Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Plastic Surgeon Leaves Sponge in Patient after Eye Lift!

Potential Plaintiff vs. Potential Defendant Cosmetic Surgery Physician and his P.C. Subject to non-disclosure Regarding Settlement $45,000.00 Settled during Notice of Intent period, pre-suit Facts: This is a medical malpractice action against potential defendant cosmetic surgery physician and his professional corporation. Plaintiff presented to defendant with asymmetry of the position of her eyebrows and severe hooding of her upper eyelids. Defendant formed a diagnosis of bilateral brow ptosis with asymmetry and bilateral upper lid blepharochalasis. She underwent surgery to correct this abnormality. On the weekend after surgery, Plaintiff’s eye swelled and she experienced ongoing pain. She presented to defendant, who diagnosed a staph infection and prescribed a Z-pack. Throughout, Plaintiff continued on antibiotic therapy as prescribed and continued to experience the consequences of infection and the failure of the wound to heal. Plaintiff presented to an infectious disease specialist, who informed her that an MRI revealed an encapsulation around the fluid above the left eye and indicated a biopsy of the encapsulation would be scheduled. Throughout this period of time, Plaintiff had undergone six aspirations of fluid at defendant’s office and one aspiration with ultrasound at another facility. Consultation was then made with a plastic surgeon, who performed surgery. During the operation, the physician explored the left temporal area and removed a sponge/foreign body in the left temporal area through a scalp incision. Additionally, the physician performed debridement and excision of necrotic skin approximately 3 mm on either side of the incision on the left upper eyelid, along with debridement and irrigation. Following surgery, defendant did apologize for overlooking the sponge and took responsibility. As a residual of the surgery performed, Plaintiff has residual scar tissue and is unable to close her eyelid completely. Following the procedure, she underwent multiple infusions for ongoing infection. In addition to an inability to completely close her eyes, Plaintiff continued to experience dry eyes, requires constant re-wetting with solutions, has difficulty focusing when reading, experiences fatigue and strain in the eye, fogginess, vision affecting her ability to read. Despite the defendant’s admission of responsibility and apology, the defendant’s insurance company failed to negotiate resolution before the Notice of Intent was served. Proceedings were therefore instituted, substantial time was spent accumulating documentation & review, and ultimately a resolution was achieved. The case was resolved in the Notice of Intent stage. Submitted by: CHARFOOS & CHRISTENSEN, P.C. DAVID W. CHRISTENSEN P11863 MARY PAT ROSEN P34992 Attorneys for Plaintiff 26622 Woodward Avenue, Suite 100 Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 399-0350 or (313) 875-8080 / Fax: (248) 399-0351

Thursday, September 28, 2017

63yr old woman dies after a colonoscopy!

Estate of Plaintiff’s Decedent vs. Defendant Physician State of Michigan, XXXXXXX County Circuit Court Subject to non-disclosure Regarding Settlement $190,000.00 dated 5/16/16 (Limited policy limits $200,000) Settled following case evaluation Facts: This is a medical malpractice claim involving the death of Plaintiff’s decedent, 63 years of age, due to complications after a colonoscopy procedure that should have been postponed, given her abdominal symptoms on the day of the procedure. By way of background, Plaintiff’s decedent presented to the hospital emergency department with an impression of ileus and/or colitis. She was admitted to the hospital, testing was performed, and during that admission she was attended to for the first time by defendant doctor. Her admission and discharge diagnosis was acute diverticulitis and upon discharge was instructed to follow up with defendant doctor for an elective colonoscopy to be scheduled approximately 6 weeks thereafter. Plaintiff’s decedent thereafter presented to defendant hospital for her elective colonoscopy. History and physical revealed that upon admission Plaintiff’s decedent had a distended, firm abdomen and had vomited brown fluid that morning. Defendant doctor was notified of those findings. Pre-anesthesia consult revealed the patient’s abdomen was distended as well. Both the triage nurse and the attending nurse informed defendant doctor of the distended, firm abdomen and vomiting of brown fluid. Defendant doctor, however, determined the abdomen was not firm, distention was subjective and he thought it was O.K. to proceed. The patient was taken to the colonoscopy procedure room. During the colonoscopy procedure, defendant doctor was unable to advance the scope because of an obstruction. A narrow stricture was found in the mid-sigmoid colon and the procedure was aborted. Upon withdrawal of the scope, Plaintiff’s decedent became hypoxic and aspirated. There was sudden onset of vomiting of black, foul fluid noted to be most likely stool. Plaintiff’s decedent became unresponsive. CPR was started, code was initiated. Plaintiff’s decedent was sent to the emergency department and then to ICU. Chest and abdominal CT revealed questionable ischemic severe in large bowel ileus loops of fluid-filled bowel. Plaintiff’s decedent remained in the hospital where she was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia. She suffered metabolic acidosis, remained on a ventilator with vasopressors to maintain blood pressure. Two days post-op she was diagnosed with ARDS secondary to aspiration pneumonia. On that day, she suffered cardiac arrest and died. Plaintiff relied on the expertise of a gastroenterologist and nurse to support Plaintiff’s decedent’s claim. The defendant doctor failed to appreciate and recognize the significance of the history of the firm and distended abdomen, failed to recognize the significance of the history of vomiting brown fluid, and failed to postpone the elective colonoscopy to assess the possibility of small bowel obstruction that was found on CT post-procedure. Had defendant doctor followed the applicable standards of care and postponed the elective colonoscopy to further assess prior to submitting the patient to this exam, the patient more likely than not would have survived her colonoscopy. At the time of her death, Plaintiff’s decedent was a wife of 34 years and mother to three daughters, one developmentally challenged, and who relied on the assistance of her mother. Submitted by: CHARFOOS & CHRISTENSEN, P.C. DAVID W. CHRISTENSEN P11863 MARY PAT ROSEN P34992 26622 Woodward Avenue, Suite 100 Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 399-0350 or (313) 875-8080 / Fax: (248) 399-0351

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Water parks can make for refreshing family fun on a hot summer day. After all, who doesn’t love the thrill of speeding down a twisting slide and making that huge splash into the cool water at the end? That’s why approximately 85 million people visited the nation’s 1,300 water parks in 2015. But in addition to being a huge source of summer fun, water parks can be a place of danger. While most visitors head to the parking lot at the end of the day wet and tired but intact, the lack of national safety oversight, the slipshod design and construction (and spotty inspection) of some park attractions, and the Inconsistent enforcement of local and state safety codes inevitably mean that some visitors could get hurt or even killed. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 4,200 people are taken to emergency rooms each year for scrapes, concussions, broken limbs, spinal injuries and other serious injuries sustained at water parks each year. Some visitors have even died from water park mishaps. So if you or a loved one is injured at a water park, it’s important to speak with an attorney to see what kinds of rights you might have. Depending on the situation, you might be able to hold the park’s operators (or the designer or builder of the ride) accountable. Take the case of Caleb Schwab, a 10-year-old boy who was killed at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City last summer while riding the “Verruckt” (the German word for “insane”). On this particular attraction, which the park advertised as the world’s tallest water slide, riders sit in multi-person rafts and experience what the park boasts is a “jaw dropping” 17-story drop — taller than the Statue of Liberty or Niagara Falls — at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour before being blasted back up a second hill and dropped another 50 feet into a pool. While specific details are sketchy, some observers say Caleb was ejected from his seat, possibly due to faulty harness straps, and an anonymous witness said he was decapitated in the accident. The ride had been re-engineered midway through construction when sandbags flew off during early tests, and after it opened riders had complained of shoulder straps breaking, forcing riders to grip handles with their legs to hold on. One of the park’s owners also apparently admitted that he and the designer based their design calculations on roller coasters, which don’t necessarily translate well to water slides. What’s more, state regulators hadn’t inspected the park since 2012, two years before the ride opened. Caleb’s family ultimately sued the park’s Texas-based owner and the manufacturer of the raft. The case settled out of court for a confidential amount, but the family still may seek to hold other parties responsible, including the designer of the ride. Another recent case involves a man who visited Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor and Outdoor Water Park in New Jersey in 2010. The visitor, Roy Steinberg, fell off a simulated surfboard on the park’s “FlowRider” attraction. When he fell, he struck his head on the bottom of the pool, causing a spinal cord injury that left him a partial paraplegic. When he sought to hold the park responsible, a trial court threw out his case because before entering the park Steinberg had apparently signed a liability waiver absolving the park of responsibility for any harm he might suffer as a result of its negligence. But the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned the decision. According to the court, the park had committed “gross negligence” by failing to post updated safety instruction signs provided by the manufacturer that if followed might have prevented the injury. Further, patrons who sign a liability waiver are only waiving claims for “ordinary” negligence, not “gross” negligence, the court said. This provides an important lesson that even if you sign a waiver when you visit a water park, it’s still worth talking to a lawyer. Water parks without exotic, over-the-top attractions like Verruckt and FlowRider pose risks too. For example, while the water in most pools at water parks is shallower than three feet, there is still a risk of harm, particularly for weak swimmers or children. The risk is heightened in wave pools, where someone can be knocked over and suffer a concussion or even drown. None of this is to suggest that you shouldn’t be taking your family to a water park on a hot summer day. But you should know the risks and be ready to assess for yourself whether a particular feature seems safe for you or your kids. You might also want to look into who inspects the park and how frequently. If you do suffer an injury at a water park and you suspect it’s related to park operation and design, absolutely talk to an attorney to find out how you can best proceed. If you wish to speak to an Attorney and want free legal advise regarding your personal injury, please call Charfoos & Christensen PC (313) 875-8080

Federal law may protect urgent-care center patients

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or EMTALA, is a federal law that was put in place to make sure hospitals don’t “dump” emergency patients who may be indigent or uninsured by refusing to examine or treat them or by sending them to other hospitals. Instead, EMTALA requires that hospitals thoroughly screen all patients who report to emergency rooms and, if they are found to have a serious medical condition, to properly stabilize them before transferring or releasing them. Hospitals that fail to comply can be hit with significant fines. Additionally, the patient may be able to bring the hospital to court, obtain damages and have his or her attorney’s fees paid. Plus, depending on the state, patients may have more time to bring a claim under EMTALA than they would have to bring a standard malpractice claim in state court. Now a recent ruling by a federal judge in Rhode Is¬land suggests that EMTALA covers not only emergency-room visits, but also off-campus urgent-care clinics that are affiliated with hospitals. In that case, a 49-year-old woman reported to the urgent/walk-in care clinic at a local hospital complain¬ing of severe chest pain and pain in her right arm. Shortly beforehand, she’d texted co-workers that she was going to the “ER” to get checked out for possible heart-attack symptoms. The doctor diagnosed her with reflux and she was sent home with a “gastrointestinal cocktail.” She died the next day of cardiovascular disease. Her estate sued the hospital that operated the clinic for both malpractice and for violation of EMTALA. The hospital tried to get the case thrown out, arguing that EMTALA didn’t apply because the clinic wasn’t an “emergency care facility.” But the judge disagreed, finding that because it held itself out as treating emergency medical conditions on an urgent basis without a scheduled appointment, it fit the definition. In fact, the court said, this particular patient, based on her texts to co-workers, thought she was going to an ER when she visited the clinic. Thus her estate’s claim could proceed. If you wish to speak to an attorney and need free legal advice, Please call Charfoos & Christensen PC 313-875-8080

leading lawyer

David W. Christensen published in 2017 Leading Lawyers Magazine, Michigan Edition. Top 10 in Michigan in ALL areas of law, Top 10 Consumer, Top 10 Plaintiff Personal Injury. David W. Christensen has been practicing in Michigan for 44 years. Congratulations to All the lawyers published.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What happens when the hospital fails to manage your labor & delivery?

$1,500,000.00 Settled at ADR mediation Baby decedent died at six days of age secondary to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. His labor and delivery was managed at defendant hospital by a midwife, an obstetrician/gynecologist and nursing staff. Objective evidence on fetal monitoring strips revealed a baby that was not tolerating labor during his last hours in utero. Adding insult to injury, pitocin was administered during this intolerance period, augmenting contractions. The pitocin was turned off shortly thereafter, but not without inflicting additional damage. Baby decedent was born blue, floppy and without respirations. Resuscitation and intubation was accomplished and the baby was transferred to another hospital for neonatal interim care and attention. Baby decedent succumbed to the severity of his brain injury at six days post-birth. The prenatal course was uneventful. The mother presented to defendant hospital. A fetal monitor was placed. The fetal monitor is the best tool available to monitor fetal well-being. Initially, the fetal monitor strips were categorized as a Category I, which means normal heart rate, accelerations and variability. Category II means there are some abnormalities, decreased variability or evidence of decelerations or dips in the heart rate below baseline. Category II tracings need to be monitored closely for the very reason of what happened in this case. The idea is to intervene before the strips progress to a Category III level, which requires immediate emergent intervention. The fetal heart rate monitor revealed variable decelerations which were appropriately designated early in the labor, and the baby responded to resuscitative measures appropriately taken by the nursing staff. What began to occur is the decelerations became more frequent and baby decedent lost his ability to compensate. He did not respond to resuscitative measures in utero. Adding insult to injury during this time of intolerance, pitocin, a contraction augmentation drug, was administered. Recognizing the instant intolerance of the fetus, the pitocin was turned off 4 minutes later and a cesarean section was called. Baby decedent was born by cesarean section approximately 21 minutes later, meconium-stained with tight nuchal cord times 1. He was limp and blue with no respiratory effort. He was administered chest compressions for 20 minutes, epinephrine given, intubated, and cord gases were performed. His APGARs were 2 at 1 minute, 1 at 5 minutes, 10 minutes and 15 minutes respectively. At delivery, meconium was noted. Meconium is, in essence, the baby’s first bowel movement. The amniotic fluid at time of the rupture of membranes earlier in the labor was clear. Meconium presence is generally secondary to stressors on the baby. The cord was also noted around the neck. This is a common finding, the significance being that a cord, whether wrapped around the neck or a body part, can easily be compressed while in utero. Variable decelerations noted were related to cord compression. Pediatricians were present at the time of delivery and initiated resuscitation. Baby decedent was successfully intubated at approximately 20 minutes of life and was transferred to another hospital for neonate intensive care attention. At the second hospital, Phenobarbital was given as a seizure preventative as well as cool-capping, which is hypothermic treatment. MRIs of the brain confirmed the diagnosis of HIE. Ultimately, baby decedent expired secondary to severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Pathology was performed, which was consistent with said diagnosis. Plaintiff brought the action of medical malpractice in the failure to properly manage the labor and delivery, resulting in the death of baby decedent. Plaintiff relied on the expertise of numerous specialists, including obstetrics/gynecology, midwifery, maternal-fetal medicine, nursing, pediatric neurology, neuroradiology and placental pathology. The hospital’s defense was that fetal monitoring strips were appropriately interpreted and labor was appropriately managed. After the death of baby decedent, the relationship of the parents unraveled. As a result of this death, their lives were changed forever. They were parents for a moment. Submitted by: Co-Counsel: CHARFOOS & CHRISTENSEN, P.C. DAVID W. CHRISTENSEN P11863 MARY PAT ROSEN P34992 26622 Woodward Avenue, Suite 100 Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 399-0350 or (313) 875-8080 Fax: (248) 399-0351 CONYBEARE LAW OFFICE, P.C. MICHAEL D. MARRS P25117 519 Main Street Saint Joseph, MI 49085 (269) 983-0561 Fax: (269) 983-5327

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wife & Mother Meets Girlfriend for a Drink and is Shot! Bar Staff Could Have Prevented Her Death if They Called The Police Instead of Breaking the Shooters Jaw Before He Had The Gun!

Estate of Plaintiff’s Decedent vs. Defendant Bar Owner, Defendant Bar Operator/LLC, Defendant Security Companies, Defendant Bouncers and Defendant Bar Customer State of Michigan, County Circuit Court Regarding settlement $250,000.00 with Bar Owner and Settlement $3,500.00 with Defendant Security Companies Case Evaluation: $129,500.00 Settled following facilitation Facts: This is a case of a bar out of control with foreseeable tragic results. The defendant bar operator/LLC, operating under a lease and agreement with defendant bar owner who held the liquor license, should not have been operating on the night that Plaintiff’s decedent was fatally shot. It remained in operation even after the city police, who believed the bar was a menace to the safety of citizens and patrons, notified defendant bar owner that operations should be terminated immediately. The defendant owner insisted on abiding by a 10-day notice provision in the operating agreement with the defendant bar operators/LLC, which was the only reason the bar was allowed to remain in operation. Four days after police said the operating agreement should end immediately, altercations and threats involving defendant bouncers/security and customers led to gunfire which killed Plaintiff’s decedent. Plaintiff’s decedent died from a bullet wound to her head. She was married and the mother of a minor son, enjoying an evening with female friends at the defendant bar. It was Plaintiff’s decedent’s first visit to the bar and she was unaware of the bar’s notorious history among city police detectives. Police had documented numerous violent incidents including shootings, assaults and drug dealing at the venue. The defendant bar was owned and operated by the defendant owner and bouncers were provided by other defendant security companies. Defendant owner owned the building and liquor license which it licensed to defendant bar operator/LLC under an unusual arrangement that was not approved by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (“MLCC”). Earlier, the defendant bar owner was informed by the city police department of ongoing problems at defendant bar, and several meetings were held in an attempt to remedy the problems. During the next three months, the problems involving assaults, thefts, overcrowding, and use of controlled substances, among other problems at the bar increased in frequency and severity. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission suspended defendant owner’s liquor license for failure to provide proof of financial responsibility and police reported the bar for various violations. Suspension notice was received by the city police. Days before the tragic death, the city police held a meeting with defendant bar owner. Following that meeting, defendant owner sent an e-mail to city police advising them that defendant bar operator/LLC would be notified that defendant bar owner was revoking defendant bar operator/LLC’s use of defendant bar owner’s liquor license. However, two days later defendant bar owner notified city police that he had been informed by an attorney that an agreement between defendant bar owner and defendant bar operator/LLC provided for a 10-day notice period before termination, and therefore, defendant bar would be operating with the liquor license for 10 more days. City police responded to defendant bar owner informing him that the 10-day notice period applied to the lease and the liquor license could be revoked immediately. According to the agreement, defendant bar owner as licensee was responsible for the conduct of the operation of the licensed business and the actions of the manager in the conduct of the licensed business, in the same manner as he would be with respect to his own employees. This agreement was never approved by the MLCC and should have been deemed nonbinding. Despite this knowledge, defendant bar owner did not revoke the rights of defendant bar operator/LLC to operate under its liquor license but instead allowed it to continue to use the license. Two days later, Plaintiff’s decedent was seated with her friends inside the defendant bar. On the other side of the bar, its bouncers staffed by defendant security companies, some of whom were armed, had an altercation with three male customers. One of the male customers, also a defendant, threatened to get a gun and “shoot the m*** f*** club up” after being punched by a defendant bouncer. None of the defendants called police at this time. Defendant bouncers removed the customers to the bar’s parking lot where defendant bouncers beat the defendant customer a second time, causing him to spit up blood, and another removed customer suffered a broken jaw at the hands of defendant bouncers. The defendant customer returned to his car, bloodied and humiliated. Still, none of the defendants called police at this time. Defendant bouncers retreated inside the bar’s locked glass doors. The defendant customer sat in the front seat of his car. He wiped the blood from his face, changed his bloodied shirt and got his gun. His friend, seated in the passenger seat, saw the gun and tried to counsel defendant customer against using the gun. About five minutes later, defendant customer and his friend returned to the bar’s entrance, calling for the bouncers to come out. The defendant bouncers brandished their guns from inside the glass doors. But the police were still not called. About 25 seconds later, defendant customer fired several shots at the building. One bullet went through a glass window, striking Plaintiff’s decedent. The first call to city police was logged 24 minutes after the altercations between bouncers and defendant customer. Police and emergency medical technicians attempted to treat Plaintiff’s decedent at the scene. She was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. Plaintiff’s decedent died as a result of breaches of duty by all the defendant participants, who had a duty to maintain a safe premises. Plaintiff’s decedent was 33 years of age, a wife, a mother and was gainfully employed. Settlement was achieved with the defendant bar owner, with minimal contribution from the defendant security companies. Defendant bar operator/LLC claimed they were operating under the operating agreement. Defendant bar owner and security companies claimed if city police had been called the death would not have been prevented.