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The verdicts and settlements that are mentioned below are a small sample of our firm’s successes. These settlements and verdicts should not be used for comparison to your case or to any other case. Every case must be evaluated on its own merits and nothing in this website should be construed as a representation or suggestion that your case will produce a settlement or verdict in any amount or that your case will produce the type of success that our firm has achieved in other reported cases. Although we have had some of the largest settlements and verdicts in the area we do not like to associate the amounts with the case. Our clients mean more to us than a number. If you have any questions about the information on this page or about a medical malpractice case please contact our medical malpractice attorneys today at 412-261-2620 for a free consultation.
We represented a young woman who was diligent in getting annual pap smears through her gynecologist’s office. Over the course of several years, the technicians and pathologists of a major diagnostics company who were viewing the pap smears failed to detect changes that would have signaled the development of cervical cancer. Because of the number of years the cancer went undetected, it was diagnosed in an advanced stage. This young woman, who had always wanted to have children, required a total hysterectomy, along with chemotherapy and radiation to treat the cancer. We filed a lawsuit against the company who was responsible for reviewing the pap smears and settled the case in excess of $4 million dollars.
A healthy and vibrant 40 year old woman presented to an emergency room with complaints consistent with a kidney stone. When a kidney stone was discovered on ultrasound, she was admitted under the care of a surgeon in the hospital. Because of the nurses’ failure to recognize signs and symptoms of sepsis and the attending physician’s neglect, this woman developed a life threatening infection, became septic and died. A lawsuit was filed against the admitting physician and the hospital. A wrongful death and survival action was filed against the physician and hospital. Just prior to trial, a multi-million dollar settlement was reached.
UPMC McKeesport Responsible for Medication Error: We represented a woman who was admitted to the hospital for hyponatremia, or low sodium. It is well known in medicine that to correct low sodium, saline solution must be administered, but it must be administered slowly to prevent serious and irreversible brain damage called central pontine myelinolysis (CPM). Unfortunately, because of the default setting in the hospital’s medication administration computer system, a dangerous dose and rate of sodium was ordered and given to the patient. This error in the electronic medical record caused irreversible brain damage, rendering our client disabled and unable to care for herself. The case was filed against several doctors and UPMC. The case went to trial and a verdict of $5.125 million dollars was obtained.
We represented a toddler who was suffering from a common medical condition called a febrile seizure (a seizure triggered by a high fever). When she was taken to the emergency room, the doctor gave her a medication to treat the seizure. One of the known side effects of the medication is a decreased breathing rate and decreased oxygen saturation. After the doctor gave a second dose of the medication, the toddler developed breathing problems. The doctor recognized the need to emergently intubate her but a successful intubation was delayed because the doctor was unable to get the endotracheal tube in proper position. As a result, the toddler was deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time, suffering extensive and permanent brain damage. A lawsuit was filed against the emergency room doctor, the emergency room practice group and the hospital. The case resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement during the trial.
A young man who had recently had knee surgery presented to his primary care physician and the hospital with complaints consistent with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot. The treating physician and emergency room failed to take into account this gentlemen’s recent knee surgery which would have placed him at risk for a DVT. Instead of correctly working up a differential diagnosis that would include DVT, the primary care physician and hospital attributed the patient’s complaints to anxiety. Unfortunately, the young man’s blood clot in his calf broke off and travelled to his lungs, resulting in his death. A lawsuit was filed against the responsible physicians and the hospital. The case went to trial and a 7 figure verdict was obtained for the young man’s widow.
A middle-aged father of three presented to an urgent care facility on three separate occasions, complaining of symptoms that should have raised a red flag for a potential cardiac or respiratory emergency. However, with each visit, the physician assistant and physician who treated this man spent very little time with him and instead of properly working up a differential diagnosis to include a cardiac or respiratory emergency, each time the urgent care center determined that the patient had bronchitis, despite the medications prescribed not improving his symptoms. Within 24 hours of his last visit to this urgent care facility, the man died from undiagnosed congestive heart failure. A lawsuit was filed against the urgent care center and a multi-million dollar settlement was obtained prior to trial.
A first time mother went to the hospital in labor. After having a completely normal pregnancy and anticipating the birth of a healthy baby boy, the young mother’s son was born with severe brain damage. It was determined that the nurses and delivering obstetrician failed to properly monitor the baby’s fetal heart rate during labor that clearly indicated the need for an emergency c-section. The warning signs were not noticed and not acted upon quickly enough when they were discovered, causing severe and permanent brain damage. Suit was filed on behalf of the parents and baby and a multi-million dollar settlement was obtained well in advance of trial.
A 67 year old woman went to see a physician for mild neck pain. An MRI was done and the patient was told that she had mild degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis in her neck and that a single epidural injection into her neck would relieve her pain. The only risk disclosed by the doctor was the risk of infection. When the patient presented to the office for the purpose of having the injection, unbeknownst to her, the doctor performed not one but two injections into her neck. Shockingly, the amount of time he took to do two injections was less than you would expect a physician to perform a single injection. Within minutes of the injections, the patient developed numbness and paralysis of her upper and lower extremities. She became a permanent quadriplegic. A lawsuit was filed against the physician, his practice group and the hospital where the injections were performed. We obtained a multi-million dollar settlement prior to trial.
A middle age woman fell and thought she may have broken a rib. She obtained a chest x-ray that was interpreted as normal. However, the radiologist who reviewed the chest x-ray failed to notice a lesion or mass in her lung. Almost two years after this lesion appeared on x-ray, the woman began to experience a cough and other symptoms that were consistent with bronchitis or pneumonia. Her primary care physician ordered a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and it was discovered that the small lesion that was visible earlier, had grown to a large tumor. Due to the delay in diagnosing the lung cancer, the cancer metastasized or spread to her brain. This woman had extensive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in an attempt to beat the cancer but unfortunately, she died. The case went to mediation and resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement.
A gentlemen went to see his primary care physician because he was feeling tired and weak. The physician ordered blood work and it was determined that the patient was suffering from anemia (blood loss). Instead of trying to determine the cause of the anemia, the physician prescribed a medication to boost the patient’s iron. Because the physician did not consider colon cancer or any other type of cancer that would explain the anemia nor did he order any tests to rule it out, the patient’s colon cancer wasn’t discovered for almost two years. A lawsuit was filed against the primary care physician and his practice group and resulted in a substantial settlement prior to trial.
A Lawrence County woman with complaints of shoulder pain went to a doctor who represented himself to be a pain anesthesiologist. He recommended that she have a cervical steroid injection. At the time of injection, he actually did two injections. The result was permanent quadriplegia or the inability to move her arms or legs. The case settled for an amount that allows her to live in her own home which was modified to accommodate her needs.
In a case filed in Allegheny County, a 42 year old woman was prescribed coumadin, a blood thinner, following back surgery at a local hospital. Her blood levels, called an INR, were appropriately monitored. The physicians failed to discontinue her coumadin when it was clear that her coumadin dose was too high. As a result, she developed a bleed into her spinal cord at the site of her surgery. Because of the bleed, she is a permanent paraplegic. The case settled and the client was able to build a fully handicapped accessible home and she is now able to receive the medical and rehabilitation care that she needs for the remainder of her life.
A 9 month old baby suffered burns on his abdomen and arms. After weeks in the hospital he was scheduled to be discharged home for Christmas. His health care providers failed to monitor his electrolytes. He died in the hospital of dehydration. The case settled before trial in Allegheny County.
A 60 year old woman had new onset vaginal bleeding. She went to her doctors who ordered an abdominal CT scan. The abdominal CT scan showed a pelvic mass. She was not informed of the results nor directed to get further testing. Two years later the bleeding returned and she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Because of the delay in diagnosis her cancer had spread and was no longer curable. The case settled during trial in Allegheny County.
For more information about Richards & Richards, please visit our Attorney Biographies.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers of Richards & Richards, LLP, offer free, no-obligation initial consultations in a range of cases, including those involving medical malpractice, wrongful death and related wrong diagnosis and medical negligence issues. Please contact our medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible. If you cannot make it to our Pittsburgh, PA offices, our attorneys can meet with you at your home or hospital.