3 Notable 2014 Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical Malpractice Cases

The year isn’t quite over, and already court records are filling up with incidents of medical malpractice. From Rhode Island to Florida and everywhere in between, our colleagues around the country have compiled quite a roster of medical malpractice cases.

Despite the high level of education it takes to gain a medical degree, some doctors seem to have little common sense when it comes to providing quality care for their patients. Whatever the reasoning that causes physicians to take shortcuts that neglect proper procedure or take risks that end up causing harm, it’s a terrible thing to reflect on the catastrophic results of abusing a patient’s trust.

Here are three particularly horrible medical malpractice cases that surfaced this year:

‘I Wouldn’t Necessarily Call It a Win’

In Jackson, Miss., 40-year-old Kathie Pagan underwent elective abdominal surgery. The result was supposed to be a toned torso — it was a cosmetic “tummy tuck.” Instead, the surgery resulted in a gaping stomach wound that, five years later, still has not healed.

Before the surgery, Pagan was in the best shape of her life. She used to run for two miles a day and work out regularly. The idea behind the surgery was to “treat herself,” as she put it.

“Now I wish I would have treated myself to a vacation and been happy with my body,” she told Michigan Live.

A month after the surgery, Pagan was continuing to experience dark-colored draining, clotting and burning pain. She repeatedly asked the doctor for a referral to a wound care specialist; he wouldn’t give her one. Instead, he repeatedly prescribed pain medication. Finally, eight weeks after her surgery, Pagan went to the emergency room. It was discovered that she had a staph infection. She was admitted to the hospital for six days. Today, five years later, Pagan still has a large scarred area, along with areas of deformed tissue She takes medication and regularly has to visit doctors to control the possibility of infection.

Despite being awarded a total of $1.3 million, Pagan is still suffering the consequences of her doctor’s negligence.

“I wouldn’t necessarily call it a win,” she concluded, “but I won.”

A ‘Routine’ Operation

Vivian Gagliano checked into Danbury Hospital in Connecticut for a routine hernia operation. One of the two doctors who performed the operation was a surgical resident — a fact of which Gagliano was not informed. They performed the surgery on her colon, closed the wound and were surprised to find her going into septic shock. That was when they realized that she’d developed a massive abdominal infection. It led to Gagliano suffering a heart attack, organ failure and going into a coma.

The coma lasted a month, with multiple surgeries following to stop the infection. Gagliano has lost most of her large intestine. She still can’t properly digest food, and she continues to have abdominal problems that hinder her movement.

The doctors blame each other for the botched procedure that resulted in a punctured colon. Gagliano has settled with one of them (the former surgical resident) for an undisclosed amount; the case is still in progress with the other doctor.

 A Premature Birth

under the knifeA Cleveland, Ohio mother named Stephanie Stewart had gone into premature labor in the span of a couple weeks, by the time her water broke. She entered the hospital and said that she wanted to deliver the baby. She and her doctor had discussed that she would probably have a Caesarian section, since that was what her first pregnancy had necessitated more than a decade prior. The nurses and residents on call did not agree — they said it would be too early and would put the baby at risk.

Stewart’s attending obstetrician arrived that evening, five hours after she was admitted to the hospital. She asked him to have the baby delivered, but he said monitors showed the baby was healthy. But within an hour or two, the baby showed signs of distress.

Stewart had an emergency Caesarian section at 9 p.m. Her little boy, Alijah, had a massive brain hemorrhage, and evidence showed it occurred after 5:30 p.m. — the same time that Stewart had been admitted to the hospital.

Alijah survived, but he suffers from cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, visual impairments and other issues that will require lifelong care.

The hospital’s defense was that Alijah was a premature baby and nothing could have changed what occurred. A jury thought otherwise. They determined that there was medical negligence, specifically because the doctor had not informed Stewart that there was a significant risk of a brain hemorrhage if the baby went into fetal distress. Stewart was not given any options, and her request for a Caesarian was not granted.

The jury awarded $8 million for the cost of future care, $5 million for his pain and suffering, $1 million for Stewart’s cost of services and $500,000 for past economic losses.

 When You’ve Been Wronged By Your Doctor

Patients trust their doctors to help them regain their health, not to make it worse. If you’ve been the victim of a physician’s neglectful or inappropriate care, you may have a right to compensation. Let us help you recover your life and obtain justice. Call The Oshman Firm at (800) 400-8182 or fill out the form on the right side of this page.


Ted Oshman has been with The Oshman Firm since 1988 serving clients for over 25 years. Learn more about Ted's background and featured practice areas here.

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