Brain Injury Information & Cases
Negligent Care Results in $2 Million Dollar Arbitration Award (read more)
In one of the largest arbitration awards ever returned against Kaiser, our firm obtained a binding award in excess of $2,000,000 on behalf of a 52-year-old woman who suffered a respiratory arrest and precipitous drop in her blood pressure two days after undergoing abdominal surgery at Kaiser Walnut Creek. The arrest occurred shortly after an epidural catheter, which had been used for post-operative pain control, was replaced. Paul proved that the procedure resulted in a “high spinal.” High spinal anesthesia is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of epidural anesthesia. Typically, the first signs of a high spinal block are a drop in blood pressure, a slowing of the heart rate, and difficulty in breathing.
Failure to Diagnose Cardiac Rhythm Disturbance – Brain Damage
Walkup’s Kaiser team negotiated a cash and annuity settlement in excess of four million dollars on behalf of a thirteen year-old boy who was left in a persistent vegetative state requiring twenty-four a day nursing care because of Kaiser’s persistent failures to diagnose a genetic heart condition known as Prolonged QT Syndrome.
At age seven the child presented to the Kaiser emergency room with symptoms of a seizure. At age nine he returned again to the ER after losing consciousness and falling, The underlying cause of the loss of consciousness was never investigated. Then at age eleven the boy began having involuntary body spasms, convulsions and drooling. The primary Kaiser physician diagnosed the problems as seizures and referred him to a neurologist at Kaiser. Unfortunately, his condition was cardiac in origin and his heart was not supplying sufficient blood to his brain causing fainting and seizure like activity. Kaiser’s physicians did not recognize that his symptoms required an EKG and cardiac evaluation. The young boy ultimately suffered cardiac arrest and hypoxic brain injury. He was rushed to the emergency room, but resuscitation could not reverse the severe damage already done. The negotiated a settlement against Kaiser at mediation provided for the young boy’s pain and suffering and for his continuing medical expenses.
Misdiagnosis of Aortic Dissection – Amputation/Brain Damage
Walkup attorneys obtained a mediated settlement of $1,100,000 on behalf of a 56-year-old real estate broker who suffered brain damage and required amputations of both legs below the knees after Kaiser Richmond Emergency Room doctors misdiagnosed his aortic dissection as angina, delaying treatment of this surgical emergency.
The patient presented to the Kaiser Richmond ER at 10:00 a.m., complaining of severe chest pain. He was forced to wait as his pain intensified until his wife demanded immediate care. Tests performed in the ER included an EKG, chest x-ray and enzyme study. These ruled out myocardial infarction or heart attack. Patient’s pain and a significant aortic murmur strongly suggested aortic dissection, but no CT scan was taken. Additionally, the patient’s family history, which included aortic dissection (a hereditary condition), was never obtained by the ER staff. Despite signs of possible aortic dissection, angina was diagnosed and the patient was started on an aggressive regimen of anticoagulants, which were contra-indicated. Nearly 10 hours later, the patient was transferred to Summit Medical Center in Oakland to undergo angioplasty. Pre-surgery tests indicated that patient was suffering from aortic dissection and surgery ensued. However, due to the extensive bleeding caused by the delay and the anticoagulants administered at Kaiser Richmond, the patient bled heavily throughout the surgery and for several days following. The results of this extensive blood loss included thrombosis of all vessels in his lower extremities, requiring amputation of both legs below the knee, as well as anoxic brain injury, manifesting in complete short term memory loss, decreased IQ, decreased motivation, and a completely new and passive personality. Settlement, which included both cash and annuity payments, included the full MICRA amount for non-economic damages, as well as lost past and future earnings, and compensation for past and future medical expenditure.
Death Resulting from Kaiser Permanente Failure to Monitor Following Brain Surgery
Attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger obtained a settlement in the amount of $575,000 on behalf of the heirs of a 62-year-old Kaiser member who died due to a failure by Kaiser Redwood City nurses to adequately monitor his neurological status following brain surgery.
The member underwent a resection of the third ventricle to remove a tumor. He came through the procedure in stable condition, but developed increased intracranial pressure during the night following surgery. Nurses failed to adequately monitor his neurological status as required by existing protocols, and the swelling of his brain was not reported to the member’s neurosurgeon until the following morning. That physician attempted to reduce the pressure caused by the swelling by performing an emergency shunt procedure, but it was too late, as the increased intracranial pressure had caused irreversible global brain damage. The member was comatose until his death three days later.
Brain Damage and Kaiser Permanente
The Walkup Kaiser team negotiated a settlement on behalf of a 51-year-old man who suffered loss of vision, balance problems, hearing loss, headaches, cognitive impairment and short-term memory loss when Kaiser South San Francisco personnel failed to timely diagnose and treat his transitory ischemic attacks (TIA). The patient suffered a massive stroke as a result.
The patient visited the Kaiser emergency room several times in the days leading up to his stroke. His symptoms included neck tightness, numbness in his hands and face, slurred speech, drooling, dizziness and balance problems. Though a nurse practitioner suspected TIA and suggested a carotid ultrasound, none was ever ordered. When the patient presented to the ER the day before his stroke, Kaiser doctors delayed several hours in performing a CT scan and administered inappropriate medications. Walkup attorneys were able to show that timely diagnosis and administration of the proper medications could have prevented the patient’s stroke. The settlement included cash and annuity payments guaranteed to provide for in-home care for the member, as well as compensation for lost earnings. It also included the MICRA maximum amount for non-economic damages.
Failure To Diagnose Cardiac Tamponade – Brain Damage
Our Kaiser medical negligence attorneys negotiated a settlement of $3,195,500 on behalf of a man who suffered brain damage resulting in the need for twenty-four hour care due to Kaiser’s failure to diagnose a cardiac tamponade. Our client was admitted to Kaiser to undergo heart surgery. Surgery was performed and he tolerated it well and appeared to be making an excellent recovery. Four days after surgery, while still in the hospital, he developed symptoms of a cardiac tamponade. His doctors and nurses failed to promptly diagnose and treat the problem, and he suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest which led to anoxic encephalopathy and brain damage.