(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
On June 24th Plaintiff was believed to have suffered a gastrointestinal bleed. On that day, Dr. Green placed an arterial and femoral line in Plaintiff’s groin to measure his blood pressure and rapidly infuse blood. The line is placed using a guide wire which is inserted ir the groin and up the iliac vein approximately 15-20 centimeters into the area of the bifurcation of the aorta. A hard rigid catheter is placed on top of the guide wire which, if erroneously placed can cause injury to the aorta. Assuming during the placement of these line, Dr. Green lacerated the posterior wall of the abdominal aorta and/or the adjacent area of the left common iliac vein, it would be a breach of the standard of care and a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s second series of injuries. Dr. Green has presented no evidence rising to a medical probability that his placement of the line did not cause injury.
However, even assuming Dr. Green did not cause the injuries, as the vascular surgeon taking part in the laparotomy on the 24th, Dr. Green was responsible for determining the source of the hemorrhage, including ruling out injury to the abdominal aorticbifurcation and the anterior wall of the left common iliac vein. Dr. Green admits that he did not discover the source of Plaintiffs bleed on the 24th As evident by the events on June 28th, Dr. Green failed to adequately inspect, discover and repair all sources of the bleed. Dr. Green’s failure to discover and repair the injury was below the standard of care and was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s injury.
Defendant Dr. O’Connor s treatment of Plaintiff began on June 19, 2005, when Plaintiff suffered from respiratory failure and complications of aspiration pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism. On June 28th, Plaintiffs blood pressure again dropped and right femoral venous lines were placed by Dr. O’Connor. If Dr. O’Connor caused a puncture/laceration to the aortic bifurcation and/or to the left common iliac vein during the course of these placement of the femoral venous lines it was below the standard of care and a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s second set of injuries.
As a result of defendants’ negligence Plaintiff required multiple surgeries, a 35-day stay in the hospital and, he will require future care to treat his residual injuries. His future care includes the continued monitoring for deep vein thrombosis and the need to take Lovenox as a prophylactic each time before flying in an airplane. Additionally, Plaintiff will need to wear a compression stocking to control the swelling in his legs for the remainder of his life. Dr. Brown’s expert, Dr. Spring, believes he will require future surgery. It is not presently known whether health issues will arise from lymphodema in his left leg, and/or his increased blood clot risk, or other medical conditions arising out of the defendant’s care. Although the cost of his future care has not yet been determined, his past medical expenses total $601,150.12. Defendants caused this $601,150.12 in damages that were paid by Plaintiff’s insurance for the harm they caused. Plaintiff’s health coverage was provided by the Federal Government, a collateral source. The Defendants are responsible for this economic loss.
With respect to his employment, Plaintiff has fortunately returned to work. However, as a result of the defendants’ negligence Plaintiff was hospitalized from June 16, 2005 through July 21, 2005, and was convalescing at home from July 21, 2005 through August 18, 2005. He returned to work on light duty on August 19, 2005, and to full duty work on September 5, 2005. During this time he had to use sick leave and vacation time and lost overtime earning potential. Based on his earnings for overtime for the entire year of 2005, the amount of $24,078.47 divided by 52 weeks = $463.05 per week average overtime earnings x 12 weeks = $5,56.60 of estimated overtime pay lost.
Plaintiff’s loss of earnings from June 16, 2005 through August 19, 2005 is approximately $14,636.80, plus sick leave and annual leave earnings for the same time frame.
Clearly, Plaintiffs general damages exceed the MICRA caps and he is entitled to the full $750,000 for all three injuries. His loss of earnings total is $14,636.80. Additionally, his past medical expenses total $601,150.12.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.