$4,750,000 Confidential Settlement for Labor & Delivery Negligence
- Date: Summer 2010
- Attorney: Ronald P. Goldfaden
- Settlement: $4,750,000
- Practice Areas: Medical Malpractice, Failure to Treat Preeclampsia, Labor & Delivery Negligence, Medication Error, Nursing Malpractice
Blume Donnelly partner Ronald Goldfaden recently settled a medical malpractice case for a 41-year-old woman who was left partially blind as a result of nursing malpractice. The nurses failed to provide our client with medication that was ordered to prevent seizures.
The woman had been admitted to the defendant hospital to give birth to twins by C-section delivery. Prior to her C-section however, the doctors diagnosed her with Pre-Eclampsia, a condition in pregnant women which includes high blood pressure and protein in the urine. The standard of care requires that pre-eclamptic women be given a medication named Magnesium Sulfate, which helps prevent seizures. Pre-eclampsia can sometimes progress to Eclampsia, a complication of which is seizures. Eclampsia can be very serious and even fatal for both mother and child.
Although our client’s obstetrician appropriately ordered Magnesium Sulfate, the nurses failed to administer the medication to the plaintiff. Approximately 12 hours later, the woman (whose identity can not be revealed due to a confidentiality agreement with the defendants) suffered an unwitnessed seizure which caused her to have partial loss of vision in both eyes.,The defendant hospital and nurses conceded that they failed to administer the prescribed medication, but denied that the plaintiff suffered any seizure. Therefore, they contended that their negligence was not the cause of plaintiff’s injuries. Instead, they claimed that the woman’s injuries were the result of respiratory depression (a problem with her breathing), caused by the plaintiff’s reaction to general anesthesia, 2 injections of narcotics (for pain), and Ambien, a sedative, that she was given shortly before she was found unresponsive. The defendants also blamed 2 serious medical conditions (Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome a/k/a PRES and HELLP Syndrome) as having caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Finally, the defendants contended that even if the plaintiff suffered a seizure, there was only a 50% chance that the medication would have prevented the seizure from occurring.
In responding to the defense contentions, Mr. Goldfaden argued that respiratory depression does not come on rapidly, but rather usually progresses slowly over time. It usually is accompanied by labored, shallow breathing and lethargy which was never observed in this case by the nurses. What’s more, one doctor noted some blood in the plaintiff’s mouth immediately after she was found, which Ron argued was evidence that the plaintiff bit her tongue during a seizure. Mr. Goldfaden also argued that the findings of the plaintiff’s MRI of the brain (which showed brain damage with bilateral infarctions in the occipital region), were inconsistent with PRES, but rather were indicative of brain injury resulting from a seizure. Finally, Ron argued that the woman’s blood tests indicated that she had metabolic acidosis, which occurred from her hyperventilating in the throws of a seizure, and could not have occurred from a respiratory depression.
Contraindicated or incorrect treatment in light of a correct and clear diagnosis constitutes medical malpractice.
Mr. Goldfaden settled this case for $4,750,000 following a mediation.