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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Oklahoma City Doctor & Mercy Hospital-OKC sued for leaving surgical sponge in a patient


OKLAHOMA CITY DOCTOR AND MERCY HOSPITAL OKLAHOMA CITY SUED FOR FORGETTING SURGICAL SPONGE IN YOUNG WOMAN DURING KNEE SURGERY

In the spring of 2014 at the end of her junior year at Oklahoma Christian College, Whitney Jarvis was playing intramural soccer and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. Dr. Hale performed ACL surgery on her on May 16, 2014, which was roughly six weeks after her injury.

Notwithstanding a purported sponge count and verification, a surgical sponge was not removed before closing the incision. A subsequent x-ray detected a Ray-Tec surgical sponge that had been left in her left knee. On May 20, 2014, four days after her initial surgery, Dr. Hale then surgically removed the foreign body surgical sponge that he had left inside her knee.

Whitney Jarvis has undergone three more operations to debride the resultant scar tissue, submitted to countless hours of physical therapy, and has yet to regain full function and range of motion of her left leg.

Retained surgical instruments are also considered a “never event” by the National Quality Forum, indicating a “preventable, serious, and unambiguous adverse event that should never occur.” Retained surgical instruments are considered a “sentinel event” by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which indicate the need for an immediate investigation and response by the hospital.

Dallas attorney Les Weisbrod, a nationally-recognized medical malpractice attorney and past president of the American Association for Justice (the world’s largest trial lawyer association), is representing Whitney Jarvis.


Weisbrod said, “In this day and age, it is unbelievable that sponges are still left in patients. This case is a particularly egregious example of health care providers not paying attention and not caring about what they are doing. A knee is a small, enclosed space and to leave a sponge in it would seem obvious. The health care providers were just not paying attention. Moreover, everyone in Oklahoma City should know that when something indefensible like this occurs, Mercy Hospital has absolutely no interest in doing right by their patients. They made no attempt to offer Whitney any compensation until she got a lawyer, and even then, they invited this lawsuit rather than pay reasonable compensation for what Whitney has been through at her young age.”

Weisbrod also said that this incident was totally avoidable.

“Whitney and her family want to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else in Oklahoma City. They hope that by calling attention to what happened and the need to file this lawsuit will serve as a wake-up call to health care providers in Oklahoma City to care about their patients, pay attention, and improve their systems so that others don’t have to suffer,” Weisbrod said.

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If you or a family member suffered due to hospital negligence or nursing error, the trial lawyers of Miller Weisbrod, LLP welcome the opportunity to stand up for your rights and fight for financial justice. Please call our main offices in Dallas today at 214.987.0005 or toll free at 888.987.0005 for a free consultation. You may also contact us by e-mail today for answers to your important questions, or to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Demolition Construction Accident Verdicts



Some of the most hazardous construction operations involve the demolition of structures. In June of 2013, a building being demolished in Philadelphia collapsed onto an adjacent structure killing a half dozen people and seriously injuring more than a dozen more. This case brought to the front page news what our firm has seen time and time again in demolition construction accidents—there is no requirement under most state and local ordinances requiring a company obtaining a demolition permit to show any level of competence.

Several of our cases have highlighted this sad fact. Two years ago, a young husband and father was killed when a two-story chimney on house he was demolishing on the TCU campus collapsed on top of him. Our lawsuit against the employer revealed the company was a paving contractor that had only ever demolished portable buildings (cheap mobile home structures used at schools for temporary classrooms) on a single occasion. But when this paving company applied for a demolition permit from the city of Fort Worth to demolish nearly a dozen brick buildings (including a large church and a two story apartment building) no inquiry at all was made into the qualifications of a company that spent its entire time building and paving parking lots. When deposed, the company’s owner and superintendent admitted none of the crew, including the deceased, had any experience before the day of the collapse in demolition. He also admitted that he was completely unaware of any of the OSHA or industry demolition safety standards and he had no written demolition plan for any of the structures.


The remains of the demolished house on the TCU campus

Subpart T of the OSHA construction safety standards lays out the minimum requirements for demolition safety.

The very first section of the standard requires that an “engineering survey” be performed by a competent person before demolition operations begin. The stated purpose of this standard is to prevent any “unplanned collapse” during the demolition of the structure that could endanger workers or bystanders. This standard is almost universally violated in every demolition lawsuit we have pursued—usually because an inexperienced or incompetent company decides to take on a demolition job that it is not qualified to perform.

But this failure to perform engineering surveys is not just ignored when a paving company decides to become a demolition subcontractor. In another case, an actual demolition contractor failed to perform an engineering survey prior to beginning operations. As roof joists were being cut, the building collapsed upon other workers killing our client. What is unforgivable is that our investigation revealed the company had been cited by OSHA 3 years earlier for failing to perform an engineering survey during a surprise inspection by OSHA. Here are excerpts of our cross examination of the demolition company’s safety director that was hired just months after the first citation:



Following this deposition, we settled the gross negligence only death case (the employer had workers’ compensation insurance) for the full amount of all available insurance.

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Miller Weisbrod has partnered with law firms across the state of Texas on a referral and joint venture basis to pursue cases of catastrophic injury and wrongful death arising from construction and work site incidents. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you to obtain justice for your clients injured or killed on the job.

Contact our office in Dallas at 214.987.0005 or toll free at 888.987.0005. You may also contact us by e-mail today for prompt answers to your questions or to schedule an appointment.