We represented a physician who went in for a routine cardiac catheterization. The cardiologist performing the procedure failed to use Heparin which the standard of care requires, and as a result a large blot clot formed in our client’s arm. The clot ended up causing permanent nerve injury to our client, impairing her ability to continue with the practice of medicine. Please see a more detailed description of how the firm handled this complicated case.
The firm is proud to have handled the case of David Zeller. Mr. Zeller woke up with pain and limited strength in his legs. He was suffering from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. He was taken by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital. The physicians at SF General employed by the Regents of the University of California failed to order proper spinal precautions, and an MRI technologist moved Mr. Zeller too roughly from his gurney onto the MRI table. Due to the rough handling, Mr. Zeller became a paraplegic. He tragically took his own life as a result and then the defendants tried to back out of the settlement. For more details on the firm’s widely covered work on this unfortunate case.
The Zinn Law Firm represented a gentleman that went to his orthopedist for a hip replacement surgery. The day after the surgery, our client had pain and loss of use of his right root. His surgeon failed to recognize that these symptoms were being caused by a post-operative hematoma. Had the orthopedist performed proper imaging procedures, he would have seen the hematoma growing and pressing on our client’s femoral nerve before permanent nerve injury was caused. Because the orthopedist failed to drain the hematoma in time, our client suffered permanent injury to his femoral nerve, resulting in “drop foot”, which means he could no longer flex hit foot, or raise up his toes toward his leg. The case settled for a significant, confidential amount.
Our client went to Highland Hospital, the County hospital for Alameda County, for a routine medical procedure. To prepare for the procedure, he required IV medication. When the nurse attempted to insert the IV at the antecubital fossa (inside of arm just above the elbow), she encountered significant difficulty. She poked and prodded our client at least three different times, causing increased pain in the area each time. At her last attempt, our client experienced a sharp, burning pain that caused him to leap out of his chair.
The needle had irritated and then struck a nerve causing our client to suffer permanent, debilitating case of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Type II, otherwise known as CRPS II or causalgia. CRPS Type I is also referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or RSD. Complex regional pain syndrome is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. Complex regional pain syndrome typically develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack, but the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury. The unrelating pain that comes with CRPS has been referred to the worst form of pain known to mankind.
The Zinn Law Firm retained nationally renowned experts in CRPS and specially, and a neurologist from Massachusetts whose research focusses on how IV insertions can cause CRPS when performed incorrectly. The firm was able to show that the risk of injury rises unacceptably high after two or three failed IV insertion attempts, and that the standard of care requires that, after a certain number of attempts have been made, another nurse should be called to place the IV and another site should be used. The case settled for a significant confidential sum.
The Zinn Law Firm has represented a number of other clients who have suffered from CRPS or RSD.
The Zinn Law Firm obtained a combined $787,500 settlement for a man who had to have his leg amputated when his orthopedic surgeon failed to diagnoses and treat compartment syndrome that occurred after he had a complex knee surgery. The defendants were a Bay Area hospital and the surgeon who performed the procedure. Compartment syndrome occurs when excessive pressure builds up inside an enclosed muscle space in the body. Compartment syndrome usually results from bleeding or swelling after an injury or surgery. The firm was able to prove that the surgeon failed to follow the standard of care when he failed to respond to numerous calls from nurses and the signs and symptoms that a compartment syndrome was developing. Because our client did not suffer substantial wage loss due to this injury, due to the $250,000 MICRA cap on pain and suffering, at trial his recovery would have been limited to $250,000 to pay for the loss of his leg, plus the costs of his leg prosthesis he required, underscoring the brutal unfairness of the MICRA cap placed on claims for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases.
Our client was a young man who had cystic fibrosis and, as a result, required a lung transplant. The transplant was performed at a major teaching hospital in Northern California and was successful. However, several years after the transplant occurred, the hospital failed to recognize that our client had contracted C. Difficile Colitis, which can be a dangerous condition for someone who has undergone an organ transplant. The failure to timely diagnose and treat our client’s condition resulted in him losing his entire large intestine. He is now required to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of his life. The case settled for a substantial, confidential amount.
Our client required shoulder surgery after injuring himself during a bicycle accident. After the surgery, he found out that he had contracted Hepatits C. The Zinn Law Firm’s investigation of the case eventually revealed that another patient who had a surgery in the same operating room on the same day also contracted Hepatitis C. Further investigation created suspicion that a hospital medical assistant may have been diverting sedative drugs for his own use, resulting in contaminating the needle that was used to administer both patients’ medication during their procedures. The case settled for $500,000 during mediation.
Our client was pregnant with her second child and suffered substantial injuries when the obstetrician/gynecologist in charge of delivering her baby did not call for back up in time, and as a result, failed to remove a stitch around our client’s cervix during the delivery. Our client suffered substantial injuries during the delivery due to the stitch not being removed in time. The physicians and hospital involved agreed to pay $295,000. Again, because our client was a stay-at-home mother at the time, and her injury did not require significant future medical treatment to heal, her damages at trial would have been limited to $250,000 for her pain and suffering, along with her husband’s claim for loss of consortium, that was also limited by the same cap. The limited settlement we were able to obtain for our client despite her painful and long-lasting injuries again illustrates how unfair the MICRA damages cap can be to women and others who do not work outside of the home.