We filed a lawsuit this week against Yale-New Haven Hospital and a surgeon, Dr. Joseph Akar, on behalf of a client who fell from the operating table following a fairly routine procedure. The woman went to the hospital for the implantation of a pacemaker and while still under anesthesia from the procedure fell from the table to the floor. She hit the floor with such force that she suffered a head injury, a broken collar bone, broken hip, and broken toe. Hitting her head caused bleeding around the lining of her brain. She also damaged her back. The woman, who prior to the incident was independent and energetic, is now a shut-in, dependent on others.
Recently, there have been several reports in the news of cases of necrotizing fasciitis, also known as the "flesh-eating bacteria." First we heard about Aimee Copeland, a 24 year-old graduate student in Georgia, who has already had one leg amputated, and had her remaining foot and her hands amputated, as a result of contracting necrotizing fasciitis. Then we heard about Lana Kuykendall, an Atlanta woman who gave birth to twins on May 7. She returned to a hospital in South Carolina on May 11 after noticing a rapidly expanding bruise on her leg. She remains in the hospital, intubated and sedated, and at this point the flesh-eating bacteria appears to be confined to her leg.
The recent flurry of national activity surrounding same-sex marriages brings to mind a recent case of ours. Margaret Mueller ("Marge") and her longtime partner Charlotte Stacey came to our firm several years ago. Marge had been treating for ovarian cancer for about 2½ years when she found out that she did not actually have ovarian cancer, but rather appendix cancer that had spread to her ovaries. The treatment for the two cancers was entirely different, and Marge lost the opportunity to treat her appendix cancer properly as a result of the botched diagnosis. Unfortunately, while the case was pending, Marge died.
A disturbing article by William Glaberson and Lisa Foderaro in the New York Times today talks about the danger of falling limbs from trees, and the number of injuries that trees have caused in New York City alone. The article cites deep cutbacks in the amount of money the city spends on tree maintenance in the last few years as one of the main contributors to a recent uptick in tree related injuries and deaths that have resulted in millions of dollars in payouts by the City. Obviously, the savings are not worth the price of such injuries, not to mention the human cost to the individuals involved.
There is a great article in the New Haven Register this morning about a Cheshire teenager who saved the life of one his neighbors who was cut by a chainsaw after falling from a ladder. Unfortunately, many power tools are still manufactured today without a kill switch designed to shut off the tool if the user loses control of the tool. As a result, the same types of accidents happen over and over despite the fact that there is a readily available, inexpensive, and simple technological solution that can prevent these types of injuries. Frequently, a product can be made vastly safer simply by adding an inexpensive kill switch.
It was reported in today's New York Times that Mariano Rivera developed a blood clot in his leg following arthroscopic repair of his right knee. While not all blood clots are the result of improper care, problems can arise from orthopedic procedures that are not properly performed. Orthopedic procedures, including hip replacements and knee replacements, can result in severe infection, damage to the bone, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In some cases, a DVT - the presence of one of more blood clots that partially or completely block a vein - can result in a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
We are again reminded of the precarious nature of life on the Connecticut Turnpike by yesterday morning's fiery tractor-trailer crash near the Q-bridge in New Haven. This area has been a mess for a number of years, while the state Department of Transportation has worked to build a new bridge there, and to rearrange or expand the "merge" between interstates 95 and 91.