Thursday, September 25, 2008

Anesthesiologist Settles Claim with Stroke Victim Who Lost Vision During Surgery.

The plaintiff was a resident of Lakehurst, New Jersey. He underwent a second spinal surgery on November 27, 2000. It was the plaintiff's contention that the defendant anesthesiologist utilized an anesthesia technique of induced hypotension, and that during the operative procedure the plaintiff's blood pressure was allowed to drop too low, causing an ischemic stroke to occur.

The plaintiff further contended that the defendant anesthesiologist failed to perform an appropriate preoperative evaluation, and failed to take into consideration in his anesthesia plan that the plaintiff suffered from hypertension, was obese, smoked and had other underlying cardiovascular problems that required his blood pressure to be higher during surgery. Further, the plaintiff took the position that he was not provided with adequate or timely blood replacement during the operative procedure, and that intraoperative monitoring of his condition was inadequate.

The defense denied that the induced hypotension was contraindicated, and took the position that the plaintiff suffered from only "white coat hypertension," and that his stroke was not due to negligence.

Lawyer John Ratkowitz (click here for bio) resolved the case while awaiting a trial date.

For more information about ischemic strokes, click here.

Click here to email John Ratkowitz

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pediatrician Settles Traumatic Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Case for Defendant's $1 Million Insurance Liability Limits.

At 4:00 a.m. on May 24, 2001, the mother was admitted to Labor and Delivery. Initial fetal heart rate measurements were noted to be in the 100-110 beat per minute range. The defendant physician arrived at 4:30 a.m. Shortly afterward, at 4:35 a.m., the fetal monitoring strips became non-reassuring. Oxygen was applied to the mother, and position change was employed. An internal fetal scalp electrode was not applied, and a good portion of the fetal monitoring strips thereafter were uninterpretable.

At 5:05 a.m., due to continuing concerns about the fetal heart rate, the defendant applied a vacuum extractor while the baby was at +2 station, with the vertex in the occiput position. At 5:22 a.m., the baby was delivered with a midline episiotomy under local anesthesia, with Apgar scores of 2/2/5 at 1/3/10 minutes. When the plaintiff was born, resuscitation was necessary, and she was intubated.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with metabolic acidosis and persistent pulmonary hypertension while admitted at the hospital. Additionally, she demonstrated irritability though fisting, clonus and bicycling movements.

Following discharge from the hospital, an MRI of the brain demonstrated findings consistent with the chronic phase of profound asphyxia. The plaintiff suffered from aspiration pneumonia and gastroesophageal reflux and failure to thrive and required the insertion of a gastronomy tube. She then went on to develop a spastic quadriplegia and developmental delay.

The plaintiffs contended that the defendant's failure to employ an internal fetal scalp electrode was a breach of accepted standards of care, and prevented the defendant from knowing the true status of the baby's condition, and led to an inappropriate decision to move forward with operative vaginal delivery rather than taking further resuscitative measures during labor and potential cesarean section.

The defense contended that the fetal tracings were intermittently reassuring, that the mother was combative during labor and that the extremely rapid pace of labor made the defendant's anticipation of imminent vaginal delivery logical, and therefore his decision to forego a cesarean section was within accepted standards of medical care.

John Ratkowitz (click here for bio) settled the case after parties and witnesses were deposed and expert reports were exchanged.

Click here to email Mr. Ratkowitz

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

20-Year-Old Somerset, New Jersey, Resident Settles Auto-Accident Claim for $300,000.

On November 29, 2004, between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m., the defendant was traveling south on Middlebush Road in Franklin Township, New Jersey, when without warning, she veered into the northbound lane of Middlebush Road and struck the plaintiff's 1995 Toyota Corolla. The defendant advised the police that she fell asleep at the wheel and did not wake up again until after the accident occurred.

The plaintiff was removed from his vehicle with the "Jaws of Life." He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Multiple radiographic studies were performed, which disclosed multiple broken bones. An x-ray of his right tibia and fibula demonstrated comminuted fractures of the distal tibia and fibula, with overriding of the fracture fragments and a lateral tilt of the distal fragments. A chest x-ray and x-ray of my left shoulder revealed a displaced fracture of the mid-shaft of the left clavicle, with inferior displacement of the distal fragment. Finally, a CT scan of the lumbar spine revealed a comminuted and displaced fracture of the left transverse process of the L3 vertebral body, and a non-displaced fracture of the left transverse process of the left vertebral body at L4. These fractures were accompanied by a diffuse disc bulge at L4-5 and a moderate diffuse disc bulge with a small central disc herniation at L5-S1.

The plaintiff underwent surgery which included intramedullary nailing with the insertion of a tibial traction pin to set and stabilize his leg fractures.

The plaintiff made a remarkable recovery, although his leg and back injuries have restricted his recreational and leisure activities. The plaintiff is currently an engineering student at college out of state.

Lawyer John Ratkowitz (click here for bio) was able to resolve the case following a settlement conference before the Honorable Victor Ashrafi.

Click here to email Mr. Ratkowitz