Medical Malpractice Claims

Woman Wins Claim for Adverse Reaction to Medication


A woman in Philadelphia has won her claim for an adverse reaction to medication which caused her to go into cardiac arrest from which she suffered permanent brain damage.

In June 2010, Jacqueline DiTore attended the Outpatient´s Department of the Abington Surgical Centre in Pennsylvania for scheduled surgery on her nose. Prior to starting the surgery, her surgeon – Dr Warren Zager – asked a nurse to prepare an injection for a local anaesthetic and soak some cotton balls in a nasal decongestant (Afrin) so that they were ready if there was excessive bleeding during the procedure.

The nurse poured the nasal decongestant into a cup in order to soak the cotton balls before preparing the injection; but a second nurse mistook the contents of the cup as the anaesthetic, drew the Afrin into a syringe and handed it to the doctor. Unaware that the syringe had been filled with nasal decongestant, Dr Zager injected the Afrin into Jacqueline´s nose, and then left his patient to prepare for the surgery.

An anaesthetist present in the operating room saw that Jacqueline´s heart rate had decreased to 36 beats per minute and – unaware that Jacqueline had been injected with sufficient Afrin to cause a 100-fold narrowing of the blood vessels – administered an anticholinergic which brought Jacqueline´s heart rate up to 80 beats per minute.

Dr Zager returned to the operating room to begin the procedure, but Jacqueline still had feeling in her nose. The doctor asked for another injection of anaesthetic to be prepared, and it was then that the mix-up was realised. Unaware of the effect that the Afrin had on Jacqueline´s heart rate, Dr Zager chose to continue with the surgery and injected more anaesthetic into Jacqueline´s nose.

Following the second injection, Jacqueline´s heart rate suddenly increased to 140 beats per minute and her blood pressure registered 260/150. Dr Zager administered Labetalol (a drug used to lower high blood pressure) and Jacqueline´s blood pressure fell so low so quickly that she went into cardiac arrest. Jacqueline was rushed to nearby Abington Memorial Hospital where she was resuscitated.

Soon after her recovery from the cardiac arrest, it became apparent that Jacqueline´s adverse reaction to medication had caused brain damage which left her with impaired cognitive abilities, short-term memory loss and difficulty with her speech. Doctors told Jacqueline that her brain injuries were likely to deteriorate as she gets older and, after seeking legal advice, she made a compensation claim for an adverse reaction to medication against the Abington Surgical Centre and Dr Zager.

Both defendants denied that they were liable for the adverse reaction that caused Jacqueline to go into cardiac arrest but at the Montgomery County Court in Philadelphia before Judge Thomas M. Del Ricci, a jury delivered a verdict in Jacqueline´s favour and awarded her $5.1 million in settlement of her claim for an adverse reaction to medication. The jury found Dr Zager to be 38.5 percent negligent for the adverse reaction and the Abington Surgical Centre 61.5 percent negligent for the circumstances which caused it.

Medical Negligence Compensation for Cerebral Palsy Injury Approved at Court


An interim settlement of medical negligence compensation for cerebral palsy relating to a boy aged 13 who was born with irreversible brain damage has been approved in the High Court.
The compensation action for cerebral palsy birth injury for Ryan Brennan from Cahir, County Tipperary, by his parents following allegedly preventable complications before and during his (Ryan´s) birth in January 2000 at the St Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel.
Some hours before his delivery, a foetal trace had uncovered abnormalities in Ryan´s heart rate and, after he was given birth to, he had to be resuscitated and suffered seizures throughout the following day. Due to his delayed birth, Ryan now suffers from irreversible brain damage and cerebral palsy.
In the action it was claimed by Ryan´s parents – Lorraine and Raymond Brennan – that Ryan´s cerebral palsy could have been avoided if the consultant obstetrician – Dr Brendan Powell – and staff at St Joseph´s Hospital had applied greater care to their work, and a birth injury medical negligence compensation action was made against Dr Powell and the HSE.
Both parties did not accept the allegations of a failure to act, negligence, a breach of duty by Dr Powell and a breach of contract by the hospital which resulted in the brain damage suffered by Ryan but, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine were told that an interim settlement of cerebral palsy birth injury compensation had been agreed upon with no admission of liability.
The €1.7 million temporary payment is for the next two years to allow for the introduction of a new structured payment system and a review of Ryan´s future needs. Ms Justine Mary Irvine described the interim settlement as ‘in the upper parameters of these types of cases’ as she approved it.

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Birth Negligence Claim for Hospital Obstetric Errors Settled at Court


The family of a girl, who sustained brain trauma at birth when a locum doctor did not recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section, have had their birth negligence claim for hospital obstetric errors settled at the High Court.

Sonya Butler from County Waterford was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005, after a normal and healthy pregnancy, to give birth to her first child. However, her consultant obstetrician – John Bermingham – and the Waterford hospital´s two other obstetric doctors on staff had all been allowed to take annual leave at this time, and the hospital had brought in a locum – Mahmud Khbuli – to cover int he absence.

Unfortunately, Dr Khbuli neglected to see the necessity for a Caesarean section during Sonya´s pre-operative assessment and, when Sonya´s daughter – Alex – was given birth to, she had suffered an oxygen deficiency in the womb which lead to the little girl suffering brain damage and being born tetraplegic.

Sonya’s mother, Alex, made a birth negligence claim (on her behalf) for hospital obstetric errors against the hospital, Dr Bermingham and Dr Khbuli; alleging that Waterford Regional Hospital was negligent by failing to have an adequate number of properly trained and competent staff to oversee her delivery, that Dr Bermingham should not have taken annual leave when the family had opted for private medical treatment and that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment by Dr Khbuli was not completed correctly.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted, at the High Court, that mistakes were made which should never have occurred and an apology was read out to the family by a representative of the hospital. The court heard that the birth negligence action against Drs Bermingham and Khbuli had been dropped and a compensation settlement of €1.4 million had been agreed as an interim settlement of the family´s birth negligence claim for hospital obstetric errors.

The figure is to be reviewed in two years time, when Alex’s future rest of life needs have been assessed and there may be the option of a structured compensation settlement.

You can read more about medical negligence claims in Ireland here.


$8.3m Settlement for DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Device Awarded


The first claim to be heard in court has resulted in an award of $8.3 settlement for DePuy ASR hip replacement device being made to a former prison officer.

The compensation claim filed by Loren Kransky (65) was brought forward ahead of the Multi District Litigation (MDL) due to be heard in Ohio in May, as the Mr Kransky is terminally ill from heart disease, diabetes and kidney cancer.

Solicitors at the Los Angeles Superior Court argued that Kransky had to have a follow-up hip replacement operation – causing him pain and suffering – due to serious levels of chromium and cobalt in his bloodstream caused by metal-on-metal friction inside his ASR XL Acetabular hip replacement device.

They, the solicitors, claimed that Johnson and Johnson – the father company of DePuy Orthopaedics – marketed the faulty hip replacement devices knowing that the ASR systems were defective, effectively accusing them of fraud along with negligence which would have permitted Kransky to qualify for significant punitive damages.

Johnson and Johnson disputed that they were aware that the ASR hip replacements were faulty in 2007 – the year in which Kransky had his first hip replacement surgery – and argued Kransky´s claim for DePuy ASR hip replacement device compensation on the grounds that Kransky´s pain and suffering was due to his pre-existing health conditions.

The jury at the Los Angeles Superior Court found that Johnson and Johnson had not behaved “with malice” by promoting their product in 2007, but were in agreement that the product was defective and awarded Kransky $8 million in settlement of his DePuy ASR hip replacement claim, with a further $338,000 to account for the medical expenses he has built up to date.

After the ruling was announced Johnson and Johnson revealed that it intends to appeal the decision, as the precedent of $8 million in DePuy hip device compensation for pain and suffering could be greatly inflated when claims for claimants who do not have a terminal illness are heard in the MDL action in Ohio.

Serious Birth Injury Claim Sees Coombe Hospital Found Liable


A Judge has found, in the High Court, the Coombe Women´s Hospital in Dublin medically negligent in a serious birth injury claim brought against it by a ten-year-old boy.

The claim for serious birth injury compensation was taken by Fiona Murphy of Malahide, County Dublin, on behalf of her son Eoin (10) following the events surrounding his birth on 12th July 2002.

Her son, Eoin, had been born with near total acute hypoxic ischaemia which an inquiry into the serious birth injury claim found had started two or three minutes before he was born.

However, instead of resuscitating Eoin as soon as possible following his birth, a delay of 17 minutes happened as a result of a paediatric registrar not being available and, as a consequence, Eoin suffered irreversible brain damage and now has severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy .

In her ruling at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine stated that, had the hospital used reasonable care for Eoin’s well being, there was no reason as to why he should not have been properly ventilated by the time he was nine minutes old which would have stopped his injuries from happening.

The judge, in finding the Coombe Women’s and Infants’ University Hospital liable for Eoin´s injuries, said “the delay was unacceptable and the hospital was negligent in failing to ensure the child received the type of intubation and ventilation mandated in the first 10 minutes of his life”.

Eoin´s serious birth injury claim has now been adjourned for the finals assessment of damages.

Compensation for Delayed Hospital Negligence Approved in Court


A settlement of compensation for delayed hospital negligence has been approved at the High Court in the case of Brid Courtney – two years after the brain damaged child was awarded an interim payment.

Brid, who is now nine years old and comes from Ardfert in County Kerry, was born in Tralee General Hospital in February 2003 suffering from brain damage after medical staff at the hospital allegedly did not act on a sudden and dramatic change in the foetal heart rate pattern.

As a consequence of the slowing heart beat, Brid suffered perinatal asphyxia in the womb and because of the oxygen starvation is now confined to a wheelchair from which she has to be lifted bodily. She is also unable to speak and has to rely on her eyes and facial expressions to communicate with her family.

Following a medical negligence claim due to delayed treatment  made through her mother – Deidre – the Health Service Executive agreed to settle the claim without admission of liability and, in November 2010, Mr Justice John Quirke approved an interim payment of 2 million Euros and adjourned the case for two years to allow for the introduction of periodic payments.

However, a system for periodic compensation payments for catastrophic injuries has still not been brought in by the government and – two years after the first payment of compensation for delayed hospital action was approved – the case returned before the court for the approval of a final settlement.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard evidence from experts that a further 9 million Euros in compensation for delayed hospital negligence would be required to provide adequate care for Brid through the remainder of her expected life and, as both Brid´s mother and the Health Service Executive agreed with the expert´s assessment, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement.

Medical Misadventure Compensation After Death During Childbirth


The family of a woman who tragically died giving birth to her second child has been awarded 850,000 Euros in compensation for medical misadventure following a High Court Compensation hearing.

Evelyn Flanagan (38) from Castlebar in County Mayo died at Mayo General Hospital on October 19, 2007, following the birth of her daughter Niamh as a result of serious issues during delivery. An initial post-mortem suggested that Evelyn´s death was due to an amniotic fluid embolism; however Evelyn´s family contested the ruling – alleging that the deterioration in her condition was due to a postpartum haemorrhage which could have been prevented with greater care.

Inquest proceedings in 2008 and 2009 lead to a verdict of death by medical adventure, following which Evelyn´s husband – Padraic Flanagan – made a claim for medical misadventure compensation against the Health Service Executive and consultant obstetrician, Dr Murtada Mohamed. It was alleged in the compensation action that Evelyn experienced a postpartum haemorrhage as a result of a rupture of her uterus which was not detected or adequately dealt with.

Mayo General Hospital at first denied that negligence had occurred but, as Mr Justice Michael Peart was told at the High Court, an acknowledgement of liability had been made during mediation prior to court proceedings. The judge awarded the family 850,000 Euros in compensation for medical misadventure to include the maximum permitted 25,395 Euros for mental distress and payments for each of Evelyn´s two children as they grow up.

Medical Negligence Compensation for Mismanaged Birth Approved in Court


A woman, who was starved of oxygen at birth and has suffered a lifetime of learning difficulties, has had a settlement of compensation for her mismanaged birth approved at London´s Royal Courts of Justice.

Susanne Turner (45) from Wittersham in Kent was born at Buchanan Street Hospital in St Leonards-on-Sea after a delayed Caesarean operation due to neither a surgeon nor an anaesthetist being available to perform the procedure. As a result, Susanne was deprived of oxygen in the womb, unable to breathe independently when she was born and suffered severe brain damage.

Susanne´s parents – Christopher and Sandra – raised Susanne without assistance, and unaware that they were entitled to claim compensation for the mismanaged birth, until they read a magazine article which explained Susanne´s rights to compensation.

When they sought legal advice about their situation, Christopher and Sandra discovered that – as Susanne did not have the mental capacity to bring a claim for medical negligence compensation for mismanaged birth herself – they were still within the time frame allowed to sue the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority for the negligent situation which had occurred in 1967.

After reviewing the claim for medical negligence compensation for mismanaged birth, South East Coast Strategic Health Authority quickly admitted their liability for Susanne´s birth injury and, at the Royal Courts of Justice, issued a formal apology for the mismanagement of Susanne´s birth.

Approving the settlement of medical negligence compensation for mismanaged birth, which will take the form of annual payments and a lump sum payment to pay for a specially-adapted home for Susanne, judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies paid tribute to Christopher and Sandra´s “love and devotion”. The medical negligence settlement is estimated to be worth 4.2 million pounds and will provide Susanne with the care she needs for the rest of her life.

Early Hospital Discharge Negligence Compensation Awarded in High Court


A woman, who was released from hospital just eight hours after being admitted with a broken pelvis, has won a High Court hearing and been awarded with 35,000 pounds in medical negligence compensation.

Lydia Eaton (102) from Wigmore, Kent, sued the Medway NHS Trust through her daughter after she lost the ability to walk independently after the events of March 2007. Lydia, who had broken her pelvis in a fall close to her home, was taken to the A&E Department of Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham but discharged after just eight hours and provided with a prescription for painkillers.

Lydia´s condition got worse after she returned home and, as her mobility decreased, started to develop sores and ulcers. Her family, it was alleged at London´s High Court, received no direction on how to deal with Lydia´s condition or support from the hospital, and the following month Lydia was moved into a nursing home.

Judge Sweeney at the High Court heard solicitors representing Lydia contend that Lydia would still be living on her own and able to walk had it not been for the negligence of doctors at the Medway Maritime Hospital and they advised the judge that, since the claim for early hospital discharge negligence compensation had been made, Lydia had been forced to move into another – more expensive – nursing home where a higher level of care could be provided.

Ruling in favour of Lydia, Judge Sweeney agreed that the hospital had indeed been negligent in prematurely releasing Lydia from hospital – a situation which had directly lead to the deterioration of her condition. The judge awarded Lydia 35,000 pounds in early hospital discharge negligence compensation and ordered that it be placed in a trust fund to pay for Lydia´s care.

Woman to Receive Medical Malpractice Compensation for Surgical Procedure Error


A Nottingham woman, who was left with cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen during a routine operation when she was a baby, has been awarded a six-figure settlement of medical malpractice compensation for a surgical  error at London´s High Court.

Stacey Jayne Smith (24) was taken to Nottingham City Hospital in 1988 with a high temperature and doctors, suspecting gall stones, scheduled an operation to removed Stacey Jayne´s gall bladder. However, as Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court was told, during the operation Stacey Jayne´s bowel was punctured and she went into cardiac arrest.

Despite being resuscitated, Stacy Jayne´s heart had stopped beating and she suffered catastrophic brain injuries as a result. Stacey Jayne now suffers from cerebral palsy, had to cope throughout her childhood with severe learning difficulties and experiences problems with walking long distances.

Stacey Jayne´s parents took a hospital negligence claim against the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority (EMSHA) who, after an investigation, acknowledged their error and agreed an undisclosed settlement of medical negligence compensation for surgical procedure error which is believe to be in six figures.

Approving the medical negligence settlement, Mr Justice Tugendhat said “I do express my sympathy to Stacey’s family and wish them all the best for the future. Stacey has been very fortunate in the support her family has given her, so lovingly, for so long.”