Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew Curtis obtained a confidential $800,000 medical malpractice settlement for a 66-year-old woman who suffered deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli due to multiple instances of professional negligence.
Following an outpatient colonoscopy, the plaintiff presented to the defendant hospital’s ER complaining of progressive abdominal pain. She was deemed high risk for venous thromboembolism and prescribed prophylactic heparin after admission. The plaintiff subsequently underwent abdominal surgery for bowel perforation.
Although her hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was previously terminated, the defendants resumed it one week after surgery. The next day, the plaintiff suffered numerous complications, including shortness of breath and swelling in her legs. She was discharged four days later with instructions to continue the HRT and discontinue the prophylactic heparin.
Five days later, the plaintiff returned to the ER complaining of shortness of breath and left leg pain. Diagnostic testing revealed bilateral pulmonary emboli, extensive thrombus, and continued signs of bowel perforation. She was prescribed therapeutic heparin and transferred to the ICU. There, the internal medicine team discontinued the HRT, noting that it likely provoked the pulmonary emboli.
Eleven days into her second hospital admission, the plaintiff underwent a second surgery to treat the extensive clotting that had developed. Afterward, orders were entered for the plaintiff to receive IV heparin for 24 hours, but the assigned nurses neglected to start the heparin drip for 22 hours. This significant violation of the standard of care contributed to the re-clotting of the plaintiff’s veins.
The plaintiff underwent third and fourth surgeries but continued to develop blood clots in the same veins. After two months of back-to-back hospital stays, the plaintiff was discharged and placed on lifelong anticoagulation therapy.
Had the defendants followed the standard of care, the plaintiff would have been advised to continue the prophylactic heparin after her first hospital discharge, and the hormone replacement therapy would not have been resumed. These instructions would likely have prevented the three additional surgeries. Further, the plaintiff likely would not have needed the additional two surgeries if the IV heparin had been timely administered following the second surgery.
Because of the plaintiff’s extended hospital stays, she lost her full-time salaried position and benefits. In addition, her legs continuously swell, she feels pain every day, and she must visit two physicians every three months. She has difficulty walking any significant distance and constantly feels short of breath.
The significant settlement amount reflects the plaintiff’s extensive suffering and economic losses.
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