There has been a recent trial verdict report out of North Carolina by some fine personal injury/medical malpractice lawyers who represented an 11-year-old named Kaleb Davis and his family. Davis suffered an injury when a tree limb fell suddenly on his left shoulder. Doctors at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center gave the 11-year-old a drug called heparin, a blood thinner, because they were concerned about a blood clot in his shoulder area artery. Two days later the 11-year-old could not move his legs, and doctors realized he had bleeding in the area of his neck or cervical spinal cord. Imaging at the hospital showed that the tree limb had ripped and damaged the brachial plexus nerves of the spinal cord in that area. Eventually, the same doctors learned later that there was bleeding in the spinal cord as a result of the dosage of heparin he had been provided. Expert analysis showed that the heparin had caused the bleeding through the spinal cord in the area of his neck.
However, the mistreatment and malpractice of the young 11-year-old at this hospital was not over. The surgeons located a mass in his skull called a subdural hematoma, in association with this finding the orthopedic surgeons placed a halo around his head and needed to stabilize his head and spine. In this procedure, four screws are actually carefully inserted just barely into the skull to keep the halo in place. However, later imaging revealed that one of the four screws was screwed in almost ¾ of an inch too far, right in to the vital and sensitive tissue of the brain. One of the family’s medical expert orthopedic doctors testified that the screw had been turned about 36 one half turns too many, and evidence showed that it was likely that a medical resident under the supervision of a doctor, who had made the glaring mistake. The screw caused further bleeding inside the brain and a large hematoma, which cause the 11-year-old to have a stroke, seizures and initially to be unable to breathe or eat. The 11-year-old was later discharged from the hospital in diapers and a wheelchair. The 11-year-old, Kaleb Davis suffered catastrophic injuries, nearly all from harm of negligent physicians and/or residents.
Apparently, as a result of the medical screw inserted three quarters of an inch too far inside his brain tissue, the 11-year-old suffered severe cognitive impairments from this brain injury. He will unlikely be able to live independently or ever working a regular job without special conditions. The various defendants who were sued in Forsyth County, North Carolina, forced a jury trial in late 2007, but ultimately a 12 person North Carolina State jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the young man, and against one or more physicians at the medical center. The verdict was for just over $10 million in compensatory damages. Attorneys Cliff Britt and John Jillson represented the family and did a fine job in the face of every potential defense raised by the medical center and doctors who denied any responsibility for ruining this young boy’s life. Anyone who questions the value of having qualified personal injury lawyers needs to simply look at the facts of this case and understand that medical mistakes and medical nightmares can and do occur, even where well-meaning doctors and hospitals are the defendants. In a setting involving surgery and anesthesiology, it is obvious that any patient, much less a minor, has no idea what the expert standards are for surgical procedures that go wrong or how to begin to study the hospital records. How does a family faced with this tragedy begin to find well qualified doctors that will analyze whether malpractice occurred? This area of the law is one of the most important areas to find qualified personal injury lawyers to represent you or a family member. The medical errors that occur every week are mind-boggling.
Our law firm ( www.HSInjurylaw.com ) has a long history of representing medical malpractice and medical mistake victims, including those injured, as well as those suffering wrongful death of family member due to medical mistakes (mainly in Virginia, West Virginia North Carolina). Please see our case results on this website, send us a quick contact form, and also visit our video library which includes medical malpractice FAQ’s if you have questions about whether our law firm can help you with your personal injury or wrongful death arising from a medical mistake, surgical error, medical malpractice, or nursing home abuse or malpractice.