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Wrongful Death – Medical Malpractice

In Family of Jane Doe v. Large HMO (confidential settlement), Richard Schoenberger and Conor M. Kelly represented the surviving spouse and children of a 34-year-old bartender who died following surgery to remove kidney stones. The patient had a history of painful kidney stones and in October 2012 was admitted to the hospital for a recommended a surgery known as percutaneous nephrostolithotomy. During the surgery an incision was made over the patient’s kidney and a catheter inserted into renal collecting system. The procedure was performed without apparent complications, but in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit she awoke and complained of severe pain. Her condition quickly deteriorated and she became non-responsive. A code was called and resuscitation measures were taken, but the patient passed away within a few hours. Lab results taken from the patient during resuscitation revealed evidence of hyponatremia or water intoxication. Rich and Conor demanded arbitration and, working with their experts, developed persuasive evidence that the patient died because a surgical nurse breached the standard of care by using water, instead of an isotonic solution such as Lactated Ringers, to irrigate the operative field during surgery. Large HMO disputed that water intoxication was the cause of the patient’s death and maintained the proper irrigation fluid was used. The case settled after the completion of fact discovery for $1,000,000. As part of the settlement, annuities were purchased for both of the patient’s young children which will pay guaranteed sums until the children are 34-years-old.