The Eisen Law Firm is proud of its many victories in the fight to obtain maximum compensation for individuals seriously injured by the negligence of others.
Some examples of those victories are described below:
Danny T. died as the result of negligence. The details are confidential, but Danny's widow filed suit and received a multi-million-dollar verdict. That was, however, only the beginning. The defense appealed. Again, the widow won. Further litigation followed, including additional appeals. Attorney Brian Eisen worked relentlessly on this matter for several years. Eventually, his dogged persistence won out, and Danny's widow and family received a total award in excess of $15.3 million.
Libby Barnish was devastated when she was unable to move her legs after waking up from spine surgery. When two reputable law firms told her that it would be too difficult to prove that her injury was the result of medical negligence, she almost lost all hope. Then she came to the Eisen Law Firm.
To read about what happened to Libby, click here:
James was delivered by Cesarean section after his mother’s uterus ruptured during labor. He was limp, blue, and not breathing. When the hospital’s “Code Pink” team could not resuscitate James, a pediatrician was summoned. By the time the pediatrician arrived, however, James had sustained permanent brain damage, ultimately resulting in cerebral palsy. The Eisen Law Firm filed suit, claiming that the obstetrician overlooked fetal monitoring strips that showed fetal distress before the uterine rupture occurred, and that the hospital failed to call the pediatrician promptly.
The Eisen Law Firm assembled a highly-qualified team of experts in almost a dozen different medical specialties from around the country in order to prove that James’ injuries were the direct result negligence. Ultimately, the defense agreed to settle the case rather than face The Eisen Law Firm and its team of experts in the courtroom.
Julie D was 25 weeks pregnant when she presented to the Labor and Delivery department of her local hospital with a headache and vision problems. Immediately, the nursing staff suspected pregnancy-induced hypertension (“Pre-Eclampsia”). When a laboratory test showed protein in Julie’s urine, the diagnosis should have been made. Unfortunately, Julie’s obstetrician never saw that test result, and an unsupervised L.P.N. was put in charge of Julie’s care and did not report the result.
Partner Brian N. Eisen was recruited to prepare the case for trial and conduct the trial as first chair for another attorney who had litigated the case. After Mr. Eisen completed the depositions of the defense expert witnesses, the defense settled the case on the courthouse steps.
Rebecca Smith was delivered by Cesarean section after a prolonged labor. She had very low APGAR scores and developed seizures within 24 hours after birth. The Eisen Law Firm filed suit against her mother’s obstetrician and the hospital where the delivery occurred, claiming that fetal heart rate monitors showed that the baby was in distress and should have been delivered before her brain was deprived of oxygen.
The Eisen Law Firm focused on refuting the obstetrician’s claim that Rebecca’s cerebral palsy was caused by an infection in the placenta rather than medical negligence. That strategy resulted in a settlement that was more than enough to pay for Rebecca’s future medical care.
Daphne West was evaluated by a nurse practitioner at the office of her family doctor. She complained of numbness in one arm and actually fainted in the office. The nurse practitioner sent her home with a change in her blood pressure medication. Hours later, Daphne had a devastating stroke. The problem was compounded by the fact that she was taken to a Cleveland-area hospital, where no stroke doctor was available for 19 hours. Daphne was left unable to walk or to speak above a whisper.
The Eisen Law Firm pursued not only the nurse practitioner but also the hospital, arguing that the hospital should have either provided Daphne with a stroke doctor or transferred her to a stroke center just a few miles away. With the help of renowned experts, The Eisen Law Firm was able to show that had Daphne been treated timely with clot-busting medications, she would have recovered fully.
Faced with this evidence, the hospital elected to settle the case before trial.
Mrs. A was 84 years old when she underwent heart surgery at a local hospital. The surgery went well, but after it was finished Mrs. A’s heart began to beat too fast, and the resident physicians in the operating room could not restore a normal rhythm. While attempting to perform open heart cardiac massage, one of the residents inadvertently caused a tear in Mrs. A’s heart. The attending surgeon was able to repair the tear by suturing it closed, and a normal rhythm was restored.
Unfortunately, however, while repairing the tear, the surgeon unintentionally sutured a Swan Ganz catheter to the inside of Mrs. A’s heart wall. (This was not discovered until a post-operative echocardiogram was performed.) Plans were made to return Mrs. A to the operating room the next day to remove the catheter. But, as she was being transported back to the OR, a loop of the catheter line somehow became snagged on a door handle, ripping a jagged tear in Mrs. A’s heart.
Miraculously, Mrs. A survived the incident, but she died several days later. A confidential settlement was reached with the hospital before a lawsuit was filed.
Phyllis Hutchins had a small area of weakness (called an “aneurysm”) in her abdominal aorta, one of the main arteries in her body. This aneurysm had to be repaired surgically. Phyllis’ urologist, Michael Rashid, M.D., decided she also should have one of her kidneys removed at the same time. Following successful aneurysm repair by another surgeon, Dr. Rashid tried to remove Phyllis’ kidney. Due to poor surgical technique and Dr. Rashid’s refusal to seek help from a more experienced surgeon, Phyllis lost a tremendous amount of blood. She awoke from the surgery at Toledo Hospital with impaired vision and with a permanent colostomy.
When Dr. Rashid and his partners at Genito-Urinary Surgeons, Inc. refused to accept responsibility for what they had done, The Eisen Law Firm took the case to trial. Partner Brian N. Eisen showed the jury just how Dr. Rashid caused — and then failed to control — the bleeding, resulting in Phyllis’ injuries.
The jury came back with a verdict of $3.75 million, one of the largest malpractice verdicts in Lucas County history. The key to courtroom victory was Mr. Eisen’s cross-examination of Dr. Rashid. After Dr. Rashid tried to downplay the blood loss, Mr. Eisen showed there was enough blood to fill a bathtub – literally a “bloodbath.”
Dave W. was dressing one morning when he felt a snap in the front of his neck, followed by pain in his chest and head. Thinking he may have suffered a heart attack, Dave went straight to the ER. Preliminary tests were run, and a heart attack was ruled out. Thereafter, other explanations were considered.
One of the possible explanations was a “thoracic aortic dissection.” The aorta is the largest artery in the body, and the thoracic aorta is the portion of the artery within the chest. A “dissection” occurs when the inner layer of the artery tears and blood begins to force its way between the inner and outer layers, creating a “false channel.” An aortic dissection is an emergency because the blood in this false channel can erode the outer layer, too, and the vessel will rupture. A ruptured thoracic dissection is rapidly fatal.
A CT scan was ordered to rule out the possibility of a thoracic dissection. It was interpreted as negative.
Because the pain didn’t go away, the doctors ordered another CT scan. That CT showed a dissection of the ascending thoracic aorta (the portion of the aorta closest to the heart). The radiologist quickly called the emergency department, and a thoracic surgeon was paged. Before the surgeon could make it to Dave’s room, however, Dave became unresponsive. Hospital personnel tried to resuscitate him, but it was no use. Dave died from a ruptured thoracic aorta. He was only 42 years old and left behind a wife and two young children.
Dave’s wife hired The Eisen Law Firm to investigate. In reviewing the medical records, we discovered a major problem with the initial CT scan: it only showed a small portion of the thoracic aorta; it missed the critical area entirely. It was no wonder it was read as “negative.”
We retained top-notch experts in emergency medicine, radiology, and thoracic surgery to review the case. These experts concluded that Dave’s doctors should have made sure that the first CT scan that included the entire ascending aorta, not just a small portion of it. Had they simply looked in the right place, they would have had no trouble finding the problem.
Armed with this information, The Eisen Law Firm contacted the hospital to discuss a pre-suit resolution. The hospital recognized its mistake and appreciated the enormous amount of harm it had caused. A confidential, multi-million dollar settlement quickly was reached.
Mrs. W had a routine arthroscopic knee surgery at an ambulatory surgical facility. The treating surgeon and the anesthesia team failed to pay close attention to the medications Mrs. W was taking. As a result, they administered medications during the procedure that interacted with Mrs. W’s medications and caused her to go into respiratory arrest.
Partner Brian N. Eisen discovered that key documents in Mrs. W’s medical records had been destroyed and altered. He then hired a forensic document examiner and a computer forensic analyst to inspect the computer of one of the defendant physicians. After the trial court ordered production of the computer, an immediate appeal was taken.
Associate Todd E. Gurney argued the case in front of the Sixth District Court of Appeals. The appellate court ruled in favor of Mrs. W, but the defendants still would not allow the inspection to go forward. Instead, they filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. The Supreme Court refused to accept the appeal, however, and the case settled shortly after the computer was analyzed.
For over two years, Sherry Morse complained to her family practice physician of a cough. She was repeatedly advised she had “bronchitis” and was given prescriptions for antibiotics. Although she was a heavy smoker, her doctor never suggested a chest X-Ray. Finally, a car accident led to an MRI and a chest X-Ray. Mrs. Morse was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer and – after a long illness — eventually died.
The Eisen Law Firm ignored the conventional wisdom that lung cancer cases cannot be won if the patient was a lifetime smoker. In these cases, the defense typically attacks the patient for smoking and expects the jury to punish the patient for her “vice” and ignore the doctor’s conduct. Rather than turn away Sherry Morse’s family, The Eisen Law Firm used the legal equivalent of “jujitsu” — the ancient discipline of using an attacker’s own movements against him – and argued that Mrs. Morse’s long history of smoking is precisely why extra testing was required when she developed early potential signs of cancer.
The jury agreed and delivered a $3.15 million dollar verdict against Sherry Morse’s family doctor.
Near the end of a two-week medical negligence trial against two sets of defendants, Defendant #1 called his key expert witness on direct examination. After Mr. Eisen cross-examined him, Defendant #2 was permitted to examine the expert. Instead of limiting the examination to matters raised on direct examination, however, Defendant #2 elicited new opinions from the expert. When Mr. Eisen stood up to cross-examine the expert on the new opinions, the judge refused to allow it. Since the expert’s new opinions went unchallenged, the jury believed everything he said. It was no surprise that the jury returned a defense verdict.
The Eisen Law Firm refused to accept defeat in this fashion, so it filed an appeal and asked for a new trial. On appeal, Mr. Gurney argued that it was reversible error for a trial court to permit a defendant to elicit new opinions from an expert, and then deny the plaintiff an opportunity to cross-examine the expert on those new opinions. The appellate court agreed, reversing the trial court’s decision and ordering a new trial. The Defendants tried to appeal to the Supreme Court of Ohio, but they were rejected. The case then settled shortly before the retrial, which would have included full and fair cross-examination.
Mrs. J underwent a colo-rectal surgery at a large hospital. Following surgery, she was advised that everything had gone smoothly. The first few days of her post-operative recovery also went smoothly, so the wheels were set in motion to discharge her from the hospital. The evening before she was supposed to be discharged, however, she began vomiting. Notwithstanding this change in her condition, she was sent home as planned.
Over the next 24 hours, Mrs. J continued to do poorly and her condition rapidly became worse. 9-1-1 was called to her home, but by the time help arrived, Mrs. J was non-responsive and could not be resuscitated.
Mrs. J’s husband hired The Eisen Law Firm to investigate. By meticulously combing through hundreds of pages of medical records, we were able to show that Mrs. J should not have been discharged from the hospital in light of her change in condition. We developed a case-specific theme involving the difficulty of stopping the discharge process in this hospital once it had begun. We likened it to a large train that is very hard to stop once it is set in motion and has built up some momentum. A lawsuit was filed, and a confidential settlement was reached during litigation.
Mr. E was 75 years old when he was diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis. He was scheduled to undergo an endoscopic procedure, and the anesthesia plan was to put Mr. E into a state of “deep sedation,” as opposed to “general anesthesia.” Early on in the procedure, however, the anesthetist allowed Mr. E to slip into general anesthesia – i.e., a deeper-than-intended level of sedation.
When the procedure ended, the anesthetist could not awaken Mr. E. Instead of calling for help right away, he wasted valuable time trying to resuscitate Mr. E by himself. By the time he finally called for help, it was too late.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit, and the anesthetist’s insurance company defended the case vigorously. They hired multiple experts to try to show that Mr. E died of a sudden, unexpected cardiac event that was totally unrelated to the anesthesia he was given. But, in the heat of cross-examination, their key expert blundered in his trial testimony, and the defense could not recover. In contrast, the team of experts assembled by the Eisen Law Firm offered knowledgeable opinions that were based in fact and science and were unshakable. A confidential settlement was reached before a verdict was rendered.
Rose K. was a 45 year old woman who presented to her local emergency department with side pain for a few days. She was evaluated by an emergency medicine physician who correctly determined that Rose had a large kidney stone. The physician, however, failed to appreciate the significance of a urinalysis that showed that in addition to the kidney stone, Rose had a significant urinary tract infection. Rose was sent home and told the stone would pass. No treatment was given for the infection.
Unfortunately, the infection got much worse, and Rose came back to the hospital, where she was properly diagnosed and treated. However, because of the delay, Rose had to have one of her legs amputated below the knee.
Rose hired a very qualified firm to represent her. The defendant physician and hospital, however, tried to overwhelm that firm with multiple expert witnesses in several medical fields. The firm reached out to The Eisen Law Firm for assistance. We jumped on board and immediately immersed ourselves in the case as it advanced to trial. Our arrival on the case leveled the playing field, and together the firms reached a significant settlement on behalf of Rose and her family.
Mr. D presented to the ER at his local hospital with all of the classic signs and symptoms of the flu. But, this wasn’t any regular flu season. This was the fall of 2009 and the country was in the midst of a swine flu epidemic. Indeed, the U.S. Health Dept. had been warning doctors and hospitals about the severity of this disease, and also providing guidelines for treatment.
Unfortunately for Mr. D, the ER physicians diagnosed him with an upper respiratory infection – i.e. a common cold – instead of the swine flu. As a result, the ER physicians failed to provide Mr. D with the appropriate prescriptions and treatment. Instead, they sent him home and told him to rest.
Mr. D came back to the ER two days later, but this time he was in terrible shape. He was admitted to the hospital and treatment was started immediately, but it was too little, too late. The disease already had spread throughout his body causing him to go into respiratory failure. The hospital staff was able to save him from dying, but not before he suffered a significant brain injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and unable to speak for the rest of his life.
The hospital and ER physicians defended the case rigorously, but eventually a confidential settlement was reached just a few days before trial.
Mrs. K went to the emergency department for an acute flare-up of diverticulitis and was admitted to the hospital for pain management. Overnight, she received several low doses of morphine, which helped control her pain. By the next morning, however, the same dosage of morphine was no longer providing pain relief. Instead of increasing the dosage, the nurse practitioner in charge of her care switched to a different medication called Dilaudid, which is seven times more potent than morphine. Unfortunately, the nurse did not make any orders to monitor Mrs. K for potential adverse effects of Dilaudid, such as respiratory depression.
When Mrs. K’s vital signs became abnormal – a sign of respiratory depression –the nursing staff failed to recognize this trend and notify the physician. Mrs. K eventually stopped breathing altogether, and her family yelled for help. A Code Blue was called, but it was too late. Mrs. K never regained consciousness and died the next day. Since no autopsy was performed, the hospital refused to admit that Mrs. K died of an opioid overdose.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit and retained top-notch experts. To avoid facing these experts – and The Eisen Law Firm – at trial, a confidential settlement was reached on the courthouse steps just a few days before trial.
Mrs. S was referred to an ENT surgeon to remove a benign tumor in her neck. The surgical plan involved the use of a monitoring device to help the ENT find – and avoid cutting – Mrs. S’s facial nerve. The device is simple: If the ENT touches the nerve with an instrument, an alarm sounds, warning him not to cut it.
When Mrs. S awoke from surgery, the right side of her face was paralyzed. The ENT recognized that he must have cut the facial nerve, but he couldn’t figure out how it happened since the alarm never sounded. Unfortunately, Mrs. S’s face was permanently paralyzed, and nobody could explain what happened. That’s when Mrs. S hired The Eisen Law Firm to investigate.
The Eisen Law Firm searched through the medical records and uncovered the truth buried in the fine print. According to the anesthesia chart, Mrs. S was given a drug during surgery that temporarily paralyzed her facial nerve, which fully explains why the alarm did not sound when the ENT stimulated and cut the nerve. The Eisen Law Firm made the analogy to the board game Operation: giving that drug was like removing the batteries from the game – the board won’t “buzz” no matter what the surgeon touches. The case was settled before trial for a confidential sum.
Mr. G went to the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms. He was given a single dose of a strong painkiller and, a few minutes later, a nurse found him unresponsive. A reversal agent was given, and he came around. He then was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation.
Later that evening, Mr. G was given another dose of the same medication – which caused the very same reaction. This time, however, the reversal agent was not given in time. As a result, Mr. G went into a coma and suffered irreversible brain damage and died a few days later.
The defense insisted nothing improper was done. The dose Mr. G received was small, and most people have no problem with this small dose. The Eisen Law Firm focused on Mr. G – not on “most people” – and argued that Mr. G’s unique reaction in the emergency department was more than enough to require that this “small” dose not be given to him again.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit against the hospital, and a confidential settlement was reached prior to trial.
Mrs. L was diagnosed with a “hernia.” That means a small portion of her stomach was protruding through her abdominal cavity and into her chest cavity, through an opening meant only for the esophagus. Her surgeon recommended a procedure to repair the hernia.
The surgery went well. Mrs. L’s recovery, however, did not go according to plan. Her blood pressure never recovered to its pre-operative baseline. Unfortunately, hospital personnel failed to recognize the trend. Three days after surgery, a nurse found Mrs. L unresponsive. A “Code Blue” was called, but it was too late to revive her.
Another reputable law firm took the case and had it reviewed by several experts, but they were unable to come up with a theory to hold the hospital accountable.
Mrs. L’s family then contacted The Eisen Law Firm for a second opinion. The Eisen Law Firm created a compelling timeline and presentation, showing how Mrs. L’s death was entirely preventable. The hospital was then persuaded to settle the matter – even before a lawsuit was filed – for a confidential sum.
For more than three years, Jane D. saw her primary care doctor for pain that began following a car accident. Jane’s doctor did little to get to the cause of Jane’s pain. Instead, he prescribed dangerous combinations of narcotic pain medications and benzodiazepines. And he did so in ever-increasing dosages, and in the face of clear evidence that Jane was a prescription medication addict. Ultimately, Jane overdosed and died. She left behind a suicide note.
Cases involving addiction and suicide are notoriously difficult to win. Jurors often figure that if someone wants to take their own life, they eventually will succeed, no matter what any doctor does or doesn’t do. And most attorneys don’t like to get involved in cases where the patient is an addict. But The Eisen Law Firm looked deeper into the circumstances and reached out to other attorneys who had been involved with this doctor. It turns out that the doctor involved was a “repeat player,” someone who either knew or should have known that Jane and several other of his patients were addicted, and that he was feeding these addictions rather than helping the addicts.
Jane should have been referred to an addiction specialist and treated as a patient with a disease, not strung along on prescription medication indefinitely. After obtaining a strong report from an addiction medicine expert, The Eisen Law Firm negotiated a pre-suit settlement with the physician’s employer.
Bruce D. suffered from a chronic condition that required him to make an annual trip to a hospital for a minor surgical procedure. Following one such procedure, Bruce was not recovering as well as usual. He required opioid medications, which can cause drowsiness and difficulty breathing.
When a nurse checked on Bruce shortly after he received the medications, she thought he looked a bit “sleepy,” and she attributed it to the meds. She was reassured that Bruce wasn’t having a breathing problem because his pulse oximeter showed that his blood was well oxygenated. When she returned 45 minutes later, however, Bruce had no pulse, wasn’t breathing, and had a “pulse ox” reading of zero. A “code blue” was called, and Bruce was resuscitated, but he died a few days later from the damage that was done to his brain, which had gone without oxygen for many minutes.
The hospital took the position that Bruce’s death was a mystery, and that Bruce’s family could not blame it for a mystery. It turns out, however, that Bruce died from the failure of hospital personnel to familiarize themselves with their own equipment. Bruce was being monitored by a machine that kept track of his heart rate and his pulse ox. When a doctor determined that he no longer needed to monitor Bruce’s heart rate, that component of the machine was turned off. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the nurses, when the heart rate monitor was turned off, the pulse ox alarm setting reverted to the “off” position. So, when Bruce’s pulse ox plummeted because he was having trouble breathing, the alarm never sounded and precious minutes were wasted.
When The Eisen Law Firm zeroed in on this aspect of the case, the hospital realized that the “mystery death” had been solved and agreed to a confidential settlement.
After obtaining a jury verdict of $2 million against Sam’s Club (a Wal-Mart subsidiary) for the wrongful death of a dockworker, The Eisen Law Firm filed a separate lawsuit against Wal-Mart for “spoliation of evidence” for withholding critical evidence prior to trial. The case eventually came before the Supreme Court of Ohio, where Attorney Brian N. Eisen argued that Wal-Mart should be punished for concealing evidence – even though Wal-Mart lost the trial. The Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Eisen that the rule in Ohio should be “cheaters never prosper,” even if their cheating doesn’t result in courtroom victory! After The Eisen Law Firm won in the Ohio Supreme Court, a confidential settlement was reached.
The Eisen Law Firm has used its experience in this case (Davis v. Wal-Mart) to file claims of spoliation of evidence whenever it discovers altered or concealed medical records in malpractice cases. The case now is routinely cited by other malpractice attorneys filing such claims.
Mr. S was admitted to the hospital for rehabilitative and physical therapy following surgery. While under the guidance of a Physical Therapist, he fell and hit his head on the floor. Fortunately, he did not suffer a significant injury. A few days later, Mr. S developed a blood clot in his arm and required Heparin treatment. Because of his recent fall, however, Mr. S was at increased risk of suffering a brain bleed from the Heparin treatment. Accordingly, the hospital staff was ordered to monitor him closely while he received Heparin.
When Mr. S developed a severe headache – a sign of a brain bleed – the Heparin should have been stopped immediately. Unfortunately, there was a delay of several hours, which caused a permanent brain injury and severe impairments and disabilities. As a result, Mr. S was confined to a wheelchair and had to move into a nursing home. Shortly after The Eisen Law Firm filed suit, a confidential, seven-figure settlement was reached.
Mrs. Z was scheduled for outpatient laparoscopic surgery. She was told to stop taking her blood-thinning medication the day before surgery. On the morning of surgery, however, she told the pre-op nurse that she had taken a dose that morning. The nurse documented this information in the chart, but she didn’t tell the surgeon, and the surgeon didn’t look at the chart before surgery and didn’t speak to Mrs. Z.
After surgery, Mrs. Z had low blood pressure and complained of abdominal pain. One explanation for these symptoms is internal bleeding. But since the surgeon didn’t know Mrs. Z took a blood thinner that morning, he never considered that explanation. By the time the surgeon finally intervened, it was too late — Mrs. Z bled to death in her hospital bed.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit, arguing that the surgery should have been cancelled due to the increased risk of bleeding. Instead of accepting responsibility, the surgeon blamed the nurse: “if he she had told me, I would’ve cancelled.” But The Eisen Law Firm was able to prove through expert testimony that it was the surgeon’s job to review his patient’s chart and, had he done his job, he would’ve known about the blood thinner and cancelled the surgery. A confidential settlement was reached soon thereafter.
Mrs. C had suffered a progressive loss of vision over a relatively short period of time. She went to see a neurosurgeon, who determined that her symptoms likely were the result of a tumor located above the pituitary gland at the base of her brain. The neurosurgeon recommended a complicated operation to remove the tumor.
During the operation, the neurosurgeon attempted to place a surgical instrument in an area near the tumor. The instrument became stuck to healthy tissue in Mrs. C’s brain and, when it was withdrawn, it damaged a blood vessel that supplied blood to the brain. As a result, Mrs. C lost a lot of blood during the operation, which ultimately led to a massive stroke. She never regained consciousness, and rapidly progressed to brain death after the operation.
The Eisen Law Firm retained one of the top neurosurgery experts in the country to review the medical records. According to the expert, the defendant-neurosurgeon used an approach that limited her visualization of the surgical field, which is what caused her surgical instrument to get stuck to healthy brain tissue. A confidential settlement was reached shortly before trial.
Mr. E saw an orthopedic surgeon for problems with his left hip. The surgeon recommended a total hip replacement. Mr. E’s family doctor was asked to provide “medical clearance” for the surgery, but his examination was brief and his conclusion was somewhat vague. Although Mr. E had suffered a heart attack several years earlier, an evaluation with a heart doctor prior to surgery was not ordered.
The hip replacement surgery went forward, and Mr. E suffered a devastating stroke just after surgery. Had a heart doctor examined Mr. E before surgery, it is likely that the surgery would have been cancelled, as it would have been discovered that Mr. E had a partially-blocked carotid artery. The artery easily could have been fixed before the hip surgery, and the stroke could have been avoided. A settlement was reached just prior to trial with the family doctor and hospital.
Doris Sawyer had a partially-blocked coronary artery. She underwent coronary angioplasty at a well-known Cleveland hospital. During the procedure a metal “stent” was placed into the artery to keep it open. Immediately after the procedure, Mrs. Sawyer complained of severe chest pain. Almost an hour passed before Mrs. Sawyer’s heart doctor arrived to evaluate her. By then it was too late: Mrs. Sawyer died from a hole in her coronary artery caused by the edge of the stent.
In the courtroom, Partner Brian N. Eisen focused on the minute-by-minute whereabouts of Mrs. Sawyer’s heart doctor both before and after Mrs. Sawyer’s operation. By doing so, Mr. Eisen was able to show that the doctor moved too fast from procedure to procedure, maximizing the number of procedures she performed per day, rather than patient safety.
The jury came back with a $1.75 million verdict against the heart doctor. A separate, confidential settlement was reached with the hospital for the role its nurses played in the delayed post-procedure evaluation.
Jessica R. was 28 weeks pregnant when she presented to a local hospital with severe abdominal pain. She was evaluated and diagnosed with pancreatitis, and she was admitted to an intensive care unit. Pancreatitis is known to cause premature labor, and Jessica began to complain of contractions in ICU. The ICU staff did not take her complaints seriously and attributed the pain to the pancreatitis. Nothing was done to slow or stop the labor. Ultimately, the baby was born and needed to be resuscitated.
Unfortunately, the adult ICU did not have the equipment necessary to resuscitate the baby. By the time the equipment arrived, the baby had suffered significant brain damaged. She lived for almost two months before succumbing to her injuries.
This case was handled jointly with another top-notch firm that requested The Eisen Law Firm’s assistance. Together, we achieved a settlement that included the implementation of new patient safety measures to ensure the hospital’s mistake would not be repeated.
Kevin was a young man with a history of significant medical problems. He was admitted to an Ohio hospital with gallstones. Following surgery to remove the stones, Kevin’s blood pressure began to drop. Hospital nurses continued to watch as Kevin’s condition worsened over the course of several hours. Kevin’s surgeon never came to see him after the surgery, and Kevin slowly died of internal bleeding.
Kevin was a young man from a very poor and very “rough” neighborhood. His surgeon was a prominent young surgeon from an affluent family. Although other firms had turned the case down, The Eisen Law Firm agreed to help, embracing rather than fearing the disparity in “social standing” of the people involved.
The Eisen Law Firm focused on the role of the nursing staff in failing to communicate with Kevin’s surgeon, rather than on any perceived shortcomings in the surgical technique. The Firm also focused on Kevin’s accomplishments in the context of his environment. Those accomplishments might have seemed meager to a prominent family from a prosperous neighborhood, but in Kevin’s world, his achievements were exceptional.
By changing the focus of the case, The Eisen Law Firm was able to negotiate a significant pre-trial settlement.
Following Mr. F’s back surgery, certain orders were given to prevent deep venous thrombosis (“DVT”) and pulmonary embolism (“PE”). Although the medical records suggested that the orders were followed, The Eisen Law Firm kept digging until it uncovered a flaw in the communication system between the medical floor nurses and the rehabilitation floor nurses that resulted in the key orders not being carried out. As a result, Mr. F did not receive blood thinners, which likely would have prevented the fatal pulmonary embolism.
Recognizing the flaw, the hospital settled the case.
Danny A. was 55 years old when he underwent a liver transplant due to damage caused by hepatitis B, a viral infection of the liver. A top-notch liver transplant team replaced his liver with a piece of liver from a living donor, who was one of Danny’s relatives. Unfortunately, the transplant team made a terrible mistake: they also used a cadaver blood vessel during the transplant procedure that was itself contaminated with hepatitis C, another virus that destroys the liver. As a result, Danny had to endure more than a year of intense medication administrations, which resulted in several side effects, including hair loss, pain, and fatigue. And in the end, despite these efforts, the hepatitis C could not be wiped out and began to injure the new liver.
The Eisen Law Firm was able to secure a confidential settlement that not only provided financially for a future, second liver transplant, but also included commitments from various key medical providers to continue to care for Danny as his conditioned worsened. In addition, the hospital enacted new policies to prevent a similar mistake in the future and to increase patient safety.
Mr. H was diagnosed at his local hospital with endocarditis, a potentially life-threatening condition in which a heart valve is infected with bacteria. Mr. H was then transferred to a more “sophisticated” hospital for surgery. Upon his arrival, physicians at the new hospital spent days repeating the same expensive tests that had been performed previously, only to reach the same conclusion.
The duplication in testing made the hospital a lot of money but cost Mr. H dearly. Due to the unnecessary delay, a piece of the infection (called a “bacterial embolus”) broke off and traveled to his brain, causing a stroke.
Ultimately, the hospital agreed to a settlement rather than face The Eisen Law Firm’s “profits over people” theme at trial.
Mr. N was pulling up to a four-way intersection in rural Ohio when he was t-boned by a truck driver who failed to stop at the stop sign. Mr. N, and his minor son who was in the passenger seat, both were severely injured and had to be life-flighted to the hospital. Mr. N required immediate surgery, and was left with permanent and substantial physical injuries to his left wrist and right hip.
As a result of his injuries, Mr. N was unable to return to work for more than a year. In addition, he was unable to continue his role as the sole care-provider for his daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy. This required him to hire an in-home nursing care service to provide around-the-clock care for his daughter. Prior to filing suit, the truck driver’s insurance company settled the case for a substantial sum.
Ultimately, the hospital agreed to a settlement rather than face The Eisen Law Firm’s “profits over people” theme at trial.
Mrs. B complained to her family doctor about pain in her hip. The family doctor referred her to an orthopedic specialist. The orthopedist ordered an x-ray of Mrs. B’s hip, which was read by a radiologist. The radiologist saw a “lesion” that he thought might be cancer, prepared a written report of his findings, and sent a copy of his report to the family doctor and the orthopedist. Unfortunately, neither the family doctor nor the orthopedist read the report, and no further testing was done to determine whether the “lesion” reported by the radiologist was cancerous.
By the time the cancer ultimately was diagnosed two years later, it was too late to remove the cancer without amputating Mrs. B’s entire leg, hip, and pelvis. After the amputation, Mrs. B was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
When Mrs. B filed suit, all of the physicians initially denied responsibility. After several months of litigation, however, each of the defendants decided to settle the matter for a confidential sum instead of going to trial.
Caroline was four years old when she fell off of her bed and broke her arm. Her mother took her to the hospital, where an orthopedic surgeon reset Caroline’s arm and put it in a cast. About a week later, Caroline’s mother noticed that Caroline wasn’t able to move her fingers. She made several calls to the surgeon’s office, and the surgeon’s nurse repeatedly assured her that everything would be fine.
But everything was not fine. Caroline’s ability to move her fingers never returned. After various neurological tests had been performed, the surgeon eventually diagnosed Caroline with “compartment syndrome,” a condition that can result when a cast is put on too tightly.
The Eisen Law Firm retained one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country to review Caroline’s medical records. He determined that the surgeon should have made the diagnosis of compartment syndrome much earlier. He also determined that an earlier diagnosis – and earlier treatment – would have resulted in a much better outcome for Caroline.
A confidential settlement was reached pre-suit.
One week after starting a new medication for his diabetes, Mr. P presented to his physician’s office complaining of upper abdominal pain radiating to his back. His physician diagnosed him with degenerative disk disease and prescribed pain medication. The physician never considered pancreatitis as a cause of the abdominal pain, and he didn’t order any tests to rule it out, despite the fact that abdominal pain is a cardinal sign of pancreatitis, and pancreatitis is listed as a potentially fatal side effect on the warning label of the medication.
A few days later, Mr. P’s abdominal pain severely worsened, and he was taken to the emergency department by ambulance. Appropriate laboratory tests and a CT of the abdomen were performed, and acute pancreatitis was correctly diagnosed. Mr. P was admitted to the hospital, but — despite aggressive treatment — his condition rapidly deteriorate
d, and he passed away. An autopsy was performed, confirming pancreatitis as the cause of death.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit on behalf of Mr. P’s wife and young children. The defendant-physician took the position that he did nothing wrong because Mr. P did not have pancreatitis when he presented to his office. Instead, according to the defendant-physician, Mr. P coincidentally developed pancreatitis later – not from the diabetes medication but from an unknown cause. The Eisen Law Firm retained a world-renowned expert on pancreatitis to counter that argument. After the expert witness testified at deposition, a confidential settlement was reached.
Jack was born with Down syndrome, a genetic condition which affects kids along a spectrum. Over the early years, Jack was a high-functioning child with Down syndrome; he was able to do very well, and was tracking very close to his milestones.
One night when Jack was five years old, he woke up crying. His parents rushed to his bedroom to find him shaking. They took him to the ER immediately. A CT scan of Jack’s brain was ordered, but the radiologist on call failed to see clear evidence of an acute ischemic stroke evolving over the right side of Jack’s brain. Because of the failure to properly interpret the CT, Jack did not receive the treatment that he needed.
By the time the physicians actually started treating Jack’s stroke, it was too late. He already had suffered extensive injuries, including the loss of proper use of his left arm, hand, fingers, leg, foot, and toes.
A confidential settlement was reached with the hospital and physicians prior to trial.
Mr. R had a remote history of blood clots in his legs and a serious neurodegenerative disease. After a flare-up of his neurodegenerative disease left him with reduced mobility, Mr. R was sent to a rehabilitation facility. While there, he received aggressive physical therapy but did not receive any anticoagulation medication to prevent the formation of blood clots. Mr. R was discharged from the facility, only to collapse within an hour at his home.
The coroner initially concluded that the cause of death was probable pulmonary embolism (“PE”). More than a year later, while the case was in full-blown litigation, the coroner changed the cause of death to one that was less incriminating for the defendant physician and hospital. The Eisen Law Firm then retained the world’s leading authority on forensic clinical diagnosis of pulmonary embolism to combat the coroner’s change of course. The case settled on the courthouse steps.
Mr. J was 79 years old when he presented to the emergency department at his local hospital after falling in his kitchen earlier that day. Mr. J was admitted to the hospital for further testing. One of those tests should have alerted hospital personnel that Mr. J had a significant breathing problem. Unfortunately, no one ever looked at the results.
The next day, Mr. J was found unresponsive in his bed. The medical records showed that no “code blue” was called for emergency resuscitation because it was too late. The Eisen Law Firm doubted that explanation and pressed witness after witness until it got stunning testimony: an inexperienced nurse admitted that she had tried to call a “code blue” using the hospital’s phone system but got a “busy signal.” She panicked and did not do anything further.
A confidential settlement was reached shortly thereafter.
Mr. K was a 66–year-old man who came to his local hospital after suffering a small stroke. Because of the stroke, Mr. K had difficulty swallowing and clearing his secretions. He was admitted to the intensive care unit (“ICU”) for monitoring and to receive specialized respiratory care.
A specialist in respiratory care prescribed various medications for Mr. K. Within minutes of the administration of one such medication, Mr. K stopped breathing and died. The nurse insisted that she gave precisely the amount of medication that had been ordered, though Mr. K’s death was consistent with an overdose.
At trial, The Eisen Law Firm used records from the hospital’s computerized drug distribution system to show that the nurse had withdrawn more of the medication than had been ordered. When confronted at trial, the nurse could not account for the discrepancy between the records and her story. The case was then settled in the middle of trial.
Marvin H. was a 45 year-old man who suffered from chronic pain in his mid-back. A neurosurgeon performed a procedure on him called a “thoracic laminectomy.” According to the medical records and the neurosurgeon’s testimony, everything went perfectly in the operation. The only problem is that Marvin woke up unable to move his legs. After being turned down by several attorneys in his home state (a southern coastal state), Marvin called The Eisen Law Firm.
The Eisen Law Firm accepted the case and ended up taking on three defense neurosurgeons, a neuroradiologist, and a neuroanesthetist, all from top-notch academic medical centers. Working closely with our own experts, we discovered that Marvin’s neurosurgeon used the wrong instrument in a critical part of the procedure and bruised Marvin’s spinal cord.
We also suspected that the description of the operation in the operative report was “too good to be true.” So, we sought to obtain operative reports from the surgeon’s other patients. This sparked a fight that went all the way up to the state supreme court. Once the highest court in the state rejected the surgeon’s appeal, we got the key documents. The case then was resolved, days before a three-week trial was set to begin.
C.J. was a five-year-old child who was admitted to his local hospital for abdominal surgery. Following surgery, an arterial catheter was placed in his axillary artery (near his armpit) in order to obtain frequent blood draws. That catheter eventually caused blood clots, which traveled to C.J.’s fingers. C.J.’s mom noticed that his fingers were changing colors. The hospital discounted her observation. C.J. ultimately had to have all of his fingers on one hand amputated. A settlement was reached with the physician who placed the catheter and with the hospital.
Evelyn P. was a 60-year-old woman with one adult child who died a few weeks after receiving dialysis at a dialysis center. The Eisen Law Firm was able to prove that the water used for dialysis was contaminated with bacteria that caused her death. A confidential settlement was reached with the various defendants and the entire water filtration system was re-designed in order to reduce the risk of future contamination.
Following a car accident, Willie D. was rushed to a Cleveland-area hospital, where he was operated on by a physician employed by ABC Hospital. During surgery to repair Willie D’s thoracic aorta (the main blood vessel carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body), a surgical trainee improperly inserted a catheter through the aorta. Willie D. lost the use of both arms. After a lengthy trial, a confidential settlement was reached during jury deliberations.
Herman S. was an active 77 year-old man, who fainted while running on a treadmill. He hit his head and suffered a small brain bleed. Because of this, his doctors decided to stop his blood thinning medication, Coumadin. A year later, Herman had chest pain and went to the hospital. Doctors determined that he had several small blood clots in his lungs. They decided to put him back on blood thinners and specifically noted that it was important to make sure that his blood did not become too thin (or “over-anticoagulated”). On the day he was discharged, the hospital did a lab test that showed that Herman’s blood was too thin. Unfortunately, no one paid attention to the result, and Herman was sent home. Predictably, he suffered a very large brain bleed, which resulted in a stroke and permanent impairment.
Armed with irrefutable proof from the medical records, The Eisen Law Firm negotiated a settlement that included damages for both the costs of future care and anticipatory damages for Herman’s future wrongful death.
Mr. G was a 31-year-old husband and father who died of a pulmonary embolism approximately one week after back surgery. Following his surgery, Mr. G experienced symptoms that should have alerted his doctors and nurses to the possibility that he had developed deep venous thrombosis, which leads to pulmonary embolism. Mr. G had many specialists evaluate him during his hospital stay, but no one coordinated his care and put together the information obtained by the different experts.
The Eisen Law Firm did what the doctors failed to do: it put together all of the pieces and showed that the failure of the hospital to make sure that someone was in charge of Mr. G’s care ultimately caused his death.
Once the pieces were put together, the hospital and several doctors paid a confidential settlement.
Mr. L was a classic set up for the development of deep venous thrombosis (“DVT”) and pulmonary embolism (“PE”). He was overweight, had just had back surgery, and was relatively immobile. Although measures were ordered to prevent DVT while he was hospitalized, those measures were not implemented properly, and symptoms of both DVT and PE were missed by hospital nurses. Mr. L died of a massive PE. A confidential settlement was reached with the hospital shortly after the lawsuit was filed.
Steve K. began to sweat and have chest pain on the first day of his job in the legal department of his local hospital. He was taken to the emergency department. No tests were done on Steve, and he was sent home. The Eisen Law Firm contended that no cardiac tests were done because of Steve’s young age (he was in his twenties). Hospital witnesses claimed that Steve refused an EKG. The Eisen Law Firm was able to demonstrate that the witnesses’ testimony was unreliable, and a confidential settlement was reached.
Ray H. was 67 years old when he presented to the emergency department at a hospital near his home. He had complaints of chest pain and was diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). He was given a powerful drug to dissolve clots in his coronary arteries. Ray’s condition deteriorated over the next day or so. By the time his caregivers realized that the clot-busters had failed and Ray needed surgery, it was too late. Had hospital personnel paid appropriate attention to Ray’s deteriorating condition, they could have prevented Ray’s death. A confidential settlement was reached with a physician and the hospital.
Sammie H. was a 65 year old woman with end-stage renal disease. She lived in a nursing home and required dialysis three times per week. One morning, a nurse at the nursing home noticed that Sammie was hypoglycemic (her blood sugar was too low). The nurse gave Sammie some glucose, which helped raise her blood sugar somewhat. Unfortunately, rather than continuing to keep a close eye on Sammie’s blood sugar level, the nurses simply continued to administer Sammie’s scheduled medications, which included medications that lower blood sugar. They administered these medications even though Sammie’s blood sugar level trended lower and lower. Eventually, they noticed Sammie was unresponsive. They essentially put Sammie into a diabetic coma, from which she never recovered.
The Eisen Law Firm went after not only the nursing home, but also one of Sammie’s physicians, who had prescribed one of the sugar-lowering medications. It turned out that the doctor thought he was prescribing one such drug but really was prescribing a more dangerous medication that started with the same letter. Both are anti-diabetic drugs but the one Sammie got is much more likely to cause a diabetic coma than the other. The case settled for a confidential amount just before trial was scheduled to begin.
Greg R. was 70 years old when he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It was a total shock to Greg because he previously had a suspicious mass in his lung biopsied and was told it wasn’t cancer. It turns out, however, that the doctor who did the biopsy was not able to obtain any tissue from the mass itself; instead, he only obtained tissue surrounding the mass. The pathology report was clear that the biopsy did not obtain the proper tissue. Greg’s pulmonologist, however, either failed to read the entire pathology report or failed to understand its significance. As a result, the tumor grew and the cancer spread to the point where it was no longer curable.
The Eisen Law Firm was consulted by an out of state law firm because we previously had obtained one of the largest lung cancer verdicts in Ohio. We assisted the out of state law firm with advice and counsel on state and local laws and procedures and helped shepherd the case through Ohio courts. Ultimately, the case resolved for a confidential amount.
Mrs. C was in her late 70s and had significant heart failure and other medical problems. She had a pacemaker that would stimulate her heart when it started to beat too slowly. Mrs. C’s primary care doctor was responsible for inspecting the pacemaker and keeping track of how often it fired and its remaining battery life. Unfortunately, her PCP didn’t really know how to check the pacemaker properly. He assumed that the battery would last a lot longer than Mrs. C. When the battery quit working too soon, Mrs. C’s heart was allowed to beat too slowly for too long, resulting in a stroke.
The defense didn’t think much of the case, primarily because Mrs. C was already so sick and had a relatively short life expectancy. Mr. Eisen took the case to a jury, which awarded $620,000, more than enough to take care of Mrs. C for the rest of her life.
The case took an unanticipated turn when the doctor’s insurance company refused to pay, citing a possible loophole in the doctor’s insurance policy. When the doctor then refused to sue his insurance company, Mr. Eisen went bulldog: he put a lien on the doctor’s ski chalet in New Hampshire, he set up a Sheriff’s sale for the doctor’s office furniture and equipment, and he attached the doctor’s accounts receivable from health insurance companies. Those aggressive moves forced the doctor to sue his malpractice insurance company, which eventually agreed to cover the verdict.
Sally and John were excited to start their family. After months of trying to conceive, Sally went on the fertility drug, Clomid. The Clomid worked, and Sally became pregnant. Sally’s prenatal records show an entirely normal pregnancy and prenatal course. She was due to deliver on September 30th.
In the early summer, Sally switched to a new obstetrician and continued to have an uneventful pregnancy. On her due date, she went to the doctor and was evaluated. But the baby had different plans and was not ready, so the doctor told Sally to come back on October 9th. She returned as instructed on the 9th — 41 weeks and 2 days into her pregnancy. But still, the baby was not ready; neither was Sally’s cervix. So, the doctor told her to come back on Oct 13th. Once again, Sally did as she was told and returned as instructed. She was now 41 weeks and 6 days into her pregnancy. She was told everything looked great, and that it was time to induce labor.
So, Sally went to the hospital where a resident performed an ultrasound. This ultrasound showed that the baby’s head was down (a good position for delivery). The resident also took Sally’s prenatal information, did a physical exam and a risk assessment, and wrote numerous orders for her, including an order for continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM).
Regrettably, the EFM was not started for about 2 hours. When it finally was, no fetal heart beat could be found. Sally was then required to undergo induction and labor, only to deliver a stillborn baby. Sally’s medical providers told her that “sometimes this just happens.” Sally wasn’t so sure.
Sally and John hired The Eisen Law Firm. The Eisen Law Firm filed a lawsuit alleging the defendant doctors and hospital were negligent in their care and treatment of Sally and her baby, and that their negligence caused the baby’s death. The Eisen Law Firm was able to show that Sally did not receive appropriate care late in her pregnancy. After she reached 41 weeks, greater care should have been taken to assure the baby’s health in the womb. In addition, certain tests should have been done to make sure it was safe to keep waiting. Had the appropriate tests been done, it is likely that a problem would have been discovered in time to get the baby delivered without any injury at all.
While it is true that “sometimes this just happens,” it is also true that sometimes very tragic things – including stillbirths — happen because health care providers do not perform their jobs properly.
The Eisen Law Firm negotiated a confidential settlement for Sally and John.
Mr. and Mrs. Stone were so excited to have their first child. Mrs. Stone had a routine pregnancy and routine medical care up until June 25th. On that day, at approximately 27.5 weeks into her pregnancy, Mrs. Stone began to feel abdominal pain.
Luckily, she had a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment that day. By the time she arrived at the doctor, it had been more than four hours since she had felt any fetal movement. She was seen by a nurse midwife first and then by her doctor.
Mrs. Stone was sent to the hospital because her pain was thought to have come from dehydration. For approximately five hours, the nurses at the hospital thought they were monitoring Mrs. Stone’s fetus with electronic fetal monitoring, and that the fetus was alive and well. However, in the late evening, nurses “lost” the fetal heart rate. Fetal death was diagnosed and then later confirmed by ultrasound.
It turns out that Mrs. Stone’s placenta had partially abrupted. This means that the placenta began to tear away from the wall of the uterus. This causes bleeding, and as the bleeding continues, the baby is deprived of blood and of oxygen.
The Eisen Law Firm was able to show that the nurses and doctors who were caring for Mrs. Stone failed to properly monitor the condition of the baby, resulting in the baby’s death. By carefully analyzing the fetal monitor printout, The Eisen Law Firm discovered that after Mrs. Stone returned from a trip to the bathroom and the fetal monitor was re-applied, the nurses and doctors made a critical mistake: they failed to realize that the monitor actually was capturing Mrs. Stone’s heart rate, doubling it, and displaying it as the baby’s heart rate. This is a well-known phenomenon, and the doctors and nurses should have recognized what was happening.
With proper monitoring, it would have become apparent that the baby’s condition was deteriorating due to the partial placental abruption, and there would have been time to deliver the baby by emergency Cesarean section.
Armed with a solid theory of the case, The Eisen Law Firm negotiated a confidential settlement on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Stone.
Anaya, a young, soon-to-be mother, was scheduled to be induced. Upon arrival at the hospital, an electronic fetal monitor was placed to monitor the baby’s heart rate and the progress of uterine contractions. The initial monitoring showed minimal variability, so the nursing staff implemented various interventions, including intravenous hydration and maternal repositioning.
The various interventions did not significantly improve the situation. Anaya’s obstetrician was called by the nursing staff approximately one hour after Anaya’s arrival to the hospital. The doctor, in turn, asked that the Certified Nurse Midwife be contacted. The midwife, who was not at the hospital, had the nurses place an internal fetal scalp electrode, which is a more sensitive device for the monitoring of fetal heart rate and fetal heart rate patterns. At the same time, the midwife headed to the hospital.
In the meantime, the nurses lost the fetal heart rate altogether. The external electronic fetal monitor showed no signs of fetal heart rate, and upon placement of the internal monitor, no heart rate could be located, either. At that point, the midwife advised the nurses that she was less than five minutes from arriving to the labor and delivery department. When the midwife arrived, she, too, was unable to locate a fetal heart rate, and she had the doctor rush to the hospital.
An operating room team was assembled for an emergency Cesarean section, which was begun as soon as the doctor arrived. Unfortunately, the baby was born pulseless and not breathing. Hospital personnel were unable to resuscitate the baby.
The Eisen Law Firm analyzed the case and was able to demonstrate that a series of medical errors occurred that resulted in the baby’s death. The initial decision for the doctor to refer the matter to the nurse midwife, and the midwife’s decision to accept the care of Anaya, were both bad decisions, as midwives cannot perform emergency surgery to deliver a baby. Additionally, there should have been someone at the hospital who could adequately care for Anaya and her unborn child; they should not have had to wait for both the doctor and the midwife to arrive at the hospital.
The Eisen Law Firm proved that medical negligence caused the death of Anaya’s baby. A confidential settlement was reached prior to trial.
Mrs. V died from a condition called thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (“TTP”). TTP is a blood disorder characterized by blood clots that form in small blood vessels in the body. The clots can limit oxygen-rich blood from reaching essential organs. If properly diagnosed in a timely manner, this condition is highly treatable; survival without significant complications is the norm (approximately 80%). In this case, the diagnosis was not made until one week after Mrs. V. presented to the hospital.
The Eisen Law Firm sued the hospital and eight doctors. During depositions, The Eisen Law Firm discovered that one of the named defendants — the hematologist consulting on Mrs.V’s case –, left town in the middle of her hospitalization. At the time of his departure, the hematologist’s diagnosis for Mrs. V. was idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (“ITP”), a condition that requires treatment that is altogether different from the treatment for TTP. When the doctor left town, he arranged for another hematologist to be “on call” for Mrs. V. Although Mrs. V’s condition deteriorated after the doctor’s departure, the covering hematologist did not learn of this deterioration until later, at which time the proper diagnosis of TTP was made. Unfortunately, the diagnosis came too late to save Mrs. V’s life.
The Eisen Law Firm was able to prove that Mrs. V’s death was caused be a delay in diagnosing her medical condition and was preventable. A confidential settlement was reached.
Mrs. T had a stomachache. But, unlike other stomachaches, this ache was so severe that Mrs. T went to the hospital. The ER doctor performed an initial assessment and determined that the most likely explanation for such extreme pain was a bowel obstruction. A bowel obstruction is a gastrointestinal condition in which food, fluids, and gas are prevented from moving through the intestines in a normal way. A bowel obstruction happens when something other than stool (if stool causes the blockage, then it is referred to as fecal impaction), like a tumor, scar tissue, inflammation, or twisting of the large or small intestine, causes an obstruction or a blockage.
With the bowel-obstruction diagnosis, Mrs. T was moved from the ER to a room in the hospital. However, the ER doctor failed to impress upon the attending physician who took over her care the seriousness and significance of Mrs. T’s condition. From there, things went from bad to worse.
While the attending physician documented that Mrs. T had signs of peritonitis (an inflammation of the membrane lining the abdominal wall and covering the abdominal organs), no treatment was provided. This inflammation is what caused the severe pain Mrs. T experienced. It was the reason she went to the ER in the first place. The doctor ignored the signs of peritonitis because Mrs.T did not “look sick” to him. The doctor also ignored the fact that Mrs. T’s blood pressure dropped significantly from the time she presented to the ER to the time she was admitted to the hospital.
Mrs. T paid the ultimate price for the physician’s inaction. She died from peritonitis two days after she arrived at the ER.
The Eisen Law Firm went after several physicians and the hospital, using to its advantage the medical adage, “the sun should never set on a bowel obstruction.” While there are exceptions to this rule, none of them applied to Mrs. T’s situation. She should have been operated on very shortly after her arrival to the hospital.
As The Eisen Law Firm was putting the finishing touches on its trial preparations, a seven-figure, confidential settlement was negotiated.
Dan G. was a 31-year-old husband and father who died of a pulmonary embolism approximately one week after back surgery. Following his surgery, Dan experienced transient symptoms that should have alerted his doctors and nurses to the possibility that he had developed blood clots in the deep veins of his legs (“deep venous thrombosis” or “DVT”). When clots in the deep veins of the legs are not treated, they can break off and travel through the veins to the right side of the heart. From there, the clots can be pumped into the lungs. A clot that is pumped into the lungs in this way is called a “pulmonary embolism.” If the clots are big enough, they can cause cardiac arrest and death.
Dan’s various doctors and nurses each charted a symptom or two of the developing problem. But no one put the pieces together. In fact, each of the defendants took the position in litigation that it was not his or her job to put the pieces together.
The Eisen Law Firm put together all the pieces of the diagnostic puzzle and pressed the position that either someone had to step up and take responsibility, or everyone would be held accountable.
Ultimately, The Eisen Law Firm’s position prevailed, and Dan’s family received a confidential, seven-figure settlement.
Joy had good prenatal care, she was at full term, and all signs pointed to a normal and healthy baby on the day she went to the hospital to deliver.
As is standard in deliveries, an electronic fetal monitor (EFM) was placed on Joy’s belly to measure her contractions and the baby’s heart rate. Initially, the fetal monitor indicated that everything was fine. But after several hours of labor, the fetal monitoring strips showed cause for concern. Specifically, the strips showed fetal heart rate decelerations with a slow return to baseline and an erratic uterine contraction pattern. Despite these ominous signs that the baby was struggling to survive in the uterus, the doctor negligently failed to take action. Among other things, the doctor should have placed an internal fetal monitor, which is more sensitive and can provide more accurate information about the baby’s status.
An hour after the internal monitors should have been used, the baby’s heart rate repeatedly and severely decelerated and was slow to return to baseline. This likely was due to hypoxia (not enough oxygen reaching the baby’s tissues). A Cesarean section should have been performed at this time, as it was evident that a natural delivery was not imminent, and the baby was in danger. The doctor, however, again failed to act.
More than an hour later, after several failed attempts at vacuum extraction, the baby was finally delivered vaginally. He had no detectable vital signs and was completely limp. Despite efforts to resuscitate him, he did not survive. Various tests, including an umbilical blood gas study and a fetal autopsy, demonstrated that the baby, whose given name was Joey, died due to intrapartum asphyxia. In other words, he did not get enough oxygen during labor and essentially suffocated to death.
In the immediate aftermath of Joey’s death, Joy’s doctor repeatedly promised to “get to the bottom” of why Joey died. But, that never happened. Instead, Joey’s parents intentionally and repeatedly were misled as to the cause of his death. In fact, the doctors tried to conceal and misrepresent the autopsy findings.
The Eisen Law Firm took the depositions of multiple doctors and nurses. Each party blamed the other party, but it was very clear that had the proper procedures been followed, baby Joey’s death would have been prevented. A confidential settlement ultimately was reached, and Joey’s parents finally knew the real story surrounding his death — that it was caused by medical negligence.
Tabitha C. was 45 years old and a very active and successful business woman. One day, she began to experience pain and stiffness in her right ankle. She saw her family practice physician, who did a thorough physical exam. He suspected that the circulation in Tabitha’s leg was compromised, and he sent her to the hospital for an outpatient test to confirm his suspicion.
Tabitha went for the test, called a “PVR” study. The results suggested a blockage in one of the arteries in her leg. The technician who performed the test sent her straight to the emergency department of the hospital for a more complete evaluation and for treatment.
At the hospital, Tabitha was evaluated by a resident in vascular surgery. The resident quickly determined that Tabitha had an arterial blockage and ordered treatment with a blood thinning medication. But before Tabitha could get the treatment, the resident’s boss — the attending vascular surgeon — arrived. He acted very full of himself and announced that in fact there was no vascular problem at all. Instead, he decided that Tabitha had a condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy or “RSD” (RSD is now called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or “CRPS”). Simply put, he concluded that Tabitha’s problem was a nerve problem rather than a circulation issue, even though the medical evidence did not support that conclusion. He was very proud of himself and made a point of showing off his diagnostic acumen to his resident.
Unfortunately, the vascular surgeon was wrong. Tabitha had an arterial blockage, just as everyone else suspected. And the blockage could have been corrected had treatment not been halted by the attending physician. By the time the correct diagnosis was made (or, really, made again), it was too late. Surgeons at a top-notch hospital tried to restore circulation in Tabitha’s leg but were unsuccessful, and Tabitha had to have the leg amputated below the knee.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit. Defense attorneys could not contain the physician’s arrogance. He testified that the surgeons who tried to restore circulation in Tabitha’s leg were at fault, and that if he had been allowed to operate, he would have saved the leg. His arrogance, however, made it impossible for his defense team to claim that by the time Tabitha presented to her doctor with arterial insufficiency, it was already too late to fix the problem. This is a type of “proximate causation” defense often employed by doctors to avoid responsibility for their mistakes.
Ultimately, a settlement was reached that included both a lump sum payment to Tabitha and periodic payments for the rest of her life.
Francine K. was in her early thirties when she felt a lump in her breast during a self-examination. She went to see her gynecologist, who noted that the lump was cystic, mobile, and non-tender. Rather than sending Francine for additional testing, the doctor told Francine that she probably just had fibrocystic breasts, and that she should return to the office in three months.
Three months later, Francine returned. The gynecologist did not even check her breasts at that appointment. But Francine wasn’t worried because the doctor had reassured her that the lump was nothing to worry about.
Almost a year later, Francine noticed that the lump was larger. Now, her gynecologist sent Francine for a mammogram. Unfortunately, Francine had breast cancer – invasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) which spread to her lymph nodes. She had to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy and the surgical removal of both breasts. Even with the treatment, the cancer returned.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit and retained top-notch experts in gynecology and oncology. The experts supported the claim that Francine should have been referred for further testing when she first reported the lump, and that such testing would have resulted in prompt diagnosis and cure.
After several months of litigation, a confidential settlement was reached for the full amount of the physician’s insurance coverage.
In the middle of winter, Jason Jones took his three children to the emergency department of his local hospital. The children were complaining of headaches, fever, nausea, and vomiting. The ER doctor examined the children. He asked Jason whether anyone else at home was ill. Jason advised the doctor that both he and his girlfriend had headaches. The doctor then examined Jason, too, before declaring that everyone must have a cold or the flu and sending them home.
The emergency doctor failed to consider the possibility of an environmental exposure. It turned out that they were all sick from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a blocked furnace flue. The kids and their father went home, fell asleep, and never woke up.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit on behalf of the remaining family members. The defense blamed the family for not having a working carbon monoxide detector. They also argued that Jason was never even a patient and therefore that the doctor did not owe a duty of reasonable care to him, as he had not registered at the ER, and no medical chart had been created for him. The Eisen Law Firm argued that everyone spoke to the ER doctor and related their symptoms. The fact that the doctor chose only to create a medical record of his interaction with the children was not their fault. Ultimately, The Eisen Law Firm prevailed, and a confidential, seven-figure settlement was reached.
Mark Mitchell was a successful businessman who had a routine surgery at an Ohio hospital. Although the surgery went well, Mr. Mitchell developed a post-operative infection. He was given very powerful antibiotics, including the medication vancomycin. Vancomycin is strong, but it can have very significant side effects. If it is prescribed, blood tests must be run periodically to make sure that dangerous levels of the drug are not building up in the body.
Unfortunately, proper testing was not ordered. As a result, although the infection was eradicated, Mr. Mitchell ended up with vancomycin ototoxicity (toxicity to the ear, auditory nerve, and vestibular system). In Mr. Mitchell’s case, the toxicity manifested in mild hearing loss and in permanent dizziness or vertigo. After extensive litigation, The Eisen Law Firm negotiated a confidential settlement.
Alejandro Ramirez was admitted to a trauma center after an automobile accident. There, it was discovered that Alejandro had a fracture in his skull that extended into his sinus cavity. After being discharged from the hospital, Alejandro started to complain of worsening headaches. Alejandro saw his pediatrician, who ordered a CT scan of his head. The radiologist who interpreted the CT read it as negative. Alejandro therefore was diagnosed with migraines.
Several days later, Alejandro became very ill. His mother rushed him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with meningitis, a potentially-lethal infection of the tissue surrounding the brain. Unfortunately, Alejandro did not survive this infection.
The Eisen Law Firm was called in to assist another firm in the lawsuit that was filed against Alejandro’s pediatrician and the radiologist who read the CT scan. After having the CT scan read by an outside expert, The Eisen Law Firm learned that the CT scan was not “negative.” In fact, it showed a likely infection in Alejandro’s sinuses. It also turned out that the radiologist and the pediatrician both knew of this possible infection and did nothing about it.
The Eisen Law Firm took the position that because of Alejandro’s skull fracture, the bacteria in his sinus had a pathway to travel right to the brain. Therefore, it was critical for the pediatrician to treat Alejandro with antibiotics before the infection travelled to his brain.
The defense claimed that the infection that led to Alejandro’s death was not related to the infection suggested on the CT scan. They also claimed that autopsy did not find any evidence of a “pathway” from the sinus to the brain. At deposition, however, the pathologist had to admit that she never looked at the fracture line because no one told her that there was an old fracture. The Eisen Law Firm then alleged that the two doctors conspired to deprive the pathologist of information needed to properly carry out her duties. It was a novel theory, and it ultimately triggered a change in attitude by the defense that led to a seven-figure settlement.
Kenny Tripp was admitted to his local hospital with chest pain. The admitting physician was Dr. Morey, M.D., Mr. Tripp’s cardiologist of many years. Dr. Morey performed a coronary angioplasty on Mr. Tripp later that day. The procedure was successful, and Mr. Tripp was sent home two days later.
As part of Dr. Morey's workup of Mr. Tripp during his hospitalization, Dr. Morey ordered a chest x-ray. The radiologist who interpreted the x-ray noted a "nodule" in Mr. Tripp's right lung that “might represent a calcified granuloma." Twice the radiologist recommended in her written report a comparison with Mr. Tripp's prior chest x-rays. The purpose of such a comparison would have been to see whether the nodule was present on prior films. If it was not, the nodule would have to be presumed to represent lung cancer, rather than a benign granuloma.
No comparison was ever performed or attempted, either by Dr. Morey or by anyone else, and Mr. Tripp was never told that his chest x-ray showed any abnormality. Had Dr. Morey obtained the prior films or even reports of those prior films, he would have discovered that there was no prior evidence of a lung mass, and he would have been obligated to explore whether this new mass was cancer.
Eighteen months later, Mr. Tripp had another chest x-ray. Once again, the ordering physician was Dr. Morey. This time the radiologist noted that the mass in Mr. Tripp's lung had increased in size and was "consistent with bronchogenic cancer." Sure enough, further tests determined that Mr. Tripp had adenocarcinoma, a form of lung cancer.
The year-and-a-half delay in diagnosis cost Mr. Tripp his life. After three months of palliative radiation treatments, Kenny Tripp died from complications of lung cancer. He was 58 years old.
The Eisen Law Firm filed suit against Dr. Morey, against the radiologist, and against the hospital where the x-rays were done. After extensive litigation, a settlement was reached with one of the two doctors. The case was then fully prepared for trial. Just a few days before trial, the remaining defendants increased their settlement offers, and the case was settled. The total settlement was exceeded $1 million.
Vincent Kenne presented to the emergency room of his local hospital complaining of chest pain. He was examined by a physician in the emergency department and admitted to the hospital's Coronary Intensive Care Unit under the care of a cardiologist. The cardiologist, however, did not see Mr. Keene until 18 hours later. By that time, the chest pain had subsided. After running a few tests, the cardiologist concluded that the chest pain was probably musculoskeletal and ordered Mr. Keene to be discharged.
After that order was entered into the hospital's computer system but before Mr. Kenne physically left the hospital, the chest pain returned. The resident physician, acting under the cardiologist, was advised of the recurrence of pain. She told Mr. Kenne to take Tylenol or Advil. Mr. Kenne then left the hospital and headed home. A few hours later, he was dead. He died of an aortic dissection that could have been treated had it been diagnosed properly.
Mrs. Kenne filed a lawsuit against the hospital, who employed the resident physician and against both the resident and the cardiologist. When their depositions were taken by Attorney Eisen, the two doctors could not agree on whether the resident advised the cardiologist that Mr. Kenne’s chest pain had returned.
The defense’s case centered on trying to tear down Mr. Kenne, pointing out his history of alcoholism, smoking, and drug use, as though Mr. Kenne’s addictions excused their sloppy medical care. Attorney Eisen did not try to downplay Mr. Kenne’s vices, but he repeatedly called out the defense’s tactic for what it was – a cowardly personal attack designed to take attention away from their mistakes. He also focused on a theme that has been a key part of many cases handled by The Eisen Law Firm: the time between an order for discharge and the patient’s actual departure from the hospital. In several cases handled by The Eisen Law Firm over the years, symptoms that emerge or re-emerge in this interval are ignored and significant injury occurs. Unfortunately, once an order is given to discharge a patient, it is like a rolling freight train – it is very difficult to stop. Hospital personnel must pay close attention to any complaints or changes in a patient’s condition during this vulnerable time.
Ultimately, the parties reached a confidential settlement.
Larry Gall was 63 years old when he underwent angioplasty of his right coronary artery. Three stents were placed in his artery during a single procedure. Larry was transferred to the recovery area in apparently good condition. Shortly after his arrival in the recovery area, however, Larry began to complain of chest pain. An EKG demonstrated abnormal ST segment elevation. This abnormal finding should have alerted medical personnel that something was wrong with Larry’s right coronary artery. The most likely explanations for the EKG abnormality and the chest pain were coronary artery spasm or acute occlusion (or closure) of one or more of the recently-placed stents.
Larry should have been given nitroglycerin promptly, as that drug can assist medical personnel in determining whether the problem is spasm, which can be stopped with nitroglycerin, or occlusion, which requires a return trip to the catheterization laboratory for further invasive procedures. Larry was not given nitroglycerin, and his return trip to the cath. lab was delayed significantly. By the time he was “taken back,” Larry’s heart had gone into a very dangerous rhythm (ventricular fibrillation), which required the immediate delivery of shocks to Larry’s heart and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Unfortunately, efforts to resuscitate him and to re-open his occluded right coronary artery failed, and Larry died in the cath. lab.
After suit was filed, the defense took a surprising position. They claimed that during the angioplasty procedure, a microscopic tear was made in the artery wall, which could not have been seen by the cardiologist, but which could explain Larry’s subsequent deterioration. According to the defense, once this process started, nothing could have been done to prevent Larry’s death. Attorney Brian Eisen hired several experts that refuted that theory with medical literature and scientific evidence. Just a few days before trial, the defense withdrew its theory, and a confidential settlement was reached.