, and we obtained a significant six-figure settlement on his behalf.

Large six-figure settlement — An elderly woman came into the emergency room after suffering a head injury. Her medical care was not properly handled in the intensive care unit because the doctors delayed in placing her on a ventilator to help her breathing. Sadly, she ended up dying later that day. A large, six-figure settlement was obtained for this woman's surviving husband.

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