It’s more common than you may think. A patient is sent home from the emergency room with a diagnosis of stomach flu when it really is something far more serious. A doctor misinterprets symptoms that point to something potentially life-threatening. A radiologist misreads a mammogram, or a pathologist misses something on a sample. When the truth finally comes out, it can be tragic.
Everyone makes mistakes. But when you’re a medical professional, the stakes are considerably higher, and errors can lead to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment or no treatment at all, with devastating results. A 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety reported that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America, affecting between 210,000 and 440,000 patients annually. Thousands more are disabled or injured as a result of medical malpractice.
At Duffy + Fulginiti, we have a great deal of experience in handling these cases. We work to uncover the truth, determine if the diagnosis was, indeed, negligent, and if there is reparation for you that can compensate for the error.
We have an established record of significant verdicts and settlements in cases of misdiagnosis, and bring you a host of other benefits, including:
- A panel of physicians, nurses and other healthcare experts who know how to interpret medical documentation and help us build a strong case for you.
- A special level of trust, care and compassion in understanding what you and your family are facing. We have a special bond with each and every one of our past clients, and those relationships remain strong long after the case has been won.
- The confidence in knowing that if we represent you, it is because we believe we can win. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means if we are not successful, we receive no payment at all. When you win, we win.
VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS
Here are just a few examples of significant results we have obtained for our clients:
- In Campbell, Duffy + Fulginiti won a $21,400,000 verdict on behalf of a diabetic man for treatment he received in the emergency room of Temple University Hospital. When Ronald Campbell was taken to the hospital in October of 2007, he was administered glucagons and glucopaste by emergency medical technicians, then discharged to family members, who found him unresponsive in bed the next morning. The defense argued that the treatment and discharge was proper, as Mr. Campbell had been brought to the hospital 11 times for high or low blood sugar levels in the five years prior (including one visit two days earlier), and that he failed to properly manage his diabetes by not complying with medical advice. However, the firm successfully argued that diabetics who suffer from repeated episodes of hypoglycemia develop a condition termed 'hypoglycemic unawareness' in which the brain becomes less sensitive to lower and lower glucose levels.
- A young professional male visited a hospital ER in the region complaining of back pain, chest pain, headache and cough. Even though a number of tests indicated emergency surgery was needed that could not be performed at that hospital, the hospital delayed the transfer of the patient to another hospital and failed to include critical test results when he was finally transferred. Sadly, the patient died. The defendants argued that underlying medical issues, including Marfan syndrome and mitral valve prolapse, were contributing factors out of their control, that the patient was in significant end-organ dysfunction upon arrival and that he would not have survived the surgery. However, Duffy + Fulginiti obtained a $7,500,000 settlement for his surviving wife and young child.
- A confidential settlement of $4,500,000 was obtained from a teaching hospital and attending physician who failed to recognize that an expectant mother had had a recent outbreak of herpes. The doctor permitted the mother to deliver the child vaginally, exposing the child to the herpes virus, which caused severe cerebral palsy. The child was 15 when the mother first approached Duffy + Fulginiti, after another attorney had reviewed the case and turned it down.
- In Smith, Duffy + Fulginiti won a $4,500,000 verdict against Misericordia Hospital, finding the hospital negligent in the testing and treatment of David Smith, ultimately resulting in his death. Mr. Smith was taken by his mother to Misericordia, and ultimately died of an aortic dissection after the hospital staff failed to properly treat or diagnose his condition. The jury returned its verdict after a two-week-long trial. The verdict was reported as one of the largest verdicts in Pennsylvania that year.
- A confidential settlement of $3,800,000 was attained for a boy who, 28 hours after birth, developed necrotizing endocolitis (NEC). Failure to properly diagnose the NEC resulted in a decrease in oxygen saturation that ultimately caused an anoxic injury and cerebral palsy to the boy.
- Duffy + Fulginiti secured a $3,500,000 settlement in a case where a 39-year-old man in good health was brought to the emergency room with complaints of a headache so severe that he could not stand or function at work. After about an hour in the ER, he felt better. Without ordering a CAT scan or neurological consultation, the ER discharged the man. Weeks later, he collapsed on the street and was rushed to the hospital, where imaging showed a brain lesion responsible for his headaches had ruptured, leaving him with irreversible and permanent brain damage. He never fully regained consciousness and died 3 years later.
- A confidential settlement of $2,250,000 was reached for a baby with cerebral palsy who was delivered by a midwife and nurses who failed to recognize the significance of deceleration and drop in the baseline on the fetal monitor.
- When a young man in his 30’s with a history of alcohol abuse was found unconscious at the apartment of a friend, he was brought to an area emergency room for treatment. While still in the ER, he had a series of seizures, and his condition deteriorated to the point where he was brought to the ICU and placed on a ventilator. Though he became well enough to be discharged to a rehabilitation facility, the damage had been done. His brain was injured to the point of having to re-learn basically every functional task and he now requires 24/7 supervision. Though the defendants claimed that the brain damage was from alcohol poisoning, Duffy + Fulginiti brought in experts who testified that the brain damage was from hypoglycemia, which could have been easily treated and prevented brain injury. The case settled for $1,250,000.
- In Gregory, a 28-year-old father went to the hospital after waking up disoriented in the middle of the night. During three successive hospital stays, he continued to have impairment. Duffy + Fulginiti established that physicians missed symptoms indicating a nervous system infection and obtained a jury award of $1.1 million.
- A 36-year-old woman went to the emergency room with difficulty breathing. Though initial testing showed she was in acute hypoxic respiratory failure, she was kept in the ER overnight as her conditions worsened, but never admitted to the hospital. The next day, while still in the ER, the woman died. Though the hospital argued the woman’s complicated medical history (including asthma, pneumonia, and obesity) was the cause, Duffy + Fulginiti secured a confidential settlement of $850,000 for the family she left behind.
- A Duffy + Fulginiti client sought care at a Philadelphia emergency room for pain in his left foot, left hip and left shoulder. Tests were done and the client was discharged with a diagnosis of shoulder pain, toe fracture and hub/thumb bruise/contusion. However, when the X-Rays were officially read after the discharge, the radiologist found an irregularity that was never communicated to the patient. The delay in treatment resulted in permanent shoulder problems for the client, for whom the firm obtained a $500,000 settlement.