Defense Verdict in Favor of Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist in Stillbirth Case

Carolyn M. Bohmueller and Joana Gaizelyte-Lacy represented a maternal fetal medicine specialist in a four-day trial in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and secured a defense verdict.  The claim involved the stillbirth of fetus at 36 weeks gestation.  The fetus had a single umbilical artery diagnosed at 20 weeks gestation and was closely monitored.  At 35 weeks gestation the fetus was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction.  After ultrasound evaluation and doppler studies along with a non-stress test, a plan was in place to see the patient twice weekly for non-stress tests and undergo doppler studies and amniotic fluid evaluation weekly.  At the first non-stress test the patient alleged she complained of decreased fetal movement.  A non-stress test performed that day was reassuring and reactive.  At the following scheduled visit three days later, a fetal demise was diagnosed.  The jury deliberated and quickly returned a verdict in favor of the maternal fetal specialist, finding he was not negligent. 

Defense Verdict in Favor of Emergency Room Physicians and Hospital in Breast Cancer Case

Attorneys Carolyn M. Bohmueller and Jamie N. Johnson secured a verdict in favor of two emergency room physicians and a hospital in a two-week trial in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas involving a claim of failure to diagnose recurrence of breast cancer.  The patient had been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 23 and underwent surgical and adjuvant therapy.  She continued to follow with her oncologist.  Fourteen years later, she presented to a local emergency department with complaints of left-sided chest pain, which were evaluated and determined to be non-specific, and she was instructed to follow up with her providers.  The following year, she presented again to the emergency department with a complaint of pain in her head behind her right ear, which was evaluated and she was instructed to follow up with her primary care physician.  Over two years later, the patient was diagnosed with widely metastatic recurrent breast cancer in her lungs, pelvis and brain.  The jury determined that neither of the emergency room physicians, nor the hospital, were negligent.

Defense Verdict on Behalf of Gastroenterologist in Matter involving Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Attorneys Michael Pitt and Mary Kay Plyter-Eigner recently received a defense verdict on behalf of a gastroenterologist and his practice after a three week trial in Philadelphia County. Plaintiff, on behalf of her deceased husband, alleged that the Defendant gastroenterologist failed to appropriately perform a gastroscope and recommend surgical intervention in a patient with signs of gastrointestinal bleeding. After 20 days of evidence, including testimony from more than ten medical experts, the defendants, and multiple fact witnesses, the jury returned a verdict about four hours later finding in favor of the defense gastroenterologist.

Defense Verdict on Behalf of Hospital in Pressure Wound Matter

Marshall L. Schwartz and Caitlin E. McCauley recently obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a hospital in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The matter involved a patient who developed a pressure wound during an admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). The decedent resided at a nursing home (also a named defendant) and was transferred to the hospital in respiratory distress. Notably, the decedent was 95 years old at the time of her admission and suffered from multiple co-morbidities including diabetes, dementia, depression, failure to thrive, respiratory failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Plaintiff alleged that, as a result of the wound, the decedent experienced extreme pain, suffering and death.

Plaintiff’s claims under the Wrongful Death Act were dismissed pursuant to a motion in limine filed on behalf of the hospital. The trial proceeded with testimony from multiple experts and witnesses, including an ICU nurse who cared for the decedent. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants finding that the care provided to the decedent was at all times within the standard of care.

Defense Verdict on Behalf of Hospital in Case involving Fall at Physical Therapy after Hip Replacement

Anthony P. DeMichele recently obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a hospital in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The matter involved a patient who fell while undergoing physical therapy two days after a right total hip replacement. As a result of the fall, the patient fractured the right hip that had just been replaced and underwent another surgical procedure to repair the fracture. Of note, at the time of the original hip replacement, the patient was markedly disabled and required a live-in aide to help with activities of daily living.

At the time of the fall, the patient was ambulating with a walker while the physical therapist had her hands on the patient and an aide followed them closely with a wheelchair. Plaintiff alleged that both the physical therapist and the wheelchair follow were not positioned correctly. The defense argued that the physical therapist had hands on the patient and was in the correct position when the patient fell. The defense also argued that the wheelchair follow was positioned correctly within inches of the patient and that the fall was an unfortunate accident. The defense presented experts in physical therapy and orthopedic surgery, who confirmed that the care was within the standard of care and that the patient’s current limitations were not a result of the fall and fracture.

After deliberating, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the hospital, finding that its care and treatment of the patient was not negligent.

Defense Verdict for OB/GYN in case involving Wound Infection after Caesarean

Tracie A. Vizza and paralegal Lexi Romney recently obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The matter involved a patient who had undergone a caesarean section and presented to the hospital several days after her discharge with complaints of intermittent fever, purulent drainage from her incision, nausea, loose stools and lightheadedness. The patient was first evaluated and examined by a medical student and a resident physician. At the time of her evaluation, although there was drainage from the incision, the area was not warm, red or swollen. Additionally, the patient was not exhibiting a fever. The resident physician probed the incision which showed that it was a superficial wound. A culture was taken and sent to the lab. The resident physician also irrigated the incision area with saline fluid until it was clear. The defendant, the attending OB/GYN, also examined the patient and probed the area. The patient was diagnosed with a superficial wound infection. As there were no signs or symptoms of a systemic infection, Bactrim DS, a broad spectrum antibiotic, was prescribed. The patient was advised to call, or return to the hospital, with any worsening symptoms.

Thereafter, the patient had continued purulent drainage from the wound area over the course of the next couple of days. Although it was alleged that the patient and her mother contacted the hospital, at no time was the defendant informed of these calls and/or worsening symptoms. Two days after her presentation to the hospital, the culture report showed that the wound was infected with a bacteria known to be susceptible to Bactrim DS. The culture report also suggested that an infectious disease specialist be consulted. The defendant physician was also not advised of these findings.

The following day the patient presented to a different hospital at which time it was noted that the antibiotics failed and the infection had worsened. The patient was hospitalized for several days as she required a debridement procedure and IV antibiotics to treat the worsened infection.

Plaintiff alleged that the defendant should have prescribed a different antibiotic and had he done so, the patient would not have required the debridement procedure. The defense argued that the broad spectrum antibiotic given was appropriate as bacteria causing the infection was not known until the culture grew out greater than 24 hours later. Further, the defense argued that a broad spectrum antibiotic which treats MRSA was required as MRSA is common in recently hospitalized patients and is highly resistant to may antibiotics, including the penicillin based antibiotics, which plaintiff’s expert testified was appropriate. The defense presented expert testimony by experts in OB/GYN and infectious disease. These experts established that the defendant acted within the standard of care and that the appropriate antibiotic was prescribed. After deliberation, the jury returned an unanimous verdict, finding that the defendant’s care and treatment of the plaintiff was not negligent.