New York — An 83-year-old resident of a senior case nursing home facility fell out of a hospital chair while admitted for treatment there. He underwent X-rays after the fall in the hospital and was returned to the senior care home. He subsequently returned to the hospital and received a delayed diagnosis of a leg fracture. The man soon died of a pulmonary embolism that his estate contended was due to medical malpractice and negligence. The man’s family sought the legal assistance of Morrison & Wagner, who specialize in wrongful death. They helped mediate a settlement for the family in the amount of $325,000.
Illustrative Photo Credit: rearl [License]
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Suit: Fatal embolism stemmed from late diagnosis of fracture (VerdictSearch)
Mediated Settlement Amount: $325,000
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Court: Bronx Supreme, Bronx County, New York
Injury Type(s): leg-fracture (fracture, tibia); other-death; arterial/vascular – embolism pulmonary/respiratory
Case Type: Nursing Homes – Medical Malpractice – Delayed Diagnosis, Delayed Treatment
Date: October 29, 2010
Eric H. Morrison; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY
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On Aug. 5, 2003, plaintiff’s decedent, 87, was admitted to a hospital in the Bronx. During the ensuing days, he underwent treatment of malnutrition, mild dementia and residual effects of cancer of his prostrate.
On Aug. 12, 2003, the elderly man fell out of one of the hospital’s chairs. X-rays did not reveal a fracture, and the man was ultimately returned to his residence, a senior care center in the Bronx.
The senior care center’s staff subsequently determined that the fall victim was suffering a fracture of his left leg’s tibia. The injured man was returned to the hospital. After 10 days had passed, he suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism. The man’s family claimed that the embolism was a result of a failure to timely diagnose and treat his fracture.
The injury victim’s estate sued the hospital and the senior care nursing home. The estate alleged that the defendants’ employees failed to timely diagnose and treat the elderly man’s fractures. The estate further alleged that the hospital’s staff’s negligence constituted malpractice.
The estate’s counsel claimed that the man’s fracture occurred when he fell out of the chair. He acknowledged that preliminary X-rays did not reveal a fracture, but he claimed that subsequent X-rays did. He contended that the patient was discharged before the subsequent X-rays could be evaluated. He claimed that a medical examiner concluded that the man’s fatal embolism was a result of a failure to promptly address the fracture.
The estate’s counsel also claimed that the senior care center’s staff did not promptly address the fracture’s symptoms: discolored skin and an inversion of the senior man’s right foot.
The plaintiff sustained a fracture of his left leg’s tibia. The estate’s counsel claimed that the fracture was not promptly treated, and he contended that the delay allowed the man’s development of a fatal pulmonary embolism.
The deceased man’s estate sought recovery of damages for his past pain and suffering.
Defense counsel contended that the man’s embolism was not a result of his fracture.
During the month that preceded the scheduled start of the trial, the parties negotiated a settlement, which was finalized via the guidance of Judge Douglas McKeon. The defendants’ insurers agreed to contribute equal payments that totaled $325,000.
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Judge: Douglas E. McKeon
Editor’s Comment: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.