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The Supreme Court struck down contentious med-mal ruling. 


Indiana Supreme Court struck down a highly disputed medical malpractice case while concurrently adopting a recent court of appeals opinion.  An $8M settlement was reached to compensate 43 patients who were victims of a Michigan cancer doctor who allegedly treatment patients unnecessarily and billed fraudulently.  The settlement brought to an end the lawsuit that also named 3 different healthcare hospitals.


What happened?


An attorney who represented several of the victims, stated that the medical malpractice laws in Michigan impede victims from collecting significant damages, capping each claim at $438,000 with no exclusions even for serious cases. 








$30M Medical Malpractice Settlement Against Doctor who worked at Chicago Hospital. 




A doctor who performed several experimental surgeries on a 6-year old patient settled a medical malpractice lawsuit for $30M.


The child had irreversible brain injury and cerebral palsy after the final and 25th surgery.  The doctor was on the faculty of the University Illinois at Chicago and also worked for Chicago based Rush University Medical Center.    The settlement ranks as the fourth largest patient in Illinois for a medical malpractice case involving a child.


The child was born with a leak in his esophagus and other conditions which were not life threatening.  The lawsuit alleged that the doctor was negligent when he performed a second operation less than a month after the first surgery to repair the leak which was conducted the day after the child was born. 




During the next 17 months, the doctor operated 24 times on the baby, including placing and replacing a stint in his esophagus.  The lawsuit alleged using a stint to fix in the child’s esophagus was an unproven method.  The final surgery consisted of the doctor suturing device to attempt to repair the esophagus which was inappropriate. 








In a parent’s wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit arising from the death of a 25-year old daughter given intravenous fluid without proper monitoring, a Tennessee Jury awarded $3.25M.




A 25-year old was taken to the emergency room at a medical center complaining of nausea, vomiting and syncope.  She had low blood pressure and complained of head, chest, and abdominal pain.  She was initially treated with intravenous fluid medication and was admitted the following day to the hospital. 

The administration of intravenous fluid continued.  The patient was exposed to an excessive amount of isotonic fluid.  She continued to complain of pain, nausea, shortness of breath, and chest pain for about 6 hours after being admitted to the hospital.  She was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m.  It was alleged that her heart and lungs were overdosed by a viral infection that inflamed the tissue around her heart and the amount of fluids she received. 




The parents filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful death and negligence.  The claim was filed against the treating ER doctor and admitting physician.  After the 10th day of trial, the jury found that the hospital was responsible and awarded damages of $3.25M.





A reckless campaign ad results in $16M settlement


A couple was awarded a $16M settlement award had sought a natural child birth.  They claimed that the hospital’s advertising campaign was recklessly fraudulent and the medical care was negligent. 


The lawsuit of the couple stated that during the woman’s labor, she expected to be able to rest on her hands and knees.  Instead, the hospital staff restrained her forcing her to lie on her back.  Furthermore, a nurse applied pressure on the baby’s head to postpone the delivery which was alleged in the lawsuit. 


Consequently, the woman sustained debilitating nerve damage that causes her significant pain.  The jury awarded the couple $10M in compensatory damages, along with $6M for punitive damages.







A Philadelphia jury found the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania negligent in April 2016, had a 65% liability for staff members failure to notice a woman’s detrimental reaction to an anti-coagulating drug Heparin.  The attending physician in the case was also found 35% liable. 




The drug was administered to treat a benign brain tumor and caused the victim to suffer a catastrophic brain injury and paralysis.  The woman was awarded $44.1M in the resulting medical malpractice lawsuit.





The Myth of Frivolous Medical Malpractice Lawsuits




On an average, most medical malpractice lawsuits require two to three years of litigation.  This is a process that is very complex concerning legal issues and very expensive.  Most medical malpractice lawyers who filed medical malpractice lawsuits do so after giving it serious consideration.  Medical errors are the third leading cause of the United States and kill more than 400,000 people according to the Journal of Patient Safety.  One of the most common errors is caused by miscommunication. 


Some of the reasons for medical errors are attributable to increased production demands, physicians are expected to give quality care in adverse working conditions, with decreased staff and a shortage of physicians that leads to extreme fatigue.  This information was cited in the Journal of Patients Safety.


Physicians and insurance companies, in the 1980’s, claimed they were being driven out of business because of frivolous medical malpractice suits and they demanded tort reform.  There is the myth that many doctors are leaving the practice because of frivolous medical malpractice suits. 




As a result of the call for tort reform, caps have been placed on the amount of money a patient can receive in a medical malpractice suits.  The patients are not aware of these caps until they are actually harmed and are required to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 






 In the U.S.A. medical errors are the third leading cause of death. 


After heart disease and cancer, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States according to a study published by the British Medical Journal.  


Based on death rates between 2000-2008 which included data from four studies, the medical errors were determined oto be the third leading cause of death in America.  Based upon 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths were derived from medical errors which was based upon hospital admissions.  this means that 9.5% of annual deaths in America are attributable to medical mistakes. 









When a baby’s head and shoulders are too large to pass thru the birth canal, this is called Cephalopelvic Disportion (CPD) which is a labor complication.   Physicians and staff must act within the standard of care when CPD occurs. 

When are mothers at risk for CPD?



A mother may be at risk for CPD if the baby is too big because of the following:


               1.            Gestational diabetes

               2.            This is not the mother’s first pregnancy

               3.            Not being delivered until past the due date


Symptoms of CPD


The doctor should be aware of any symptoms that the baby is suffering from CPD because of the following:


1.            Abnormally Amniotic fluid.

2.            Large height because the distance between the pelvic bone and the top of the                                  uterus

3.            Signs of fetal distress because of low fetal heart rate or oxygen levels

4.            Longer than average labor






Hazards Causing Motorcycle Accidents


Motorcycle Lane Splitting


When a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped  or slowing moving cars, lane splitting occurs.  A common reason for motorcycle accidents in lane splitting occurs because a motorcycle is in close proximity to cars and cars don’t anticipate motorcycles passing them in slowed or stopped traffic. 


Alcohol Abuse and Speeding


Death or serious injuries are likely to occur in accidents entailing alcoholic consumption and speed.  The most dangerous condition for a motorcyclist is when cars are making left hand turns.  These accidents account for approximately 42% of all motorcycle accidents involving cars.  Usually, the car hits the motorcycle when the motorcycle is riding straight through an intersection, passing a car, or trying to overtake the car. 


Accidents between objects and Motorcycles


Motorcycle accidents with fixed objects amount to 25% of all motorcycle deaths.  This is especially true since the motorcycles have no protection.


Motorcycle Road Hazards


Potholes, dead animals, slick pavements and uneven heights of payments, and unexpected objects on the road presents serious safety problems to motorcyclists.  Always take extra precaution on roads under construction.  








Review this important information!


Perforated colon during abdominal surgery results in $2.8M Florida medical malpractice verdict


The patient had gone to the emergency room complaining of acute abdominal pain.  The hospital’s on-call surgeon determined that the patient needed gallbladder surgery that was scheduled for the next day. 


During the surgery, the surgeon perforated the man’s colon causing severe pain that required intravenous pain medical for three days, during which he had symptoms of bowel perforation that were not timely or properly diagnosed.  When the man was discharged from the hospital, he suffered renal failure, heart damage, and dementia.  He had hospitalizations and in-patient rehab stays over a period of six months.  Additionally, he had to have dialysis.  He sustained respiratory failure and required a tracheotomy.  After 12 months, he was on a ventilator.  Furthermore, he needed to have a pace maker implanted, had to have liver abscesses drained and required multiple revision surgeries for his Ileostomy.  Later, the patient suffered septic shock and was near death when he underwent surgery with a second surgeon who discovered the colon perforation.  The second surgeon removed approximately two liters of feces and blood from the abdomen.  This required the removal of a large section of his colon, creating an Ileostomy.   The Ileostomy cannot be reversed and the man will pass feces into a bag for the remainder of his life. 


Overall conclusion?


A Florida medical malpractice jury awarded the Plaintiff $9.2M against the surgeon who perforated his colon during abdominal surgery and failed to discover the perforation in a timely manner.








Read this information!


Inpatient suicide cases are the typical type of cases that could be medical malpractice.  These are people who were admitted to a psychiatric facility because they were at risk for suicide.  Typically, these types of cases the defendants are hospitals or psychiatrists.  These cases can be divided into medical malpractice suits or wrongful deaths.  The hospitals’ primary objective is to provide a safe environment to protect the patients.  Occasionally, when they are given the wrong observation level, they are not observed closely.  Thereafter, sometimes these patients kill themselves. 


Normally, when a patient injuries themselves, it is by hanging or other means.  Suicide cases proceed like any other medical malpractice lawsuit.  There are standard of care which need to be adhered to.  If there is a deviation from the standard of care in order to provide a safe environment to the patients, this breach of duty might constitute a medical malpractice lawsuit. 


In Conclusion?


Suicides are the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and approximately 42,000 die every year from self-inflicted harm, according to the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide.  The other thousands suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of suicide.  Two-thirds (2/3) of people who die, 66% of people who die by suicide in American are not being treated by physicians. 








Surgeon places wrong size prosthesis during shoulder replacement surgery


An orthopedic surgeon operated on a patient and the patient lost most of the use of his right arm, impacting his ability to work.  The orthopedic surgeon did a total shoulder replacement surgery on the 52 year old male patient.  The patient was a hydroelectric technician who earned approximately $46,000 per year when he had the surgery.  The orthopedic surgeon released the patient to return to work after four months with a 50 pound work restriction.  The patient could not perform his job. 


The patient had a shoulder surgery revised by a second orthopedic surgeon.


 The second orthopedic surgeon testified at trial that the prosthetic device implanted by the first orthopedic surgeon was placed too high which violated the standard of care for the area where the surgery was performed.   The second orthopedic surgeon testified that the standard of care for the placement of the humeral head prosthesis is 5 to 10 millimeters above the greater tuberosity.  In this case, the prosthesis was 25 millimeters above the great tuberosity.   After the second surgery, the patient could return to his job as a hydroelectric plant engineer.




They stipulated that if the patient worked until age 62, he would have earned an additional $385,624.  Defendant called two expert witnesses to testify that although the prosthesis was high, the joint was not overstuffed and that the surgeon used good medical judgment during the operation.  There was no testimony from the Defense on causation of the patient’s right shoulder rotator cuff problems.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the patient in the amount of $922,854.56 for the medical expenses and lost wages. 






Medical Damages in a Motorcycle Accident


If the other motorist was not liable for the motorcyclist’s accident, then the claim is not worth too much. 


Damages consist of injuries and other losses that the motorcyclist suffered in the accident.  Damages are normally higher if the injuries as significant. 


Determining Damages for Settlement and Trial


The motorcycle claim settlement value usually is considerably less than trial value.  The injured party tries to avoid the risk of losing at trial.  Calculating motorcycle accident damages.  The Plaintiffs are the motorcyclists past, present, and future lost earnings and lost earning capacity which includes employment benefits, medical bills, and other financial losses are called “Special Damages”.  Special Damages are capable of calculations since they are calculated to the dollar. 


The motorcyclist’s pain and suffering is not capable to the dollar.  Pain and suffering is left to the discretion of the jury.  Jurors’ common sense and background experience to determine pain and suffering.  In order to calculate lost earnings, you add the earnings and the employment benefits the motorcyclist would have lost.  Determining the future lost earnings capacity is more difficult.  It requires an Economic Expert to calculate present lost-future earning capacity to the jury because it involves present value. 









Brachial Plexus occurs when a baby is too large causing hurtful nerve damage in the form of a Brachial Plexus injury.  When nerve bundles, located on each side of the neck, are injured, then there is normally a Brachial Plexus injury.   Clavicle fractures, fractured humerous, sublexation of the cervical spine, and cervical cord injury makes up the majority of Brachial Plexus injuries.  Immediate medical treatment is extremely important for a baby who has suffered a Brachial Plexus birth injury.  Severe Brachial Plexus injuries consist of a torn nerve or a ruptured nerve. 


Brachial Plexus injuries are caused when the nerve root is torn from the spinal cord.   To suffer severe Brachial Plexus injuries, require additional medical treatment.  For instance, surgery may be required to repair the nerve, nerve graphs or nerve transfers may be done to treat the baby.  Babies with very severe cases might develop permanent injuries consisting of muscle contractions or tightening of the muscles. 






Tim Chelpaty Law Office

121 Wyatt Dr. Suite #2

Las Cruces, NM 88005


Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
9am to 5pm


Las Cruces

Silver City





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