42 Year Old Married Father of Two Dies From Surgeon’s Wrong Assumption - Medical Malpractice Legal Blogs Posted by Jeffrey S. Cook - Lawyers.com

42 Year Old Married Father of Two Dies From Surgeon’s Wrong Assumption

Trial Lawyer, Sheldon Erlich of the Plaintiff Litigation firm, Erlich, Rosen, Bartnick & Cook P.C., in Southfield, Michigan, successfully negotiated the settlement of this medical malpractice wrongful death claim for $1,575,000.

Plaintiff was a 42 year old married father of two daughters who swallowed a one inch Barbeque bristle and went to the Emergency Department of a Detroit area hospital. He could feel the metal bristle stuck in his throat and x-rays confirmed its presence in his cervical esophagus. A general surgeon was called in who performed an EGD procedure to remove the bristle. The surgeon was unable to find the bristle and assumed that the Plaintiff had swallowed it during the procedure. Rather than take another x-ray to confirm his assumption the surgeon discharged the Plaintiff home.

Two months later the Plaintiff returned to the same Emergency Department complaining of headaches, vomiting, and an episode of passing out. A CT scan was ordered of both his head and neck. The CT of his head revealed the presence of several masses throughout his brain and the neck CT confirmed that the metal BBQ bristle was still present in his throat. This time an ENT specialist was called in who removed the BBQ bristle with little difficulty.

Unfortunately, the presence of the metal foreign object for two months had caused a massive infection which required emergency craniotomy surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain. Cultures were taken that came back positive for bacterial infection of the brain. Two days later Plaintiff died from the brain swelling, bleeding and herniation due to the multiple infectious abscesses. An autopsy confirmed that he died from the infection caused by the metal BBQ bristle left in his throat for two months.

Sheldon Erlich was able to negotiate a settlement on behalf of the plaintiff’s loved ones in the amount of $1,575,000. The settlement was $858,000 for his economic damages and $717,000 for his conscious pain and suffering and loss to his surviving family members.

Because of Michigan’s legislatively dictated maximum allowable recovery for Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Actions, the victim, and the victims family members, in this case received only partial justice. Under Michigan’s Medical Malpractice Awards Cap found at MCL 600.1483, even Wrongful Death medical malpractice actions are subject to a severe limitation of the damages for the decedents’ conscious pain and suffering before dying, as well as the loss of their loved one for all of the surviving family members. In this case the negligent doctor and hospital responsible for the Plaintiff’s death were able to successfully shield their negligent actions behind the medical malpractice cap and settle the claim for the legislatively mandated reduced amount of $717,000 for the Plaintiff’s conscious pain and suffering before death and the loss to all of the heirs of their loved one, which is a number far below the actual damages to the deceased and the family members. This amount has been arbitrarily dictated by the Michigan Legislature as a favor to the powerful insurance and physician lobbies in Lansing.

This settlement was reported in Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2008 top ten million dollar settlements.

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Trial Lawyer, Sheldon Erlich of the Plaintiff Litigation firm, Erlich, Rosen, Bartnick & Cook P.C., in Southfield, Michigan, successfully negotiated the settlement of this medical malpractice wrongful death claim for $1,575,000.

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