Category Archives: Medical Malpractice

Death by Drunkenness

Back in July 2012, Bryan Lee Glenn’s family filed suit against IP Casino Resort and Spa in Mississippi for $75 million for continuously serving drinks that caused his death.

Glenn had picked up a check for $15,000 in 2009 for a deposit on the family’s new living space. Nonetheless, Glenn began betting up to $1,000 a hand on blackjack and ordering two drinks at a time — whiskey and cola and shots of tequila. The suit says a dealer, pit boss, waitress and security guard were among those who refused to intervene after Glenn was falling down drunk and his family begged the casino to stop serving him.

His family had to leave to take another family member home, but returned to the casino to find Glenn collapsed in their hotel room. Glenn’s friend tried to revive him for 25 minutes using CPR and continued to do so even after the casino medic arrived because the doctor lacked a “mouthpiece.” 20 minutes following that, an ambulance crew arrived, but too late as Glenn died on the scene.

Children’s Motrin Suit Ends with $63 Million Payout

Samantha Reckis was 7 years old when she took Children’s Motrin with ibuprofen and suffered through blindness, temporary short-term memory loss, 20% lung capacity, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, a rare but severe side effect that caused the loss of 90% of her skin.

Now at 16, Reckis has been granted $63 million against Johnson & Johnson for the lack of warning on the labels. She had taken Motrin before the incident with little reaction, but on November 23rd, following a fever, symptoms started showing.

Johnson & Johnson debated the claims, alleging that Motrin is “labeled appropriately” and when used as directed is “a safe and effective treatment option for minor aches and pains and fever.”

New Trial Issued After Expert Surgical Witness

The Supreme Court in Connecticut ordered a new trial in a medical malpractice case because Dr. Todd Albert, an orthopedic surgeon and expert surgical witness, told the jury that suits of this kind drive up health care costs by forcing doctors to practice defensive medicine.  Albert testified that the boy’s surgeon complied with accepted medical standards.  Furthermore, Albert stated that malpractice suits are the reason that many doctors in Connecticut cannot receive malpractice insurance.  This decision allows a boy and his mother another change to argue before a jury their case.

The boy was forced to endure repeated spinal surgeries and may have future back problems because his surgeon failed to obtain timely X-ray photos prior to his operation to remove a benign, spinal tumor.  Additionally, the surgeon burst the tumor during surgery, causing the growth to seed itself elsewhere that could have created debilitating spinal pressure.  He had to undergo two corrective operations and his back is now enforced with metal rods.  This surgery occurred in 2001 when the boy was 11.

Largest Jury Verdict Awarded for Paralyzed Mother

Five years ago, Kristin Myatt walked into the hospital with an extreme headache.  Additionally, she had dangerously high blood pressure; however, Jeffrey Updegraff, the doctor, simply gave her pain medication for a migraine and discharged her.  He did not run any further tests or do any further due diligence.  Unfortunately, she was actually experiencing a small bleed in her brain.  This could have been easily detected had the doctor performed a CT scan.  As a result of his negligence, she was paralyzed on her right side.  This mother’s life was now turned upside down as she could no longer experience a normal life or provide for her children.

Interestingly though, Updegraff did not want to go to trial, rather he urged his insurance provider, COPIC Insurance, to pay Myatt the policy limit of $1 million.  Regardless, COPIC forced him to go to trial.  Five years later, COPIC is now forced to pay $3.9 million, much more than the policy limits.  This is the largest jury verdict ever made in Larimer County, CO.  This should provide some support to the injured and her family, but will never make up for the loss of her mobility and normal life.

Medical Malpractice Liability Extended

Recently, an appeals court in Utah extended medical malpractice liability of healthcare providers to the patient’s family, not just to the patient.  This case involved a murder where the husband, under medication, shot his wife.  The children sued the healthcare provider after their dad stated he would not have acted that way if he was not under the influence of medication.  While the defendants claimed the children cannot be party to the case, the court declared there is liability when their negligent prescriptions cause physical injury to nonpatients.

This decision will most likely be appealed and sent to the Supreme Court in Utah; nonetheless, this is an industry changing decision.  If the Supreme Court upholds the appellate court’s decision, insurance providers will now have to be more cautious about treating patients since their liability would now extend further.