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failure to diagnose brain injury

Practice Area: Medical Malpractice, Bodily Injury, Brain/Head Injury

Michael Cathey, DVM v. Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society
Alaska Superior Court-Anchorage

After completing an emergency surgery on an injured canine in Kodiak, Alaska, Dr. Cathey fell, fracturing his skull. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital operated by Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society. Dr. Cathey's personal physician, Robert Johnson, MD, issued orders to the hospital personnel without examining plaintiff. Despite the signs and symptoms of an evolving epidural hematoma, the diagnosis was missed. It was not until several hours later, when Dr. Cathey's condition deteriorated, that a brain injury was considered and that a medical evacuation was ordered.

In Anchorage, Dr. Cathey was taken to surgery for an evacuation of an epidural hematoma. Dr. Cathey recovered but was left with a significant cognitive disability.

Because there was a pivotal issue concerning causation, plaintiff retained the services of noted British neurosurgeon, A. David Mendelow, from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Dr. Mendelow had recently completed studies of the consequences of a delayed response to an epidural hematoma of the brain.

On the first day of trial, the case against Dr. Johnson was settled for his policy limit of $200,000. After several weeks of trial, while the jury deliberated its verdict, the case against Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society was settled for $1.2 million.

Resolution: $1.4 Million


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