Medical Malpractice Case Report: $1,123,448 million medical mistake case for inappropriate placement of central line causing multiple strokes

Firm partner Terry L. Wade secured a medical malpractice jury verdict of $1,123,448 million for the family of a 74-year old woman where inappropriate placement of a central line resulted in placement into the aorta.  This line was used for total nutrition and intralips (soybean and egg particles) and went directly to the woman's brain resulting in multiple strokes.  Read the following Minnesota Case Report, Vol.27, No 4, August 2008:

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(Excerpts taken with permission from Minnesota Trial Lawyer Association's (MTLA) "Minnesota Case Reports")

This case was tried in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. Seventy-four year old L.B., somewhat impaired from crippling rheumatoid arthritis, fell at home. She needed emergency surgery to remove her ruptured spleen and had other complications necessitating additional surgeries to remove part of her intestines. As she was still in the hospital beginning to recover from these traumatic events, it was determined that she needed a central line placed into her internal jugular vein for intravenous feedings.  

The defendant anesthesiologist placing the line inadvertently put it in the carotid artery instead and failed to recognize the error. An x-ray to confirm placement was interpreted as being slightly abnormal and a lateral x-ray was recommended by the defendant radiologist. There was a dispute about whether this abnormality and the x-ray request were adequately communicated from the radiologist, through a defendant nurse, to the anesthesiologist. No lateral x-ray or other tests to confirm proper placement were done.  

When feedings were started, the feeding material (soy bean oil and egg yolk particles) were circulated into L.B.'s brain causing her to suffer several small strokes leaving her left side partially paralyzed. She could no longer live at home and was in a nursing home for the rest of her life as a result of the stroke.  At the time of trial, she was believed to be near the end of life due to an unrelated cancer. No offer of settlement was ever made. Terry Wade tried the case to a jury in rural White Hall, WI, a community of fewer than 3,000 people. On May 6, 2009, this jury returned a verdict for L.B. in the amount of $1,123,448. The jury found the anesthesiologist 100 percent responsible. Neither the defendant radiologist nor the defendant nurse were found to be negligent. 

Verdict:  $1,123,448
Attorney: Terry L. Wade, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., Minneapolis, MN (612) 349-8500