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Surgical Error Case Results

Multimillion-dollar award A five-month-old baby was undergoing liver surgery at a Pittsburgh hospital when a "grounding pad" was placed on the baby's thigh to be used in conjunction with an electric scalpel. However, the nurses placed the grounding pad incorrectly and did not observe it properly during the surgery. As a result, the baby suffered a third-degree burn on her thigh and three days later had amputation of the leg at the hip. A medical malpractice claim was filed against the hospital and a products liability claim was filed against the company, which manufactured the grounding pad because they knew that the pad had caused burns in the past and did not adequately warn people how to safely use it. We obtained a multimillion-dollar award for this child.

Multimillion Dollar Recovery for Death of a Man Who Suffered Severe Brain Damage During Cardiopulmonary Bypass for Mitral Valve Surgery - This previously healthy unmarried, 34-year-old man went into the hospital for mitral valve repair. Most mitral valve surgeries require that the patient go on cardiopulmonary bypass, using a heart-lung machine so the heart can be stopped and safely operated on. In this case, the mitral valve surgery itself was successful but, sadly, the patient did not wake up after surgery. Click here to read the expanded case details.

Jury rendered an award of over $3 million An eight-year-old girl underwent surgery to remove a small brown spot near her jaw line, but she ended up with horrific facial scarring that led to 14 additional surgeries, yet still could not remove the scars. The scarring occurred because the doctor tried an unconventional and dangerous surgery that had never before been performed for this condition on any other person, adult or child. However, the doctor did not tell her parents ahead of time that this would be his first attempt at this sort of surgery. Instead, he said that he had often done surgery of this type in the past. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the plastic surgeon, and a jury rendered an award of over $3 million on behalf of the girl.

Recovery in excess of a million dollars A retired man from Altoona was mistakenly told that he had prostate cancer and underwent surgery for "cancer" and ended up impotent. It turns out that the man did not have cancer, and the mistake occurred because the hospital mixed up a sample of his prostate with that of another patient. If the mix-up had not occurred, the man would have never undergone the surgery for cancer that he never had. As a result of our medical malpractice claim, we obtained a significant recovery in excess of a million dollars on behalf of this man and his wife.

Large award in excess of a million dollars A newborn baby girl at a local Pittsburgh hospital had a catheter incorrectly placed, and it punctured her heart thereby causing her to have a fatal cardiac arrest only three days after being born. Her young parents, who witnessed her cardiac arrest and who were devastated by the loss of their daughter, received a large award in excess of a million dollars as a result of the medical malpractice and wrongful death claim we filed.

Settlement in excess of $1 million A teenage girl from Pittsburgh with scoliosis underwent surgery to correct her spine. During the surgery, some misplaced surgical screws caused injury to the spinal cord, which led to a significant drop in the patient's blood pressure during the operation. In addition to the surgical error, the problem was compounded because the anesthesia team monitoring the patient failed to adequately react to correct the abnormal blood pressure. Sadly, this young college student died a few hours after surgery. Wrongful death and medical malpractice claims were filed by her parents against the orthopedic surgeon and the anesthesia team involved in the case, and a settlement in excess of $1 million was obtained.

Large seven-figure recovery — A professional man from Pittsburgh underwent a prostate biopsy and was told that he had prostate cancer and needed surgery. He underwent the surgery which, unfortunately, made him impotent. Ten days after the surgery, he was told that the hospital had made a mistake and had mixed up his biopsy specimen with that of another patient, and that he never had cancer! Because of the needless surgery, the patient was made impotent for life. We filed a medical malpractice claim and obtained a large seven-figure recovery for this unfortunate man.

Large seven-figure recovery An insurance salesman from Sewickley underwent surgery for a bad heart valve. The surgery went fine, but, unfortunately, two days later a doctor carelessly inserted a chest tube in the wrong place, and it lacerated his liver causing him to bleed to death. We filed a wrongful death claim and medical malpractice claim against the doctor, and a large seven-figure recovery was obtained on behalf of this man's widow.

Seven-figure recovery in Post-tonsillectomy bleed - A man in his mid-30s died from severe bleeding that occurred one week after he underwent a routine tonsillectomy which was performed because of snoring and enlarged tonsils (tonsillar hypertrophy).  Cliick here to read the tragic case summary.

Very large six-figure award — An elderly woman from Beaver County went into the hospital to have a mastectomy for breast cancer. Due to a series of mistakes by the nurses and doctors, the surgeon removed the wrong breast. Although this did not affect the woman's recovery and prognosis from the breast cancer, we filed a medical malpractice claim and obtained a very large six-figure award for the trauma of her having an unnecessary mastectomy.

Large six-figure award A retired man from Murrysville who enjoyed tinkering around the house, underwent a surgery at a Pittsburgh Hospital to stop persistent nose bleeds. The surgery involved injection of material into the arteries of his nose. The doctor improperly performed the procedure and caused some of the material to injure the man's optic nerve, which resulted in blindness in one eye. We filed a medical malpractice claim and obtained a large six-figure award to compensate this retiree for changes in his daily activity as a result of losing sight in one eye.

Six-figure recovery A woman from Pittsburgh's North Hills suffered an injury to her common bile duct during a laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. As a result, she had to stay in the hospital longer and had to undergo an additional surgery. She was then bothered by abdominal complaints for the next several months. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon for not properly protecting the common bile duct during the gallbladder surgery. A six-figure recovery in favor of the woman was obtained.

Significant six-figure recovery A young woman from Pittsburgh was undergoing a thoracoscopy (insertion of a scope into the chest) at a Pittsburgh hospital. During the surgery, she suffered damage to the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves that controls movement in the arm. A significant six-figure recovery was obtained in her favor.

Settlement well into the six figures A married mother of three from Dormont suffered a brain abscess as a result of oral surgery that was done improperly. We filed a medical malpractice claim, and a settlement well into six figures was obtained for this woman who had a lengthy hospitalization and persistent memory problems following the brain abscess.

Six-figure recovery — A retired gentleman from Altoona underwent a stereotactic biopsy to sample a tumor in his brain. Because the neurosurgeon incorrectly plotted the location of the tumor, he "missed his mark" when he inserted the needle to do the biopsy and struck a blood vessel. The patient suffered serious intracranial bleeding and eventually died several days later. We filed a wrongful death claim and medical malpractice claim, and a six-figure recovery was obtained for the children of this unfortunate patient.

Large six-figure recovery A woman from Uniontown suffered nerve damage due to clamps, which were placed incorrectly while a surgeon was removing a vein from her leg. She was left with impairments in the use of her leg. We obtained a large six-figure recovery for her.

Significant six-figure settlement award A 70-year-old retiree from Butler, PA, suffered a serious chemical burn to his hand while he was a patient at a Pittsburgh hospital. An IV line containing the chemical was placed incorrectly, and it caused the chemical to burn the skin. In addition to having permanent scars, the function of his hand never returned to normal. A significant six-figure settlement award was obtained for him as a result of the medical malpractice claim we filed.

Six-figure award — A Greensburg, Pennsylvania, child with severe brain damage was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital to be treated for dehydration. An IV was started to give him fluids and certain chemicals, but unfortunately, the IV needle was placed incorrectly and it caused the chemicals to burn the skin of this child's foot. Therefore, he was required to undergo debridement and skin grafting. Although the child already had severe brain damage, this additional injury caused him considerable pain and also left scarring on his foot. We filed a medical malpractice claim, and a six-figure award was obtained, which enabled the parents to provide for many of the daily needs they were otherwise unable to afford for the child.

Significant six-figure recovery A retired man from State College was in the recovery room after undergoing elective surgery. A leak developed in his endotracheal tube, but the nurses were not monitoring the patient closely enough, and they failed to discover the leak. Eventually, the leaking of the air caused a tension in pneumothorax, which resulted in the man's lungs no longer working, and he died. A significant six-figure recovery was obtained for the widow of this man as a result of our medical malpractice and wrongful death claim.

Significant six-figure award A retired man suffered an injury to his common bile duct while undergoing an ERCP, a test designed to check for abdominal problems. As a result of the injury to the common bile duct, the gentleman was in the hospital for several weeks and had three surgeries to repair things. We filed a medical malpractice claim and obtained a significant six-figure award on his behalf.

Recovery well into six figures An elderly woman from Waynesburg died as a result of a delay at a Greene County hospital in taking her to surgery as a result of a ruptured colon. The hospital initially argued that her stomach problems were not severe enough to warrant surgery, but we eventually made a recovery well into six figures on behalf of this woman's surviving children.

Very significant six-figure recovery A wife and mother from Beaver County died in the hospital as a result of a condition called toxic megacolon, a severe inflammation of the colon. A wrongful death claim and medical malpractice claim was filed against her doctor who did not take her to surgery soon enough to treat the toxic megacolon before it ruptured. Unfortunately, she died as a result of that delay. A very significant six-figure recovery was obtained on behalf of this woman's husband.

Significant six-figure recovery An elderly woman from Allegheny County suffered a right cranial nerve injury during a surgery known as a temporal artery biopsy. As a result of the injury, she developed a facial droop, and her right eye did not close properly. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the doctor who performed the procedure on the ground that he did not take adequate steps to protect the nerve during this surgery. We obtained a significant six-figure recovery on her behalf.

Significant six-figure recovery An elderly woman from Johnstown died as a result of a delay in taking her to surgery to treat gangrene in her colon. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon on the ground that he should have operated on the patient sooner. A significant six-figure recovery was obtained on behalf of this woman's husband.

Significant six-figure recovery A young boy from Uniontown, Fayette County, suffered a burn to his leg during surgery at a hospital in Pittsburgh. The surgery was being done to fix a leg fracture that happened in a bicycle accident. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the hospital on the ground that the electric pad was not placed properly during the surgery nor was it watched closely enough to prevent a burn from occurring. We obtained a significant six-figure recovery on behalf of this child.

Significant six-figure recovery A high school football player from Uniontown, Pennsylvania suffered a broken arm during a game. While undergoing surgery to set that fracture, the surgeon injured the radial nerve. The boy recovered from the arm fracture, but the nerve damage led to problems with the strength and coordination in his hand. We obtained a significant six-figure recovery on his behalf in a medical malpractice claim filed against the surgeon.

Significant six-figure recovery A middle-aged man from Beaver County had surgery on a ruptured disk. Unfortunately, the surgeon made a mistake and took out the wrong disk. The patient had to have a second surgery and developed additional back problems. We filed a medical malpractice claim and obtained a significant six-figure recovery on his behalf.

Significant six-figure award A young woman from western Pennsylvania suffered terrible scarring of her breasts as a result of an unnecessary breast reduction surgery. The woman had been diagnosed with fibrocystic disease, a benign condition of the breast, and her doctor thought it was necessary to perform breast reduction surgery. Relying on expert witnesses in the field, the attorneys at Gismondi & Associates filed a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon on the ground that the breast reduction never should have been done. We obtained a significant six-figure award on her behalf.

Significant six-figure award A young woman from Somerset suffered sciatic nerve damage after undergoing a hip replacement surgery at a Pittsburgh hospital. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the orthopedic surgeon and were able to establish that the procedure was not done properly and that is what caused the nerve injury. A significant six-figure award was obtained on her behalf.

Very high six-figure award An electrician from Pittsburgh went into a local hospital 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.

Recovery well in excess of six figures A housewife from Blair County had a drainage tube placed in her chest (The medical term for the procedure is a "thoracoscopy.") in order to drain fluid that had collected around her lung. Unfortunately, the doctor placed the tube in the wrong location and he lacerated the spleen. The woman had to undergo emergency surgery for removal of her spleen. (A surgery called a "splenectomy.") Although the woman made a good recovery, she is now without her spleen. We filed a personal injury and medical malpractice action against the physician who did the thoracoscopy, and a recovery well in excess of six figures was obtained.

Large six-figure recovery A newborn baby at a local hospital had an umbilical artery catheter in place to monitor blood pressure and to provide a port of entry for medications and fluids. When it came time to remove the catheter, it was improperly cut and stayed inside the child's body where it caused blood clots, which led to the loss in function of one of the child's kidneys. Although people can live normal lives with just one functioning kidney, the child developed chronic high blood pressure as a result of the lost kidney. He also had to avoid all contact sports because he only had one healthy kidney. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the hospital on the ground that they used improper procedures in trying to remove the catheter, and received a large six-figure recovery on behalf of the child.

Significant six-figure award — A retired man from Erie died from excessive bleeding around the heart following a heart valve replacement surgery. The collection of blood around the heart is referred to as a pericardial effusion, which, if not drained soon enough, will apply pressure on the outside of the heart and eventually stop it from beating. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon at an Erie hospital on the ground that poor surgical technique caused the bleeding, and, furthermore, that the doctor did not discover and treat the bleeding soon enough. We obtained a significant six-figure award on behalf of his widow.

Large six-figure award An elderly woman from Pittsburgh suffered complete loss of vision in her left eye as a result of an injury she sustained during a lens implant surgery. We filed a medical malpractice action against the ophthalmologist who performed the surgery and were able to prove with the assistance of independent consultants that the second surgery led to the injury. We obtained a large six-figure award for this woman.

Significant six-figure award A 73-year-old woman from Jefferson, PA, died as a result of bleeding that occurred when she suffered a tear in her subclavian vein as a surgeon attempted to place a catheter in that vein. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon for causing the tear, and also against the hospital nurses for not discovering the bleeding that occurred after the surgery and which led to the patient's death. We obtained a significant six-figure award on behalf of her family.

Significant six-figure award An elderly woman from Pittsburgh's North Hills suffered an injury to her ureter while undergoing a cystoscopy for the treatment of a kidney stone. The injury to the ureter led to a very prolonged hospitalization and three additional surgeries. With the help of an independent urology expert, we filed a medical malpractice claim and were able to establish that the additional surgeries and the lengthy hospital stay could have been avoided if the surgeon had discovered and treated the original injury to the ureter much earlier on. We obtained a significant six-figure award on her behalf.

High six-figure award A 52-year-old woman from Altoona suffered a deep venous thrombosis (DVT) as a result of an injury to her common iliac vein, which occurred while she was undergoing surgery for an anterior spine fusion. As a result of the DVT, blood supply to the lower leg was disrupted and ultimately led to the amputation of her leg below the knee. We filed a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon on the ground that he caused injury to the common iliac vein; that he did not repair that injury properly; and that he did not take appropriate measures to dissolve the DVT before it was too late. We obtained a high six-figure award on behalf of this woman.

Large six-figure award — A 49-year-old man from Penn Hills went into a Pittsburgh hospital for lumbar disk surgery, and somehow the wrong disk was removed. He had to undergo two additional surgeries and as a result of those extra operations, he suffered nerve damage, which left him with chronic pain in his back and abdomen as well as his right leg. A large six-figure award was obtained against the hospital and the responsible doctors as a result of the medical malpractice claim that we filed.

Substantial six-figure award — A 63-year-old woman underwent gastric bypass surgery at a Beaver County hospital, and a few days later she experienced a perforated/leaking colon, which was not discovered by her doctor. She went on to develop peritonitis and died. A wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the medical center and the surgeon on behalf of the woman's adult children, and a substantial six-figure award was obtained.

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