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After a lengthy and difficult labor, the defendant, a young obstetrician, attempted a difficult forceps delivery. After failing to engage the baby’s head in his first attempt, he switched to a different type of forceps and was able to deliver the baby using a good deal of force. The trauma from the delivery resulted in the baby losing the vision in one of his eyes and internal injuries to the mother. At the deposition of the defendant, Jacobs & Jacobs uncovered the fact that this was the first time that this doctor had used the type of forceps with which he delivered the baby, other than during his training on a model. As a result, our expert was able to say that the doctor should have either obtained the assistance of an older physician who was more experienced with the use of forceps (because younger obstetricians are generally better trained in the use of vacuum extraction, a newer form of assisted delivery) or performed a Caesarian section.
Our client, who had just pulled out of a driveway with limited visibility, was struck in the rear by a 16-year-old driver who was on her way to school. Our client suffered a bleed in her brain, resulting in her death approximately one week later. The defense claimed that our client had just pulled into the road and should have seen the defendant. However, an accident reconstruction determined that the defendant’s vehicle was traveling at a minimum speed of 42 m.p.h. when she struck and snapped a utility pole after the impact with our client’s car, showing that she was likely going at more than twice the 25 m.p.h. speed limit before the impact with our client’s car.
The failure to timely diagnose cellulitis in a 69-year-old diabetic woman resulted in necrotizing fasciitis and the amputation of her right (master) arm below the elbow.
This case involved an 81-year-old man who died after open-heart surgery at a Connecticut hospital. Our investigation determined that his death was the result of a stroke caused by an air bubble entering his heart from the heart-lung bypass machine (the machine that keeps the patient’s blood flowing to vital organs while the heart is stopped and the surgeon is performing the operation). We obtained the log from the machine, which showed that the perfusionist (the person who operates the machine) had disabled the alarms on the heart-lung bypass machine, including the air bubble detector. As a result, the machine did not stop pumping automatically in response to the air bubble, which would likely have prevented the air bubble from being pumped into the patient’s heart. The perfusionist claimed that the air bubble did not come from the machine, but was the result of the surgeon manipulating the patient’s heart in order to insert a catheter. The perfusionist stated that he had never seen the heart manipulated that way during the many open-heart surgeries he was involved in over the years. At a settlement mediation, the two defendants agreed to pay a total of one million dollars to settle the case.
Our client underwent a nine-hour open-heart surgery, successfully performed by the defendant’s surgeon. In the early morning hours after the surgery, Mark began to develop symptoms of pain, numbness, and swelling in his right hand. The surgeon, nurses, and physician’s assistants at the hospital felt that the symptoms were routine post-surgical symptoms. One physician’s assistant ordered a consult with a hand specialist in the early morning to rule out anything more serious. However, the surgeon canceled that order because he felt it was unnecessary. During the course of the day, our client’s swelling became worse, to the point where he could not move his hand. Unfortunately, this information was not conveyed to the surgeon. Finally, when the surgeon examined Mark in the evening after he had completed surgery on another patient, he ordered an immediate hand consult. Mark was diagnosed with “compartment syndrome” of the right hand, a rare complication of being on the heart bypass machine during surgery. Despite emergency hand surgery, Mark was left with a permanent partial loss of function of the right hand. The defense contended that the delay in diagnosing the condition had no effect on his ultimate outcome.