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Medical Malpractice Settlement Reached Between Patient and L.A. County

medical malpractice lawsuitL.A. County has agreed to pay $4.5 million to a man left permanently paralyzed following treatment at U.S.C. Medical Center. The patient’s story begins in 2010 when he was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment following a severe motorcycle injury. From there, a series of alleged miscommunications and inadequate treatments led to the permanent paralysis of the man – who was just 27 years old at the time of the incident. The medical malpractice settlement is calculated to cover the expected costs of the man’s care, which is expected to last for the duration of his life.

Details of malpractice alleged against L.A. County doctors

Immediately following the 2010 motorcycle accident, the plaintiff was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for a ruptured aorta. The rupture was quickly repaired with a large stent-graft, which is a metal coil and synthetic graft positioned to correct the aortic aneurysm. For more than a year, the patient continued to live a normal life working as a hardwood floor installer. That is, until he abruptly collapsed on October 19, 2011, prompting his immediate transport to the U.S.C. Medical Center emergency department.

During this time, the patient was described to have been “screaming in pain” while intermittently losing sensation in his lower limbs. Over the next two days, his condition deteriorated, and doctors apparently scrambled to determine the source of the debilitating pain and paralysis.

Finally, diagnostic imaging revealed the presence of a clot in the aortic stent, which had cut off circulation to his entire lower body – as the aorta carries blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs. It was only upon the discovery of the clot that doctors began the process of repairing the clot. However, the patient suffered irreparable damage, and was left permanently disabled.

Settlement to cover lifelong care and medical expenses

Being just 27 years old at the time of the incident, the victim will require a lifetime of skilled nursing care and assistance as a result of the alleged medical malpractice. Accordingly, L.A. County agreed to pay $4.5 million to cover these calculated costs. In addition, the county agreed to waive the $790,000 expended by county doctors to treat his medical condition, as well as cover the $200,000 demanded by MediCal as a result of the settlement.

While not admitting liability in the matter, the county has implemented a “corrective action plan” in order to avoid future similar issues. As part of the plan, an improved protocol was put in place to coordinate the transfer of patients from the emergency department to in-hospital services. Moreover, the plan requires increased communication between multi-disciplinary service providers.

Medical malpractice is a sub-set of the legal concept of negligence. It is alleged when a plaintiff believes his or her medical care was a substandard deviation from accepted practices within the medical community, resulting in injury. Medical malpractice may occur if a doctor omits an important step in the treatment process, overlooks red flags on a patient’s medical history, or fails to timely diagnose a major illness or injury.

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  2., L.A. County settles medical malpractice case for $4.5 million,