A man 65 years of age was admitted to a New York Health Care System for an Anterior Cervical Decompression. After surgery he was transferred to the ICU and on post op day one there were already signs that the man was having difficulty breathing and swallowing. The following day, his symptoms have worsened as he appeared dazed. On the third day, he began to desaturate and an arrest was called. The first attempt of intubation was unsuccessful and it was only 29 minutes after when the house staff had successfully intubated him. By then, he was already at a vegetative state due to the anoxic brain damage he had suffered. The man’s sister, his appointed guardian, alleged that the severe brain damage could have been avoided had her brother been intubated immediately as soon as the difficulty of breathing was observed on day one. Defendants argued that there were no obvious signs of a problem until the man had begun to desaturate. The man stayed in the hospital for almost 3 more months until he was transferred to a nursing home. He continued to stay at the nursing home in the same vegetative state for six years until he expired. This case was taken on due to medical malpractice and the plaintiff was awarded the amount below for the damages.
Case settled for $1,600,000