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Firm Secures $1.5 Million Settlement for Family of Victim Who Died Due to an Intubation Error

Type of action:
Medical malpractice wrongful death from anesthesiology error
Injuries alleged:
Hypoxic brain injury (resulting in death) after loss of oxygen during surgery
Settlement by mediation
The Honorable Robert L. Harris, Sr.
April 2013
Attorneys for plaintiff:
Richard N. Shapiro, Esq.
James C. Lewis, Esq.
Kevin Duffan, Esq.  
Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Denell F. Paralegal
Melissa K, Legal Assistant
Roz H. Paralegal
What happened:
A 58-year-old male with a medical history significant for prior cervical fusion and rheumatoid arthritis suffered a dislocation of a left hip prosthesis after a fall.  After presenting at the emergency room of a hospital located in the mid-Atlantic region, he was evaluated prior to the necessary orthopedic surgery required to re-socket the prosthetic hip.  
During surgery, several attempts using endotracheal intubation were made to secure his airway for oxygen, but ultimately the patient's airway and oxygen was lost and an emergency tracheostomy was performed.  Due to loss of oxygen, the patient suffered a global hypoxic brain injury as a result. After being released from intensive care, the plaintiff lingered on life support more than 2 weeks, and died during hospice care. He was survived by his wife and two adult children who were statutory beneficiaries.   
Legal strategy:
Our lawyer team conducted research on the applicable medical malpractice standards of care on anesthesiology and surgical issues, and ultimately retained three separate anesthesiology experts each who provided opinions that the medical standards of care had been violated. Also, we  arranged for a complete “private autopsy” by a pathologist which eliminated other potential causes of the brain injury and causes of hypoxia--other than the surgical emergency hypoxia. 
We sued multiple parties for medical malpractice and wrongful death claims, and ultimately numerous depositions were conducted of nursing staff and physicians with involvement in the treatment and care of our client, along with some expert witness depositions. 
Plaintiff's three medical experts, generally asserted that based on our client’s medical history and presentation, the plan implemented for securing his airway and oxygen flow during surgery was a breach of the standard of care.  Additionally, our injury lawyers obtained an economic report outlining both lost income and household services to the estate.
The parties sued denied any violation of medical standards of care, and claimed all best efforts were used under the emergency that was presented during surgery. All parties agreed to try to resolve the claims by voluntary mediation.  
The case settled for between $1.5 and $2 million, after a full day of mediation--about 60 days before trial.  Further details of the case and the parties involved remain sealed under a confidentiality agreement.