Five Medical Mistake Stories: Disturbing Reading, Kentucky

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Nothing can compensate for the life of a loved one who has died unnecessarily because of a medical mistake. No amount of money can pay for the loss of brain function, mobility, or speech because of such a mistake.

Here are five stories of medical malpractice, the court cases that resulted, and the jury verdicts. This information comes from

Nelson v. Novich-Welter (Milwaukee County, Wisconsin 2009)

In September 2000, Daniel R. Nelson and his wife were riding on Daniel’s motorcycle when a car pulled out in front of him, causing both Daniel and his wife to be thrown from the motorcycle. Daniel was badly injured. He went through rehabilitation and was able to walk short distances.

To assist with Daniel’s breathing, the doctor inserted a tracheotomy tube. One morning, when Daniel seemed to have stopped breathing, the attending physician waited too long to call an emergency team to help. Daniel nearly died, and he was in a coma for seven weeks. He was left with severe memory and speech problems, and he is now in a wheel chair.

In 2009, a Wisconsin jury awarded him $2.1 million in damages.

McQuitty v. Spangler (Court of Appeals of Maryland 2009)

Peggy McQuitty went to the hospital in April 1995 with a partial placental abruption at 28 weeks gestation. She was stabilized and retained for observation. She suffered a second abruption and was diagnosed with decreased amniotic fluid and an intrauterine growth restriction. Mrs. McQuitty claims that her doctor did not inform her about how her condition could affect her baby. He decided to wait until she was 36 weeks pregnant to perform a cesarean section. Mrs. McQuitty had a complete placental abruption and had an emergency cesarean section, during which her baby suffered oxygen deprivation, causing neurological damage.

The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld the ruling that the doctor had violated the doctrine of informed consent and granted damages of more than $13 million.

Family of Shannyn MacPherson v. Dr. John J. Ambrosino (Brockton, Massachusetts 2008)

Shannyn MacPherson was 30 years old when she consulted her doctor about a lump on her thyroid gland. She subsequently died from uncontrolled bleeding after thyroid surgery in 2001. Her family filed suit against her doctor and were awarded $14.5 million.

Donathan v. Gordon (Tennessee Federal Court 2010)

A Tennessee woman who was on blood thinners had surgery to repair her broken lower right leg. After surgery, the medical team inserted an epidural catheter for pain management, which resulted in a spinal bleed that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

The jury ruled that the medical personnel should have been aware of the risks of such a procedure in her case and awarded the woman and her husband a malpractice judgment of $22.2 million.

Family of Amy Altman v. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Suffolk County, Massachusetts 2008)

Amy Altman was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2003. She agreed to enroll in a clinical trial for an aggressive chemotherapy regimen at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The doctors failed to order tests when Amy developed serious bouts of diarrhea, dismissing them as side effects of the chemotherapy. They sent her home. She was subsequently taken to the emergency room and died. The cause of death was sepsis and a flesh-eating infection.

The family received an award of more than $13 million.

Seek help if someone you love has died or suffered brain injury due to medical malpractice. Call the Louisville medical malpractice attorneys at Gray and White Law at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 and set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.