Malpractice and Personal Injury Cases

Scott Mullins has represented over one thousand injury victims over the course of his career. The following case descriptions represent a sample of some of his most significant settlements or verdicts.

Medical Malpractice — Settlement Amount: $1 million

72 year old cancer patient was admitted to hospital to have feeding tube replaced. During the procedure, the Interventional Radiologist punctured the Jejunum causing contents of the small intestine to leak into the abdominal cavity.

Wife made several requests for her husband to be seen by a physician. The nurses caring for the patient sent several texts requesting that a house physician or resident evaluate the patient for intractable abdominal pain. Patient coded and died within 27 hours of the feeding tube placement. He was never seen by a physician despite nursing requests. Patient died of septic shock from a hole in the Jejunum as determined by autopsy.

Medical Malpractice — Settlement Amount: $2 million

Newborn negligently received a dose of potassium causing a recognized complication of hyperkalemia which resulted in cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac function compromise and cardiac arrest. These symptoms developed in the newborn as a result of the negligent failure to adequately control and monitor the blood potassium levels in the newborn.

As a result of the negligent failure to obey a STAT medication order in a timely manner, the failure to adequately monitor blood potassium levels and the failure to stop administering potassium once the newborn manifested signs of compromised cardiac function, the newborn experienced cardiac arrest which resulted in permanent, irreversible brain damage.

Wrongful Death — Medical Malpractice — Settlement Amount: Confidential

Deceased sustained a severe global brain injury resulting from oxygen deprivation arising from the hospital’s negligent failure to monitor the patient’s blood oxygen level and to hook the patient up to a CPAP machine before sleeping, after the patient had undergone successful gastric bypass surgery. Patient had a previous medical history of moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Established written hospital policies required that all post-operative patients with a known diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea receive monitoring of blood oxygenation with continuous pulse oximetry. The patient required the use of a CPAP machine at bedtime or during daytime naps.

As a direct result of the hospital’s failure to adhere to its written monitoring guidelines, the deceased was found unresponsive, cyanotic and not breathing at 5:15 p.m. by her surgeon who was making rounds. After testing, it was determined that the likely cause of death was obstructive sleep apnea.

The Decedent was survived by two sisters and two brothers.

Wrongful Death — Medical Malpractice — Settlement Amount: Confidential

Patient dies after a routine cardiac catheterization procedure as a result of an internal hemorrhage into the abdomen. Depositions of the nurses and physicians revealed that a hemorrhage into the retroperitoneal cavity is an uncommon but known complication.

Although the patient was exhibiting signs of acute blood loss such as nausea, left leg pain at the femoral access site, fullness of the abdomen, and complained that “she felt like she was dying”, the patient chart revealed that no nurse took the patient’s blood pressure, checked for peripheral pulses or assessed the femoral access site for over five hours before the patient’s death.

On autopsy, a four hundred gram blood clot was found in the Decedent’s abdomen. The Decedent was survived by her husband of 26 years and three adult children.

Nursing Home Malpractice — Settlement Amount: Confidential

On November 4, 2010, Decedent fell from a chair while removing a picture from the wall striking her head. The fall was witnessed by another resident who was in the room watching television with the Decedent at the time. This resident reported to the night shift nurse that the Decedent fell and got herself up. No examination or assessment was done following the fall and no medical intervention was initiated. No physician was notified of the fall.

Decedent sustained a skull fracture and subdural hematoma as a result of the fall. Nursing Home failed to assess the Decedent following the fall and failed to diagnose the trauma the Decedent sustained in the fall and failed to obtain timely treatment of Decedent’s injuries. As a direct and proximate result of the actions and failure to act, Decedent died on November 5, 2010.

The case settled at mediation after suit was filed for a confidential amount. The Decedent was recently diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Decedent left behind two adult daughters and an adult son.

Medical Malpractice- Settlement Amount: Confidential

Hospital failed to recognize and react quickly to premature infant’s desaturation and development of a tension pneumothorax. Neonatologists were negligent in failing to transfer infant to a hospital with a level 3 NICU in the first few hours of his life where he could be effectively cared for and properly monitored. Due to this medical negligence, the child suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy, impaired cognitive function, quadriplegia, a feeding disorder and vision loss.

Trench Collapse — 19 year old killed — Settlement Amount: $1.75 million

The parents of a 19 year old male brought suit against their deceased son’s employer alleging that the employer knowingly exposed their son to a dangerous condition that was substantially certain to result in death or injury.

Patrick Walters was killed when he descended to the bottom of a 13 foot trench to perform a lateral sewer tap. The trench was not sloped, braced, or shored as required by federal law. It had rained 2 1/2 inches the night before. An experienced co-worker was operating a back hoe in close proximity to the trench edge. Patrick Walters was killed when the trench collapsed causing him to suffocate.

Well Poisoning — 60 Year old woman dies of acute myeloid leukemia after drinking from a well contaminated by termiticide — Amount of Verdict: $1.47 million

The family of Geneva Parsley alleged that Terminix negligently applied a toxic termiticide around Geneva’s home that leaked into her fieldstone well that was no more than 9 feet from the foundation of her house. The deadly chemical, Isophenfos, was found in Ms. Parsley’s well by the Ohio Department of Agriculture after her death. Parsley v. Terminix International

Nursing Malpractice — 2 year old dies because he was not hooked up to pulse oximeter — Settlement Amount: Confidential

The family of a two year old child brought suit against a nurse and her employer, alleging that a home health care nurse failed to hook up an essential alarm that would activate if the child’s trach became dislodged.

The two year old had been released from Children’s Hospital after undergoing airway reconstruction. The child was completely trach dependent for breathing. The surgeon ordered that the child be monitored with an alarmed, pulse oximeter at all times while sleeping.

The home health care nurse found the child blue and unresponsive. The nursing notes indicated normal oxygen saturation levels throughout the night. The internal data recorder indicated that the pulse oximeter with alarm had not been turned on, and the nursing notes were fabricated. The baby suffocated when his trach became dislodged and no alarm sounded.

Medical Malpractice — Settlement Amount: $3.5 million

46 year old married female underwent gastric bypass surgery at hospital. On post operative day 2, the patient began exhibiting a persistent rapid heartbeat, rapid and shallow breathing, uncontrolled blood sugar levels, and bouts of low blood pressure.

These are the classic symptoms of a leak in the small intestine, a surgical emergency. Despite the increasing severity of the symptoms, the patient was not taken back to surgery to find and fix the leak for more than 12 hours. Before the second surgery, the patient coded as a result of respiratory arrest due to overwhelming infection. The patient was resuscitated but suffers from severe brain damage.

Dental Malpractice — Brain abscess resulting from dental infection — Settlement Amount: $750,000

The deceased, Linda Catanzaro, developed a brain abscess three weeks after an unsuccessful attempt at a root canal on a badly decayed and cariously perforated second molar.

The dentist was negligent for failing to promptly remove the tooth and for failing to prescribe an antibiotic which resulted in infectious bacteria entering the decedent?s bloodstream causing a brain abscess.

Fall from Roof — Employer alters scene before OSHA investigates — Settlement Amount: $2.75 million

A 34 year old fell to his death in a workplace accident while he was on a roof, more than 25 feet high, without being supplied with a proper tie off system as required by federal law.

Further, the employer altered the accident scene to deceive OSHA inspectors and family members by making it appear as if a tie off system was in place at the time the man fell. Immediately after the decedent fell, and before the arrival of emergency personnel, the roofing foreman of the defendant employer ordered that a perimeter cable tie off system be installed along the roof edge where the employee was working.

Dental Malpractice — Osteonecrosis of the Jaw — Settlement Amount: Confidential

The Plaintiff, a 51 year old stage 4 breast cancer patient, received numerous treatments of an IV bisphosphonate, Zometa. While receiving IV bisphosphonate therapy, tooth extractions cannot be performed because the cancer drug prevents new bone from forming in the jaw. The American Dental Association posted numerous warnings about avoiding tooth extractions on IV bisphosphonate patients.

Notwithstanding the warnings and the patients written health history, the dentist extracted 22 teeth at a single visit. The patient developed open lesions and incurable bone death at each extraction site. The patient will eventually require extensive jaw revision surgery.

Tractor-Trailer Wreck — Settlement Amount: $563,000

The Plaintiff’s tractor-trailer was stopped at a traffic light when the defendant’s tractor trailer was descending an exit ramp from I-74. The defendant’s tractor-trailer was unable to stop at the light and struck the Plaintiff’s tractor-trailer broadside.

Although the plaintiff had pre-existing spondylolysis, the severe impact greatly aggravated his condition, necessitating extensive back surgery.

Motorcycle/Pick Up Truck Collision — Settlement Amount: $575,000

Motorcyclist received serious injuries, including a severely fractured hip requiring surgery when a pickup turned left in front of him. The pickup truck driver contended that the motorcyclist was speeding.

Automobile/Truck Collision — Settlement Amount: $500,000

An 86 year old front seat passenger sustained several fractured vertebrae and an internal brain bleed as a result of being struck in the rear by a fully loaded tractor trailer. No surgery was required but the brain bleed accelerated preexisting Alzheimer’s disease.

Medical Malpractice — Settlement Amount: Confidential

Settlement reached after two week jury trial just before verdict. Patient treated with primary care doctor for abrasions on achilles tendon of each foot resulting in pain and swelling in ankles and feet. Patient was treated for high blood pressure and renal insufficiency, but was not given antibiotics or any wound care. Defendant Doctor failed to examine and treat patient’s ankles and feet wounds, allowing wounds to colonize with staph, resulting in sepsis and right below the knee amputation and extensive debridement of left ankle/foot resulting in loss of achilles tendon, requiring skin grafts and surgeries.

Nursing Home Negligence — Wrongful Death — Settlement Amount: Confidential

Decedent, a full time resident at the nursing home had been diagnosed with dementia, and was known for her propensity to attempt to escape from the nursing home premises. Decedent’s family was assured by the nursing home that Decedent would receive appropriate care, that she would be protected and safe and that she would not be allowed to leave the facility unsupervised.

Decedent exited the nursing home, unsupervised, through the alarmed door near her room. The nursing staff turned off the alarm without exiting the building to look for the patient and failed to do a patient count as required by protocol.

Decedent was found on the ground in the parking lot approximately 30 minutes later by a passerby. Decedent sustained a severe eye injury, requiring emergency surgery. Decedent died nine days after surgery. Defendant contended that the eye injury and surgery were unrelated to the elderly patient’s death.