Settlements & Verdicts

Brewster & De Angelis

Selected Civil Verdicts and Settlements

FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE FAILING PACEMAKER RESULTING IN DEATH OF 11-YEAR OLD GIRL
Summary: At the age of four, a young girl was diagnosed with myocarditis and eventually required a pacemaker implant. Her pacemaker was regularly monitored with a 24-hour Holter Monitor. At age 11, the girl collapsed on the playground at school as a result of her pacemaker failing to properly function. She was revived but suffered permanent and severe brain damage resulting in her death nine months later.
The girl's parents brought an action for the wrongful death of their child alleging that the doctors had been negligent in their reading of the testing on the Holter Monitor. Testing showed that there were periods of time where the pacemaker was not functioning as evidenced by a flat line on the EKG strip. This finding was read by the physicians as "pacemaker functioning normally."
Outcome: A verdict was returned for the plaintiff in the sum of $2,800,000.00


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT PULMONARY EMBOLISM RESULTING IN DEATH OF 16-YEAR OLD GIRL
Summary: A young woman had given birth to a stillborn child in late 1981 at the age of 15. In February of 1982, she began experiencing leg pain and had difficulty breathing. She became increasingly weak and confused. Her mother took her to the hospital where the symptoms worsened over a several hour period without recognition or treatment by the hospital physicians. The young girl stopped breathing and died in the hospital due to the development of a pulmonary embolism.
The girl's mother brought an action for wrongful death of her daughter seeking to hold the doctor's responsible for their negligence in failing to conduct any tests to discover her daughter's medical problem and denying her the opportunity for life saving intervention.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT FAILING PACEMAKER RESULTING IN DEATH OF 9-YEAR OLD GIRL
Summary: A 9-year old girl required a pacemaker due to a birth condition. Her pacemaker function was followed through the use of a Holter Monitor. The EKG tracing recorded by the most recent Holter Monitor was abnormal. The defendant doctor did not appreciate the abnormalities on the tracing. The young girl collapsed and died within hours.
The girl's parents brought an action for the wrongful death of their daughter seeking to hold the physician responsible for his failure to appreciate the abnormalities of the tracing and timely act upon the findings.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


CHIROPRACTOR'S TREATMENT RESULTS IN DEBILITATING ARTHRITIC CONDITION
Summary: Our client was diagnosed with rheumatory arthritis. She sought holistic treatment by a chiropractor that prescribed many dietary supplements, vitamins and coffee enemas, all in excessive quantities. The doctor told his patient that her body needed to be cleansed with these treatments and incorporated fundamentalist religious principles in his patient care. The doctor discouraged his patient from having traditional medical treatment for her condition. Her condition eventually worsened to the point that she was grossly deformed and could hardly walk due to the rheumatory arthritis.
At that time, she sought medical treatment from a medical doctor and required surgery to correct and treat the effects of the rheumatory arthritis and her original doctor's failure to treat it with medically recognized therapies.
The patient eventually brought suit against the chiropractor for his inadequate and harmful treatments that were inappropriate and worsened her condition.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


PATIENT OVER MEDICATED WITH BLOOD THINNERS AND LABORATORY TESTS OVERLOOKED BY PHYSICIANS RESULTING IN PARAPLEGIA AND DEATH. DURING THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE, THE WIDOW DISCOVERED THAT HUSBAND'S ORGANS WERE RETAINED AT AUTOPSY WITHOUT HER CONSENT
Summary: Forty-seven-year old man underwent routine mitral valve replacement with success. Subsequent to surgery, he was prescribed coumadin and followed the physician's directive to have regular lab tests to monitor the medication. He presented to the hospital with chest pain and difficulty breathing. Over the next 30 hours, lab values were grossly abnormal in his coagulation factors. These lab values went undetected by the doctors and the patient bled into his heart sac and suffered 3 cardiac arrests before the doctors appreciated that their patient was bleeding at the surgery site. He was rendered a paraplegic at 47-years of age and died nine months later.
His widow brought suit against the hospital and the physicians who treated her husband alleging that they were negligent in their treatment of her husband and caused his untimely death.
As trial approached in the medical malpractice case, the defendants disclosed their exhibit list. One exhibit listed was "...Heart, Brain & Spinal Cord." The attorneys conducted an investigation and learned that the defendants and their lawyers had retained these organs at autopsy without the consent of the widow and shipped them around the country in search of a defense to the above malpractice claim. The defendants refused to return the organs and honor the family's religious principles, that all of the decedent's remains be properly buried. A replevin action was filed, as were causes of action also filed for conversion of human body parts and the tort of outrage.
Outcome: A confidential settlement shortly after this action was filed and consolidated with the medical malpractice case. Thereafter, the medical industry successfully lobbied to change the autopsy statute to permit doctors to retain organs at the time of autopsy for use in litigation without the family's consent.


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE BRAIN TUMOR RESULTING IN DEATH OF 15-YEAR OLD BOY
Summary: Our client presented to his doctor with ringing in his ears and balance problems. The doctor diagnosed him with tinnitus or ringing in his ears. Six months later, he was again seen by his doctor and, despite his worsening condition, he was not referred for further evaluation. Subsequently, he was seen by another doctor and immediately hospitalized. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The young man died subsequent to trial at age 15.
Outcome: This case proceeded to jury trial and the jury awarded a verdict of $4,500,000.00. No appeal was filed by the defendants and a confidential settlement was reached.


DOCTOR MISREADS EVIDENCE OF IMPENDING HEART ATTACK
Summary: Our client presented to his doctor with jaw pain, nausea, sweating and shortness of breath. The doctor treated him for indigestion and released him. He had taken an EKG, but missed the evidence on the tracing of an impending heart attack. When he left the clinic, the man suffered a myocardial infarction and had a car wreck injuring himself and his wife. He was taken to another hospital and survived.
Outcome: During discovery the doctor admitted the missed diagnosis and the case settled for a confidential amount.


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE TESTICULAR TORSION CAUSES YOUNG MAN TO HAVE SURGICAL REMOVAL OF NECROTIC TESTICLE
Summary: Plaintiff presented to the emergency room with groin/testicular pain. He was diagnosed by the doctor with an infection, and released with antibiotics and pain reliever. The diagnosis was reached based only on a clinical exam, no studies were ordered. Plaintiff drove back to his home in Dallas. He went to another hospital where he was diagnosed with testicular torsion. He underwent surgery for testicle removal.
The client brought suit against the hospital and physician for failing to diagnose the testicular torsion, the delay of which caused the loss of his testicle.
Outcome: The case was tried to an all female jury and resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $58,000.00.


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE IMPENDING HEART ATTACK RESULTING IN DEATH
Summary: Man presented to medical center with clinical signs of an impending heart attack. He was admitted, but no tests were performed. His condition worsened over the next several hours and no treatment was administered. He suffered a myocardial infarction and died hours later.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO PROPERLY TREAT WRIST FRACTURE
Summary: A man fell from a horse on an outstretched hand. The Doctor set his wrist improperly. The wound was also not properly cleaned resulting in skin necrosis. Follow-up care was received from two other doctors, also defendants, who failed to detect the improper wrist alignment. He had permanent injury and loss of use of the arm inhibiting his employment as an auto mechanic.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


IMPROPER SURGICAL TECHNIQUE USING EXCESSIVE STAPLING RESULTS IN LOSS OF USE OF LEG
Summary: The Doctor performed laparoscopic hernia repair on the plaintiff. In the course of surgery, the Doctor excessively stapled nerves. Plaintiff suffered constant pain and ultimately lost the use of one leg despite aggressive therapy and surgeries.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


QUADRAPLEGIC SUFFERED BURN INJURY IN THERAPEUTIC WHIRLPOOL
Summary: The plaintiff was rendered a quadriplegic in an automobile accident. He was receiving therapy, which included whirlpools. He was left in the whirlpool for an extensive period of time and the temperature of the whirlpool was too high. He suffered severe burns to his buttocks and legs. He required surgery for skin grafts and extensive burn treatment.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT FETAL DISTRESS RENDERS CHILD SEVERELY BRAIN INJURED AND ULTIMATELY CAUSES HIS DEATH
Summary: The plaintiff presented to a hospital in labor with her first child. The Doctor was a family practitioner who was primarily practicing obstetrics. The plaintiff's fetal heart strips showed persistent late decelerations causing the baby to be distressed. These abnormal patterns persisted for several hours without recognition by the Doctor or the nurse. The baby was delivered after five applications with a vacuum extractor device. The baby suffered hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and cerebral palsy. The child died of multi-organ failure a short time after settlement of the case.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


LAPAROTOMY SPONGE LEFT IN WOMAN FOR 17 MONTHS AFTER HYSTERECTOMY
Summary: Plaintiff had a hysterectomy performed at a medical center by the Doctor. A laparotomy sponge was left in her abdomen after surgery and was retained for 17 months. She underwent surgery to remove the sponge.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


IMPROPER SURGICAL TECHNIQUE RESULTS IN PERITONITS AND DEATH AFTER OUTPATIENT GALLBLADDER SURGERY
Summary: A woman was admitted to a hospital for laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. During the surgery, one of the Doctors severed 60% of the circumference of her transverse colon and cut her duodenum. The woman began leaking fecal matter from her incision sites. The nurses were discouraged from documenting this. After two days, she was transferred to another hospital and diagnosed with peritonitis. She died two weeks later at age 52.
Outcome: Settlement with the hospital is confidential. The case proceeded to jury trial against the doctors. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $1,800,000, including $500,000 in punitive damages.


FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE EVIDENCE OF IMPENDING HEART ATTACK
Summary: A man presented twice in a three-day period to a hospital, complaining of chest pains was released each time. He returned home after the last visit and died of a massive heart attack.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE VIRAL ILLNESS EFFECT ON SICKLE CELL DISEASE RESULTING IN DEATH OF 3-YEAR OLD
Summary: A boy and his brother were taken to the ER for treatment of high fever. The boy also had vomiting, diarrhea, and tachycardia. The children were seen by a medical student. The boy's brother had been admitted to same hospital four months before and diagnosed with a form of sickle cell disease known as Hemoglobin SC. The children were discharged after fever control medicine was given to them. The family pediatrician was called and he told the ER to send the boy home. The boy died the next morning because his infectious syndrome led to dehydration, which triggered his blood to sickle and pool in his spleen. He was three years old. His brother was admitted to another hospital the day of the boy's death and received appropriate treatment and lived.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


IMPROPER ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATION CAUSES PATIENT TO UNDERGO AMPUTATION
Summary: On March 23, 1996, the plaintiff presented to the emergency room complaining of a headache and nausea. She was treated with medications of Demerol and Phenergan. These medications were to be administered intravenously. A nurse placed the IV into her radial artery instead of the vein. Thereafter, another nurse began to inject Demerol and Phenergan directly into the artery. The plaintiff immediately complained of stinging followed by numbness in her fingers. Just over an hour after the intra-arterial injection, her arm became warm, the skin became mottled, her right hand showed signs of cyanosis and her fingers turned black. As a result of the damage from the arterial vasospasm and ischemia caused by the intra-arterial injection of Demerol and Phenergan, she suffered necrosis and digital gangrene in her right arm, wrist, and hand. She underwent surgical amputation of her index, middle, and ring fingers. She underwent a split thickness skin graft from the right anterior thigh to the right forearm and debridement in the area of the previously amputated fingers. Her thumb, index, long, and ring fingers required further surgical amputation. She was discharged from the hospital with a disfigured right arm from the elbow to the stump of her hand.
Outcome: A settlement was reached pre-suit. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE CEREBRAL ANEURYSM RESULTS IN WOMAN'S DEATH
Summary: A woman was taken to the emergency room complaining of incapacitating head pain of sudden onset. She was diagnosed with "cephalgia [headache] probably vascular." She was given shots for pain and nausea and was sent home, even though she repeatedly asked to be admitted to the hospital. She had a family history of aneurysms. Later that same day, she was seen at the Clinic. The doctor noted that she had a sudden onset of severe headache. She was given pain medication and muscle relaxers and was told to recheck if symptoms increase in severity. She was seen by the Doctor who diagnosed her with TMJ Arthritis, Cephalgia probably related to cervical arthritis and hypertension.
The patient reported that she was worried about aneurysm because her daughter and brother had aneurysm. He ordered blood pressure medication, told her to have neck x-rays taken and recheck in two weeks. She returned for recheck. The Doctor changed her blood pressure medication and told her to recheck in two months. She collapsed at her home two weeks later and died. She donated her body to science and the cause of her cerebral bleed was not stated in the hospital record. Counsel investigated and learned that her brain was preserved and obtained an autopsy of the brain prior to litigation. The autopsy revealed a classic cerebral aneurysm.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


IMPROPER SURGICAL TECHNIQUE CAUSES MASSIVE BLEED, COMA AND RENAL FAILURE DURING OUTPATIENT SURGERY
Summary: The plaintiff suffered permanent, debilitating injuries as a result of complications following a routine outpatient gynecologic procedure. These complications include uterine perforation, avulsion of the right iliac artery and vein, transection of the right ureter and hypotension, resulting in multiple organ dysfunction, including respiratory failure, renal failure, and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. Emergency surgery was performed at a different hospital. The patient remained comatose for several weeks. She underwent additional abdominal surgery and catheter placement. She required kidney dialysis and, ultimately, a kidney transplant.
Outcome: A settlement was reached pre-suit. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement


IMPROPER SURGICAL TECHNIQUE USED DURING OUTPATIENT GALLBLADDER SURGERY RESULTS IN PERMANENT INJURY OF 26-YEAR OLD WOMAN
Summary: The plaintiff, age 26, was admitted as an outpatient for surgical removal of her gallbladder. The surgical procedure, known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, was performed by the Doctor and lasted for approximately one hour and twenty-five minutes. On December 30, she was discharged from the hospital. On January 2, she was readmitted with complaints of persistent abdominal pain in the right upper quadrant, vomiting and dehydration. She developed abdominal distension due to fluid accumulation.
On January 5, at 4:00 p.m., the patient was transferred to another hospital in Tulsa and she underwent a complicated emergency surgery to repair numerous and egregious errors made by the Doctor. During the surgery, 2,000 cc of bile was found within the abdominal cavity. The bile streamed from the biliary ducts severed by the Doctor. She underwent extensive surgery out of state and continues to suffer incapacitating pain and permanent injury. It was discovered that prior to his treatment of the woman, at least one hospital had suspended, limited and/or terminated this Doctor's medical staff privileges as a result of injury to patients during laparoscopic gallbladder surgery.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ADOLESCENT'S DIABETES
Summary: On the afternoon of October 18, a young man, age 17, presented to the emergency room. He suffered from non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. He was evaluated at the emergency room by the Doctor, who recorded that the plaintiff was dehydrated, that he had an elevated blood sugar and admitted him to the hospital. The Doctors' documented working diagnosis was peptic ulcer disease and dehydration. His treatment consisted of administration of fluids and insulin.
During the night of October 18, the young man became increasingly restless. The nurse observed that he had rapid respirations and was mumbling to himself. The doctor contacted the defendant, who agreed to accept the young man as his patient. He was diagnosed with acute diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and acute dehydration. He was given three units of insulin IV push and admitted to the intensive care unit. Just after midnight, the young man went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 1:22 a.m. An autopsy was performed and confirmed that he had died of "cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to profound ketoacidosis/dehydration secondary to diabetes mellitus."
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


IMPROPER SURGICAL TECHNIQUE AND FAILED MEDICAL DEVICE CAUSES SERIOUS INJURY TO 34-YEAR OLD WOMAN IN OUTPATIENT SURGERY
Summary: On July 11, plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for elective outpatient laparoscopic tubal ligation. The surgery was performed by the defendant. During the procedure, plaintiff's iliac vein was severed and her sigmoid colon was perforated partly due to hospital error and partly due to medical device malfunction. After an extensive hospitalization, she recovered but was unable to ever return to her chosen profession as a nurse aid at a home health center.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


CHILD ADMINISTERED EXCESSIVE IV FLUIDS DURING OUTPATIENT DENTAL PROCEDURE AND DIES
Summary: Max Medlin, age 3, underwent routine dental surgery at W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital. During the surgery and in the post-operative recovery phase, Max was administered excessive fluids. Max was increasingly lethargic and swollen for several hours. Max's mother repeatedly complained to the nurses regarding Max's appearance but was told only that it was normal. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Paul Carnes, failed to check on the status of his patient post-operatively. Max continued to deteriorate but his mother was told that Max was ready for discharge. Shortly thereafter, Max stopped breathing. Dr. Carnes then came to see Max and ordered Max life flighted to a Tulsa Hospital.
Max was already clinically brain dead from the fluid accumulation causing cerebral edema. Max's organs were donated and life support was terminated.
Outcome: Non-jury trial in federal court in the Eastern District of Oklahoma. Judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.


FAILURE TO PROPERLY INTERPRET EKG RESULTING IN WOMAN'S DEATH FROM HEART ATTACK
Summary: Patient presented to Clinic complaining of chest pain, diaphoresis, and other symptoms classically associated with heart attack. An EKG was taken but misread. The patient later collapsed and died at the hospital.
Outcome: A settlement was reached pre-suit. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


IMPROPER SURGICAL TECHNIQUE DURING OUTPATIENT GALLBLADDER SURGERY INJURES YOUNG WOMAN
Summary: Patient underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The cystic duct was injured in surgery. The patient complained of pain, fever, and distension post-operatively. Bile peritonitis developed and she underwent repair surgery at a different hospital.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO USE STERILE TECHNIQUE DURING COSMETIC SURGERY AND TIMELY TREAT RESULTING INFECTION RESULTS IN WOMAN'S DEATH
Summary: Woman underwent cosmetic surgery at doctor's office and contracted a streptococcal infection allegedly due to lack of sterility during the surgery. She repeatedly called the doctor's office over the weekend complaining of diarrhea, nausea, and weakness. The doctor instructed his patient to take pain medication and to come to his office in the morning. The patient complied. The doctor kept her in the office for over ten hours and administered fluids and anacin to his patient. She went into shock and was taken to the hospital by the doctor in his private car. She died late in the night of streptococcal pneumonia.
Outcome: Pre-suit mediation was unsuccessful. However, the day after the lawsuit was filed, the case settled for a confidential amount.


FAILURE TO MONITOR SURGERY EQUIPMENT DURING PROCEDURE RESULTS IN DEATH OF 41-YEAR OLD MAN
Summary: Man underwent cardiopulmonary bypass at a hospital during which the anesthesiologist reportedly left the OR leaving the perfusionist technician in charge. The anesthesia equipment miscalibrated and improper medications were administered to the patient causing a global brain injury and death.
Outcome: Just after the litigation was filed, the case settled in mediation and the terms are confidential.


MISPLACED LAB RESULTS LEAD TO SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS
Summary: Female, age 28, presented to the emergency room with complaints of a sore throat and pain in her upper right leg. Lab work was done, but the results misplaced in another patient's chart. This patient was believed to have had normal test results and was discharged from the emergency room. Overnight, she became very ill, lost consciousness, and her skin began splitting. She was immediately returned to the hospital and was diagnosed with streptococcus fasciitis, which was discovered to be present when she went to the ER earlier and the correct lab results were reviewed.
Outcome: A settlement was reached with both defendants. The terms of the settlements are protected by confidentiality agreements.


SURGICAL MISTAKE CAUSES BRAIN INJURY IN 10-MONTH OLD BABY
Summary: A 10-month old boy underwent aortic valvuloplasty by cardiologist for treatment of mild aortic stenosis. During the procedure, the doctor perforated the baby's left ventricle and failed to recognize the perforation for 28 minutes. The baby suffered substantial and irreversible brain injury.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


IMPROPER SURGICAL TECHNIQUE DURING GALLBLADDER SURGERY RESULTS IN INJURY TO WOMAN
Summary: Female underwent laparoscopic gallbladder surgery at the hospital. The surgeon removed a section of the patient's bile duct. Bile leaked from the patient's incisions for several weeks and the doctor inserted drainage tubes but failed to detect the seriousness of his surgical error. His patient was finally transferred to Tulsa and had a successful surgical repair.
Outcome: A settlement was reached pre-suit. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


PRESCRIPTION MISFILL RESULTS IN NEAR FATAL BLEED TO ELDERLY WOMAN
Summary: Customer's regular medicine was negligently misfilled with the blood thinner coumadin. She unknowingly took the blood thinner twice a day for 28 days and was found by her sister lying in a pool of blood and incoherent. She was rushed to her doctor and admitted to the hospital. After several days, she was stabilized and released.
Outcome: A settlement was reached just prior to trial. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


SURGICAL ERROR DURING SINUS SURGERY RESULTS IN DEATH OF MAN
Summary: Man underwent outpatient sinus surgery. During the surgery, the doctor severed the patient's carotid artery, which was not close in proximity to the surgical site. Mr. Weaver suffered a massive cerebral/subarachnoid bleed and died.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


SURGICAL ERROR DURING SINUS SURGERY RESULTS IN PARTIAL BLINDNESS AND PERMANENT PAIN AND DISFIGUREMENT
Summary: Woman underwent routine sinus surgery and the doctor negligently lost his surgical landmarks and severed the patient's conjunctiva and exited via her lower eye lid causing the orbital bone to shatter. The patient suffered permanent vision loss, disfigurement, and tremendous pain.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


MISPLACED ENDOTRACHEAL TUBE RESULTS IN HORRIFIC DEATH OF 93-YEAR OLD WOMAN
Summary: Patient was a self-sufficient, healthy, and energetic widow who fainted after giving a lecture at a church conference. An ambulance was called to the scene and a breathing tube was placed. At the hospital, an x-ray was taken to verify tube placement, which revealed that the tube was pushed into the right mainstem bronchus. The patient began to show signs of decreasing oxygenation and she began to swell. The doctor misread the x-ray and did not adjust the breathing tube. The patient was being transported to another facility when she died. The patient was grossly disfigured due to her tissues being overinflated.
Outcome: A settlement was reached during discovery. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO TREAT FETAL DISTRESS RESULTS IN DEATH OF INFANT
Summary: Patient went into labor and after several hours began showing signs that the baby was in distress. She asked for and signed a consent to have a caesarean section. However, this was not done and labor continued for several more hours. The baby was born after several applications of a vacuum extractor device. The baby suffered significant brain injury as a result of the events of labor and died within a month of life.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO TIMELY PERFORM CEASARIAN SECTION RESULTS IN DEATH OF INFANT
Summary: Patient became pregnant and was treated by a physician and nurse mid-wife. Labor was induced and the baby evidenced signs of fetal distress. The nurse mid-wife notified the doctor who ordered a "stat" c-section but took over an hour to arrive at the hospital. The baby was stillborn.
Outcome: The case settled in mediation. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


FAILURE TO MONITOR MEDICATION RESULTS IN PERMANENT IRREVERSIBLE BRAIN INJURY IN TEENAGE BOY
Summary: Teenage boy sustained a head injury in an automobile accident. Surgery was a success and he was recovering miraculously. He was self-sufficient, talkative, and preparing for discharge from his therapy at the physical rehabilitation hospital. He was prescribed the medication Dilantin to prevent seizures. The medical providers failed to appreciate that they had prescribed too much of this medication and failed to monitor the Dilantin levels through simple blood tests. The patient became toxic from the Dilantin, grew dizzy, and fell in his hospital room landing directly on the site of his previous head injury.
The patient is in a persistent and permanent vegetative state and is currently being cared for by his parents.
Outcome: A settlement was reached with all defendants. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


58-YEAR OLD MAN DIES AS A RESULT OF A SURGICAL MISTAKE
Summary: Surgeon performed colon-rectal surgery on a 58-year old man, for treatment of rectal prolapse. The doctor failed to create a proper anastomosis that permitted fecal material to seep into patient's abdominal cavity. This went undetected by the medical providers and the patient developed fatal peritonitis.
Outcome: A settlement was reached pre-suit. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


SURGEON INJURES PATIENT'S OPTIC NERVE DURING SURGERY RENDERING PATIENT PARTIALLY BLIND
Summary: Woman underwent outpatient sinus surgery and the doctor injured the patient's optic nerve. The patient lost vision in one eye and the vision in her other eye is impaired.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.


WOMAN SUFFERS FATAL BLEED AFTER SURGERY FROM WRONGFUL ADMINISTRATION OF EXCESSIVE DOSE OF BLOOD THINNERS
Summary: A forty-two year old woman underwent abdominal surgery for a perforated ulcer. After surgery, a nurse administered a blood thinner to clear her central catheter. Use of this particular blood thinner in this clinical setting was not indicated according to the safety warnings sent to the hospitals by the drug manufacturer and the Federal Drug Administration. The hospital failed to heed the warning and administered a dose 25x in excess of the customary dose used prior to the warnings being issued. Within hours, the patient bled to death.
Outcome: A settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement are protected by a confidentiality agreement.

Highlighted Criminal Cases


United States v. Randall Erwin
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma
Case No. 6:08-cr-00033-FHS

Summary: Randall Erwin served 12 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1992 through 2004. Over the years Mr. Erwin rose in his level of rank and respect amongst his peers. During the 2002-2004 legislative sessions Mr. Erwin served as Chairman on the Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services. In 2008 Mr. Erwin was indicted on seven counts related to allegations that as an Oklahoma Representative Mr. Erwin conspired to illegally funnel Oklahoma state money to private businesses owned by Steve Phipps in exchange for "kickbacks". A five-day trial was held from April 20-24, 2009.
Outcome: On April 24, 2009, the jury found Mr. Erwin not guilty on all counts of the indictment.


United States v. Harold E. Staples, III
United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
Case No. 91-CR-119-001-C
Prosecutor: United States Attorney

Defendant: Harold E. Staples, III
Summary: The defendant was charged with Production of a False Document, False Statement to a licensed firearm dealer, possession of a firearm after a prior felony conviction, use of an unauthorized access device and conspiracy. The case was tried to a jury.
Outcome: Acquittal


State of Texas v. James Mack
Dallas County District Court
Plaintiff: Dallas County Prosecutor
Defendant: James Mack
Summary: Mr. Mack was accused of First Degree Murder. At trial, the defense was able to show that an eyewitness to the shooting had falsely identified him as the shooter in the victim's murder.
Outcome: Acquittal


United States of America v. Harold E. Staples, III
United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
Case No. 90-CR-75-C
United States Supreme Court Case No. 92-1441
Prosecutor: United States Attorney
Defendant: Harold E. Staples, III
Experts: William Fleming - Firearms Dealer
Charles Fagg - Firearms Expert
Summary: Mr. Staples' home was searched by the ATF and the Jenks Police Department. Two firearms were seized. An M-1 Carbine used in World War II by Mr. Staples' father, which was being kept in Mr. Staples' home. The officers also seized an AR-15 rifle. Seven months later, Mr. Staples was indicted for knowingly possessing unregistered machine guns. The AR-15 was defective even in semi-automatic mode. The AR-15 was capable of firing "automatically" by malfunction. The law governing the case provided that possession of a machine gun was unlawful regardless of whether one knew it was a machine gun. At trial, the jury convicted Mr. Staples. He was sentenced to probation for five (5) years and fined. The Defendant appealed to the Tenth Circuit. The Court of Appeals upheld the conviction finding that the defendant's knowledge as to the characteristics of the weapon was not an element of the crime which the government must prove.
Outcome: This firm appealed the conviction to the United States Supreme Court with the central issue in the appeal concerning there being a lack of mens rea, or knowledge requirement, in the statute under which Mr. Staples was convicted. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed the conviction. The trial court then entered a judgment of acquittal.


State of Oklahoma v. Barbara Lynn Bell
Tulsa County District Court
Case No. DF-93-0479
Prosecutors: Jay Holtzhauser, Deputy District Attorney
S.M. Fallis, Jr., Special Appointed Prosecutor
Defendant: Barbara Lynn Bell
Experts: Dr. George Brenner, Pharmacology
Dr. Reese Price, Shock and Trauma
Ron Singer, Criminology
Richard Stengle, Firearm Forensics
Arthur Linville, Criminology
Summary: On January 22, 1993, Dr. David Bell was shot once in the forehead at his home. The next day, his wife, Barbara Bell was jailed and charged with first-degree murder. Prior to this firm's involvement, Barbara Bell was tried and convicted for second-degree murder by a jury and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Thereafter, Mrs. Bell served two years in prison before the State Court of Criminal Appeals, in 1995, overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial based on a "presumed guilty" instruction routinely offered by the trial judge. Her case was one of many convictions that were overturned on this basis. The State sought re-trial of the matter and this firm was retained to defend her at the second trial.
Outcome: On the Saturday before the retrial was to begin, the State offered a plea. Mrs. Bell accepted and entered an Alford plea. Mrs. Bell plead to first degree manslaughter and was sentenced by the Judge to an 18 year prison term, giving Mrs. Bell credit for 4 1/2 years of time already served. The Judge ordered the remainder of the sentence (13 1/2 years) to be served as unsupervised probation.


United States of America v. C. Douglas Wood, M.D.
United States District Court for the Easter District of Oklahoma
Case No. CR-98-003-S
Plaintiff: C. Douglas Wood, M.D.
Summary: In one of the few criminal prosecutions of a physician for wrongful death of his patient, Dr. Wood was called to defend himself to a charge of first degree murder. Dr. Wood was indicted for allegedly causing the death of his patient "willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and maliceaforethought" by injecting him with potassium chloride (KCL). Dr. Wood had previously operated on the patient after he presented to the emergency room for a perforated viscous. Dr. Wood treated the patient over the following week. Dr. Wood defended his actions on the morning in question by stating that he was treating an emergent condition that required extreme measures. The government called four medical experts in the matter and the defense called three local physicians to testify on behalf of Dr. Wood.
Outcome: Dr. Wood was convicted of the lesser-included offense of involuntary manslaughter. The conviction was appealed to the Tenth circuit court of Appeals, which overturned the conviction and remanded the case for re-trial. Prior to re-trial, the government dismissed the case and did not proceed further.


United States of America v. Howe
United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
Case No. 97-CR-05-C
Plaintiff: United States of America
Defendant: Carol Howe
Summary: Commencing in August 1994, Carol Howe entered into a contract with the USA through its agents at the BATF to act as an informant. The BATF agents specifically requested Carol to associate with suspected members of the underground white resistance movement to enable her to witness and record their activities and gather documents, books, papers, propaganda and other materials. BATF agents installed video surveillance equipment in Carol's home and equipped her with audio recording equipment for her person and telephone. Carol accumulated and provided the BATF with volumes of written materials, numerous audio recordings, videotapes, hand-written notes, maps, diagrams, drugs, and components for the construction of explosive devises. After the Oklahoma City Bombing, and when her name appeared on the witness list for defense in USA v. Timothy McVeigh, Howe was indicted on three counts: conspiracy, possession of materials for making a pipe bomb and willfully making a bomb threat.
Outcome: Acquittal.


State of Oklahoma v. James A. Hogue
Tulsa County District Court
Case No. CF-97-1766
Plaintiff: State of Oklahoma
Defendant: James A. Hogue
Summary: The State filed 22 counts of embezzlement by Trustee and 1 count of caretaker abuse, neglect, financial exploitation against former District Court Judge James Hogue and his wife, Kathleen Hogue in connection with their management of the Estate of Jewell Levone Young. In a sensational case, over 900 veniremen were summoned- the most in the history of Tulsa county. Trial took approximately four weeks and was closely followed in the press.
Outcome: Acquittal.


State of Oklahoma v. Jamie Nichole Chambers
Tulsa County District Court
Case No. CF-98-1111
Plaintiff: State of Oklahoma
Defendant: Jamie Nicole Chambers
Summary: On August 22, 1997, Jamie Chambers was charge with First Degree Murder during the commission of a Felony, for the March 4, 1996 shooting of Michelle Hendrix by Steven White. Jamie reported her involvement with the crime two days after the event and fully cooperated with the authorities during their investigation. It was her testimony that directly led to the identification and arrest of the shooter, Steven White. The authorities initially labeled her as an innocent bystander to the crime, but after almost eighteen months of public pressure against the District Attorney's office, murder charges were eventually filed. The charges against Ms. Chambers were later reduced to Accessory to First Degree Murder. Because Ms. Chambers was 17-years old at the time of the alleged offense, she was first certified in the juvenile court of Tulsa County to stand trial to the charge as an adult. On April 5, 1998, Ms. Chambers pled pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970), meaning that she maintained her innocence, but would accept a court imposed sentence. The court of Tulsa County sentenced Ms. Chambers to fifteen years incarceration. Ms. Chambers was later allowed to withdraw her plea after it was uncovered that the sentencing judge had an undisclosed conflict of interest. Ms. Chambers' case was tried to a jury in April of 2000. The defense successfully argued that Ms. Chambers lacked the specific mens rea to commit the offense.
Outcome: Acquittal.


State of Oklahoma v. Charles Elliot
Tulsa County District Court
Case No. CF 2001-1167
Plaintiff: State of Oklahoma
Defendant: Charles Elliot
Summary: On October 26, 2001, after a week long trial, a Tulsa County jury acquitted Charles W. Elliot of first degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a Kellyville man, Russell Holt. Charles Elliot did not know Mr. Holt. Rather, Janet Elliot, Mr. Elliot's estranged wife, had enlisted her 17-year old boyfriend and his "very large friend" (Mr. Holt), to beat up her husband. Evidence of cell phone records confirmed that Janet Elliot and her boyfriend made many calls to each other during the late hours in the days prior to the shooting. Janet Elliot and her boyfriend admitted they used methamphetamine together. Charles Elliot, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, retreated after pulling a gun from his pocket and fired a warning shot when Mr. Holt came aggressively toward him.
Outcome: Acquittal.

1989

$2.8 million jury verdict in medical negligence case, Tulsa County District Court.

1992

$4.5 million jury verdict in medical negligence case, Tulsa County District Court.

1992

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, including conspiracy and multiple substantive count indictment, United States of America v. Staples, United States District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma.

1993

Judgment of Acquittal on charge of murder, 1st degree, State of Texas v. Mack, State of Texas, Dallas.

1995

$250,000 jury verdict on soft tissue minor impact rear-end collision, Oklahoma County District Court.

1992

$1.5 million jury verdict in medical negligence case ($500,000 punitive damages against physicians) Creek County District Court.

1993

$210,000 jury verdict in auto/pedestrian case, Tulsa County District Court.

1994

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, United States of America v. Howe, United States District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma

1996

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, State of Oklahoma v. Hogue, District Court of Tulsa County, Oklahoma

2000

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, State of Oklahoma v. Jamie Nicole Chambers, District Court of Tulsa County, Oklahoma

1989

$2.8 million jury verdict in medical negligence case, Tulsa County District Court.

1992

$4.5 million jury verdict in medical negligence case, Tulsa County District Court.

1992

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, including conspiracy and multiple substantive count indictment, United States of America v. Staples, United States District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma.

1993

Judgment of Acquittal on charge of murder, 1st degree, State of Texas v. Mack, State of Texas, Dallas.

1995

$250,000 jury verdict on soft tissue minor impact rear-end collision, Oklahoma County District Court.

1992

$1.5 million jury verdict in medical negligence case ($500,000 punitive damages against physicians) Creek County District Court.

1993

$210,000 jury verdict in auto/pedestrian case, Tulsa County District Court.

1994

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, United States of America v. Howe, United States District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma

1996

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, State of Oklahoma v. Hogue, District Court of Tulsa County, Oklahoma

2000

Jury Verdict of Acquittal on all counts, State of Oklahoma v. Jamie Nicole Chambers, District Court of Tulsa County, Oklahoma