Legal Summaries

Medical Malpractice

Parents of G.P. vs. Dr. W. and Dr. L.

G.P. was three years old when he presented to a New Mexico hospital with a history of an injury to his right eye caused by broken glass. His father was unemployed and the child was on Medicaid. G.P. was initially seen by a family doctor who noted a corneal laceration about one third of the way across G.P.’s eye. Dr. W. requested consultation from Dr. L. who suggested that it would be best to transfer G.P. to a facility in Albuquerque. It was ordered that G.P. be given Tylenol with Codeine for pain. The parents were told to put G.P. in their family vehicle and drive to Albuquerque. They were not informed regarding the seriousness of the situation or the catastrophic consequences if G.P. were to vomit. G.P.’s father was frantic and drove over 100 mph to get to Albuquerque as soon as possible. In route, G.P. became nauseated and vomited on the side of the road. Because the child had been given Tylenol with Codeine, he was at a significantly increased risk for vomiting. Vomiting causes the pressure in the eye to increase. Because of the laceration in his eye, G.P. essentially lost the contents of his eye when he vomited, leaving it on the side of the interstate. By the time he arrived in Albuquerque, the eye could not be saved and he was left blind in that eye. A lawsuit was filed against Dr. W. and Dr. L. for their failure to follow hospital protocol, violation of federal law by refusing to treat G.P. due to his inability to pay, inadequate examination, inappropriate treatment and for not properly transporting G.P. by ground or air ambulance. The case was settled out of court.

T.S. vs. Dr. W.

T.S. presented to Dr. W. for a full-face chemical peel. T.S. was severely burned during the course of the procedure resulting in permanent scarring and disfigurement, and problems with both eyes. A claim was made against Dr. W for poor patient selection, inadequate chemical preparation for the procedure, negligent mixing of the chemical solution, negligent application of the chemicals and negligence with respect to his post-procedure care of the patient. The case was settled.

D.B. and D.B. vs. Dr. R., DDS

Mr. B. and Mrs. B. (husband and wife) went to see Dr. R. As for the husband, Dr. R. recommended significant dental treatment including six implants, a four-tooth bridge on the upper teeth, a five-tooth bridge on the lower teeth, and six crowns. Mr. B. developed a serious and life-threatening infection as a result of Dr. R.’s treatment, and he ultimately developed a severe infection of the jawbone and a six week stay in the hospital. Mr. B. incurred approximately $180,000.00 in medical expenses as a result of Dr. R.’s negligence. Mrs. B. also saw Dr. R. who recommended 11 crowns, a root canal and a bridge in the upper mouth. The work performed by Dr. R. was substandard causing significant problems for the patient and treatment by another dentist who had to try to fix the problems. Mrs. B. incurred approximately $56,000.00 in expenses as a result of Dr. R.’s negligence. Mr. Chase was suspicious that Dr. R.’s medical records had been altered. Consequently, Mr. Chase had the original records evaluated by a forensic document examiner in Arizona who confirmed that the records had, in fact, been altered. The claims of both Mr. B. and Mrs. B. were settled.

F.M. vs. Dr. M.

F.M. was 74 years old when she developed gallbladder disease. Dr. M. recommended laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder through very small incisions). Surgery was going as expected until Dr. M. cut what he thought was the cystic duct when, in reality, he had cut a major artery which produced significant bleeding in the operative field. The patient was ultimately transferred to Albuquerque where it was determined that Dr. M. had cut a major artery and had injured the bile duct into locations. Mrs. M. was near death but managed to survive. A lawsuit was filed against Dr. M. in which it was claimed that he had not properly identified the anatomy, had not thoroughly dissected fat from the important structures, transected structures that should never have been injured, and failed to convert a laparoscopic procedure to an open surgery when indicated. After a six-day trial, the jury found in favor of the patient and against the surgeon.

Mother of A.K. vs. Albuquerque hospital

A.K. was 18 years old when he developed severe stomach pain and was taken to the hospital by his mother. A.K. had just turned 18 and had lost his Medicaid eligibility. It was our contention that the hospital refused to even evaluate him because of his inability to pay. His mother took him back to the hospital the next day and was insistent that he be seen. A.K. was evaluated by a certified family nurse practitioner who performed a cursory examination, ordered no tests or x-rays, diagnosed him with gastritis and sent him home. Thirty-six hours later A.K. died on the floor of his mother’s living room as a result of a perforated appendix and overwhelming infection. A lawsuit was filed against the hospital for its failure to follow its own policies and procedures, failure to follow federal law, failing to provide a medical screening examination because of A.K.’s inability to pay, the nurse’s failure to obtain an adequate history, the nurse’s failure to conduct an adequate physical exam, the nurses failure to order tests and x-rays, failing to eliminate even though it was on her list of possible diagnoses, and misdiagnosing A.K. with the flu. The case was settled.

M.B. vs. Dr. R.

M.B. was a breast cancer survivor, having been diagnosed and treated in 2001. She was both anxious and excited as she approached the fifth year after her diagnosis. While five-year survival is not a guaranteed cure, it is considered to be a good sign. As part of her five-year evaluation, Dr. R. ordered a MRI of the left breast (her right breast had been surgically removed in 2001). Unfortunately, the MRI identified a suspicious lesion in the left breast requiring further evaluation. The results of the MRI were reported to Dr. R. by phone. When M.B. returned to Dr. R., she was told by Dr. R. that the MRI was normal and showed no abnormalities. M.B. was ecstatic and took a trip with her husband to celebrate her five-year survival. Eight months later, M.B. felt discomfort in her left breast and was instructed to undergo a mammogram. While getting her mammogram, she asked for a copy of the March 2006 MRI and was devastated to learn for the first time that the MRI had identified a suspicious lesion. An immediate biopsy was positive for cancer. Mr. Chase found Dr. R.’s medical records to be suspect, and asked Dr. R. to agree to have a computer forensic expert evaluate the patient’s computer-generated records. Dr. R. refused so Mr. Chase went to Court and obtained an order from the Judge allowing a forensic evaluation of the records. As it turned out, Dr. R had two sets of records pertaining to M.B. the original set was not helpful to Dr. R. The second and “clean” set of records made it appear that Dr. R. had done everything properly. In truth, Dr. R. had not acted appropriately in the face of a suspicious MRI and then came up with a second set of records that he thought would allow him to defend himself. The case was settled.


Trucking Accident

J.C. vs. Trucking company

J.C. was a passenger in a car being driven by his brother. While driving from Roswell to Albuquerque, they came upon an 18 wheeler turned on its side across the highway. In spite of attempts to avoid the truck, a collision occurred killing J.C.’s brother and severely injuring J.C. The investigating officer concluded the truck driver had fallen asleep, drove into the median, overcorrected and rolled the truck, blocking the highway. J.C. sustained permanent injuries and incurred over $125,000.00 in medical expenses. Sadly, J.C. had to watch his brother die before his eyes as they were trapped in the car waiting for the police and an ambulance. The case was settled shortly after a lawsuit was filed.


Airplane Crash

Three people died as a result of a tragic crash of a privately owned plane. Our firm represented all 3 passengers. Following investigation, all claims by the passengers were settled.


Medication Mistakes and Pharmacy Errors

H.J. was 29 years old when underwent a mastectomy and removal of both ovaries. Postoperatively, HJ required pain management with narcotics, one of which was fentanyl, which is administered through a Duragesic patch. HJ was prescribed a dangerous combination of medications, including fentanyl. This combination of medication affected her central nervous system resulting in respiratory arrest, lack of oxygen and brain damage. The case against the physician and the hospital was settled.

C.E. was 57 years of age and was required to take a medication called Prograf because she had undergone a kidney transplant. The hospital pharmacist was supposed to dispense 5 mg capsules but mistakenly dispensed .5 mg capsules, resulting in C.E. being significantly under medicated and rejection of her transplanted kidney. C.E. was admitted to a different hospital for lengthy hospitalization. C.E. was ultimately discharged from the hospital but had long-term consequences as a result of this prescription error. The case was settled.

D.S. was 52 years old when he underwent surgery for a hernia repair. Following surgery, he was prescribed Duragesic patches, a timed release patch that contains fentanyl, a highly potent narcotic eighty times more potent than morphine. Duragesic patches should never have been prescribed and, when prescribed to D.S., an excessive dose was prescribed. Because the medication should have never been prescribed, and because it was prescribed in an excessive dose, DS went into respiratory arrest and died. The case was settled.


Bicycle injury

Our client was riding her bicycle when she was struck by a garbage truck operated by the City of Albuquerque and suffered catastrophic injuries. We obtained the driver’s personnel file under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act and learned of similar incidents by the driver and other garbage truck drivers. We inspected the truck and discovered that the driver had altered evidence at the scene of the accident, and made a demand on the City on behalf of the client and her family. The matter settled prior to litigation.

Disclaimer: Every case is unique and depends heavily on the specific facts involved. The following examples are informational only and are not intended to predict future results or create an expectation that a similar recovery is likely or even possible for you.