Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) October 23, 2014 - In a recent wrongful death case, a series of miscommunications led to a $1.8 million court award.
In the spring of 2010, 30-year-old Carl Whitmer of Columbus, Ohio was involved in a serious car accident. Two weeks after the accident, Whitmer underwent facial surgery, but he never woke up after the operation. He passed away one week later.
Whitmer's estate filed court documents pursuing claims of wrongful death.
Prior to his surgery, Whitmer had complained of severe headaches. However, his complaint was not checked and he was never assessed. Trauma services physician Adam Zochowski cleared the patient for surgery.
“It was discovered later that Whitmer had sustained a subdural hematoma as a result of the car accident and that that hemotoma had expanded. When the surgery began, the pressure in his skull increased, resulting in brain death,” explained Deborah Barron, a Sacramento wrongful death attorney.
Whitmer would have lived if his surgeon had ordered a CT scan and drilled a hole in the skull to alleviate the pressure, as was medically prudent.
Acting on misinformation, the operation proceeded unhindered. A jury awarded Whitmer's family $900,000 for mental anguish and $900,000 for loss of companionship.
"There needs to be negligence present in a case involving wrongful death as a result of medical malpractice. In this particular case, the doctor did not read the patient’s file to note his complaint about severe headaches. Had he or she done that, this surgery would have turned out differently,” Barron said.
Individuals who suspect that a loved one may have been victims of medical malpractice or medical negligence that resulted in wrongful death should seek the experienced counsel of a personal injury lawyer. Not all negative medical outcomes are classified as medical malpractice leading to a wrongful death, however -- a distinction an attorney should point out to potential clients.
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