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Medical Malpractice

Nixon, Vogelman, Barry, Slawsky, & Simoneau, P.A. is a leading law firm working on behalf of patients and their families who are injured or killed by medical negligence.  We have successfully resolved many medical cases for our clients. 

Due to our reputation and involvement in state and national professional associations, we have been referred cases from around the country for representation. We welcome referrals of medical negligence cases in all areas. We have developed medical expertise in many areas, and know where to go to learn new areas and find the necessary experts.

RECENT MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CASES

1.    Failure to diagnose myocardial infarction. Our client’s husband began to experience symptoms which included chest pressure and fatigue. When he sought treatment from a hospital emergency department and a cardiologist, despite suspicious findings in EKG and bloodwork results, he was sent home and advised that he did not have a heart problem. Tragically, he suffered a fatal heart attack a few days later, leaving a widow and two young children. Our expert concluded that this man’s risk factors, symptoms, and test results required further follow-up and testing, which would have led to the correct diagnosis and treatment that would have saved his life.

2.    Failure to diagnose spinal cord injury leading to paralysis. Our client’s aunt was an elderly but active woman who was in a minor car accident. When she presented to a hospital emergency department with symptoms including weakness and diminished sensation on one side, the physician who saw her concluded she had suffered a stroke, and referred her to another institution for physical therapy. She eventually became a paraplegic and had to be admitted to a nursing home, where she quickly deteriorated and eventually died. Our expert concluded that her history and symptoms required an MRI, which would have revealed spinal cord impingement which was surgically correctible had it been diagnosed early on.

3.    Obstetrical negligence— use of forceps resulting in fractured skull. Our client’s mother experienced a protracted delivery, and her obstetrician decided to use forceps to accomplish the delivery. Her little boy was born with a fractured skull, which resulted in partial paralysis. Our expert concluded that the obstetrician failed to recognize that the cause of the protracted delivery was the baby’s large size in proportion to the size of the mother’s pelvis, and a Caesarean was required for a safe delivery.

4.    Failure to diagnose melanoma. Our client reported a small growth on his back to his primary care physician. The physician visually inspected it, and reassured the man that it was of no concern. When after a period of time the growth increased in size and began to bleed, a biopsy revealed that it was malignant melanoma that had advanced to a stage where it was not curable, resulting in our client’s painful and disfiguring illness and eventual death. Our experts concluded that the growth should have been biopsied when it was first observed, and that the melanoma would have been diagnosed and effectively treated. 

5.    Surgical negligence—improper foot surgery. Our client complained of foot pain and sought treatment from an orthopedic surgeon, who performed surgery that made his condition worse, resulting in permanent pain and disability. Our expert concluded that the man should have been referred to either a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot surgery, and that appropriate surgery which avoided weight-bearing areas of the foot would have successfully treated our client’s symptoms.

6.    Negligent plastic surgery leading to disfigurement. Our client sought cosmetic evaluation and treatment for a stomach that had been stretched from childbirth. The plastic surgeon recommended and performed liposuction as well as abdominoplasty, which resulted in a disabling and unsightly infection, and permanent disfigurement. Our expert concluded that performance of both types of plastic surgery is contraindicated in the abdominal area because of the area’s vascularity.

7.    Psychiatric negligence. Our client sought psychiatric treatment for what she believed was depression. The psychiatrist diagnosed bipolar disorder, and prescribed an array of medications in increasingly powerful doses, and ordered electroconvulsive therapy. Our client became agitated, depressed, and suicidal, and experienced memory loss. Our expert concluded that the woman had been incorrectly diagnosed and overmedicated, and that the correct diagnosis was attention deficit disorder, treatable with minimal medication and counseling that would not have resulted in disability.

8.    Obstetrical negligence—shoulder dystocia leading to life-long disability;

9.    Failure to diagnose tracheitis. Our client’s two-year old son experienced difficulty breathing. Our client called her pediatrician, who advised that he did not need to be seen, and that he had a virus that was prevalent in the area that could be treated with Tylenol and over-the-counter cough medicine. She put him to bed and found him dead the next morning. Our experts concluded that the boy’s symptoms required that he been seen and that the appropriate tests would have led to the correct diagnosis, which could have been successfully treated with antibiotics.

10.  Failure to diagnose endocarditis.  Our client’s wife, who had a history of mitral valve prolapse for which she had had an artificial heart valve implanted, began to experience fatigue, anemia, and weight loss. Her primary care physician prescribed iron supplements without performing any diagnostic testing. She did not improve and eventually died. Autopsy revealed endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart. Our experts concluded that her artificial valve put her at risk for endocarditis, and that her symptoms required an echocardiogram, which would have revealed the endocarditis, that could have been successfully treated with antibiotics.

11.  Obstetrical negligence—improper use of vacuum extraction. Our client was admitted under the care of an obstetrician for the delivery of daughter. He attempted to hasten the delivery with the use of a vacuum extractor, which resulted in extensive tearing of the mother’s vaginal and perineal tissues, and creation of a fistula. This resulted in incontinence and loss of bowel control, which caused loss of ability to work and severe emotional trauma. Our expert concluded that less damaging alternatives, such as episiotomy or Ceasarean should have been offered and would not have caused permanent injury.

12.  Failure to diagnose bowel perforation following abdominal surgery. Our client had laparoscopic surgery for gallstones. When she reported abdominal pain, constipation, and other symptoms following the surgery, she was advised to take Maalox and sent home. Her continued symptoms caused her to return to the hospital, but even after admission she was not offered a surgical consult, until after an abdominal CT scan which revealed a perforated intestine. She was then transferred to another hospital, where emergency surgery was performed. Because of the infection caused by the delay, she required a lengthy hospitalization, with several surgeries, intravenous antibiotics, and other rehabilitative measures. She was left with permanent disability, scarring, and disfigurement. Our experts concluded that her symptoms required immediate radiological studies and a surgical consultation, which would have prevented the permanent harm that she suffered.

13.  Negligent gastric bypass surgery leading to death;

14.  Inappropriate treatment for breast cancer;

15.  Post surgical negligence resulting in impacted bowel;

16.  Failure to diagnose fractured metatarsal;

17.  Improper surgical treatment for scoliosis;

18.  Surgical negligence—retained sponge;

19.  Failure to conduct colon-rectal screening leadingto death;

20.  Negligent lasix eye surgery;

21.   Negligent placement and handling of pulmonary catheter leading to death;

22.  Failure to appropriately monitor during prenatal care resulting in severe cerebral palsy.

23.  Failure to diagnose corneal perforation. Our client experienced a work injury as a result of a wire hitting his eye. He was examined by an emergency room physician who diagnosed a corneal abrasion, and prescribed a topical antibiotic. Our client continued to experience pain, tearing, and production of pus in his eye, and returned to the emergency department the following morning. A different physician diagnosed a perforation of the cornea, through the lens, and he was transferred to a different institution for emergency surgery. The surgery was too late to save the sight in his eye, and he was left blind in that eye. Our expert concluded that the emergency department physician failed to conduct an appropriate examination and diagnostic tests, which would have revealed the perforation upon initial admission and resulted in intravenous antibiotic therapy and surgery that would have saved our client’s eyesight.

24.  Failure to diagnose colon perforation after hysterectomy. Our client had a routine hysterectomy but shortly thereafter began to develop shortness of breath, and nausea.  On the first day after her surgery, she had decreased urine output, and later developed decreased appetite.  The shortness of breath worsened, and she was seen in the hospital by the on-call physician, who thought she might have fluid overload.  Her condition developed to include abdominal complaints.  It was not until six days after her surgery that a CT scan was done of her abdomen, which showed free air, which would be indicative of a bowel perforation.  Exploratory abdominal surgery revealed a jejunal perforation.  This had caused the shortness of breath, which was eventually diagnosed as ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), and required her to be on a ventilator in the ICU.  She was not discharged from the hospital until several months later, and remains with major lung problems that have resulted in a significant decrease in her level of activity. The case was heard by a screening panel which included a retired judge, a lawyer, and a doctor, who decided unanimously in favor of the plaintiff. The case was settled shortly thereafter.

Please contact any lawyer in the firm if you have questions regarding a possible medical malpractice case. We always work on these cases as a team, so you can be assured that your case will receive the attention of all the lawyers and staff who have experience with your particular medical injury.

 

Attorneys

David Slawsky

Kirk C. Simoneau

Lawrence A. Vogelman

Leslie C. Nixon

Thomas T. Barry

Testimonials

I want to thank you, Linda and Jill for all the time and attention spent reviewing my case.  It is my belief that you all went above and beyond what could have been expected, especially under the circumstances.  If it were not for your involvement in my case, I do not think I would have received the treatment I was able to.  For that, no amount of words can express the amount of gratitude I have for you.

Thank you again for all your time, attention and efforts.

- Cheryl B. / Manchester, NH

  • How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?

    We will decipher the medical records to determine if there is a mistake which the doctor, nurse, or hospital made. Patients are at an extreme disadvantage to decide whether a case exists or not. We understand the medical information and can advise you accordingly.

  • How do I obtain my medical records?

    Everyone is entitled to a copy of their medical records, and we can assist you in obtaining them.

  • How much money can I expect to get when my case is over?

    First, you should run away from any lawyer who tries to answer this question before he or she has built your case into the best it can be.  No lawyer can, even after meeting with you for that free, initial consulation, tell how much your case is worth.  Yes, there are factors that drive most every case; how much are your medical bills or lost earnings, how bad are your injuries, did you require pyschological treatment and many others.  But, there is a lot more to determining the value of any legal claim. 

    There are two key factors many people overlook.  Nice plaintiffs, that is the people suing, can do better than others.  In fact, a nice plaintiff, someone a jury will like, can turn a bad case into a good one.  This is true in reverse.  A likeable defendant will result in a lower verdict.  As a well regarded New Hampshire Judge recently said, we can't determine the value until we "eyeball" the parties. 

    If you want a lawyer who will promise you a fortune to get your case, this firm isn't for you.  If you want lawyers with the experience and skill necessary to accurately "eyeball" the parties, including being honest about your jury appeal, contact us below.