Case Study: Medical Malpractice

Medical professionals save lives daily. However, at times, negligence can cause harm leading to unnecessary health complications or death. In these unfortunate cases, it takes an expansive knowledge of how malpractice works to achieve justice.

A 7-year-old boy was experiencing headaches and vomiting every morning when he woke up. During his illness, the boy’s parents took him to his pediatrician three times over an eight-month period, and later to a specialist. Even after all these visits, the parents received no clear diagnosis. Finally, the boy was taken to an optometrist who instantly recognized that he had pressure building inside his head. As a result, the boy’s parents rushed him to the emergency room, where an MRI revealed a brain tumor. Thankfully, the tumor was able to be successfully removed, but the tumor pressed on the boy’s optic nerves for an extended period of time, resulting in permanent loss of vision.

Why This Case Matters

After removing the tumor, the parents learned that if the correct diagnosis had come sooner, their son’s vision would not have been affected at all. Rightfully upset and frustrated with the reality of their son’s vision loss, the parents contacted us to help secure the financial resources necessary to give their son the best opportunity for a productive, meaningful, and happy life. The parents were also determined to make sure that the doctors were held accountable for their errors, so future patients would not experience what their son had.

How We Built
A Winning Case

01 Investigate

To understand how the doctors missed the diagnosis, we identified a foremost medical authority on brain tumors in children, who helped us understand and identify the symptoms of typical brain tumors. After reviewing the young boy’s medical records with a team of expert physicians to see if his doctors were made aware of any of those typical symptoms, we discovered that our clients had communicated the appropriate “red flags” to the doctors, who failed to identify them as indications of a possible tumor.

02 Analyze

In their treatment of the boy, we determined the doctors simply assumed he had one of the most common illness that his symptoms suggested, not bothering to order further tests that would rule out more serious conditions. At this point in our case, we consulted with a neuro-ophthalmologist to precisely identify the extent of the boy’s vision loss. The neuro-ophthalmologist determined that our client had no visual acuity his left eye and was 20/400 in his “good” eye—leading to the young boy devastating conclusion that he was “legally blind.”

03 Synthesize

As part of our case strategy, we had a medical illustrator create an exact model of the boy’s brain to effectively communicate how the tumor pushed on his optic nerve. We also needed to demonstrate to the jury the significance of the child’s profound vision loss. With a team of computer specialists and a neuro-ophthalmologist, we were able to create virtual reality glasses which accurately portrayed the child’s vision loss. A juror could see a standard view of Yankee Stadium, followed by a virtual reality view of the limited area that mimics the young boy’s sight.

The Result

After building a case that would prove the doctors were negligent, a significant financial settlement was awarded on behalf of the child.

The settlement took into account all that would be necessary for the child to have a complete education, while offsetting any potential loss of earnings that he will experience because of his visual impairment. Our client will have the resources to undergo any treatments to repair his optic nerves, if they are developed as medical science advances. While the monetary recovery cannot bring back the boy’s vision, he and his parents have the peace of mind knowing he has the resources to help him overcome challenges and lead a fulfilling life.

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