VERDICT/SETTLEMENT

Facts/Liability:

 

            Following an automobile accident in December of 2006, the plaintiff was emergently transported to a nearby hospital.  At the hospital, he was found to have suffered multiple left rib fractures and a grade II-III splenic laceration in the accident. The initial exam indicated that he was suffering from pain in his left shoulder and side, and that he was tender in the LUQ.  He was given at least one or two doses of morphine and one dose of Toradol for his pain prior to being taken to the radiology department. A single x-ray technician took the plaintiff by gurney to the radiology department for plain films and upon arrival asked the plaintiff to get up and walk into the room and stand on his own for shoulder x-rays. After the first film was taken, when the x-ray technician approached the plaintiff to position him for the second view, he clearly reported that he was very dizzy and unable to stand. The x-ray technician allowed him to sit for a few minutes, but then again asked the plaintiff to stand to be positioned for the second film. After positioning him, the x-ray technician left this trauma patient, who was suffering from dizziness and lightheadedness and who had just received at least two narcotic pain medications, alone in the room, unsupervised.  Just after the x-ray technician left the room, the plaintiff suffered from another syncopal episode and violently fell, striking his head.

 

            Two nurses and an emergency department physician were summoned and found the plaintiff on the floor, pale, cool, and diaphoretic, with frank blood coming from his left ear. Following the incident, in addition to the plaintiff’s ongoing LUQ pain, he was found to be suffering from amnesia and palpable soft tissue changes in the left lower occipital region, with blood in his ear. The plaintiff was sent for CT scanning to further define his injuries. The head CT scan identified a left occipital bone fracture and subdural hematoma.  Comparison with a second set of films identified a developing subarachnoid hemorrhage as well. The decision was made to transfer him to another hospital. He spent a week hospitalized and underwent surgery to treat his injury months later.

 

Injuries:

            Following this fall, the plaintiff was diagnosed as having suffered a left basilar skull fracture and a left posterior occipital bone fracture, which resulted in a subcapsular hematoma. The plaintiff was also diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhagea nondisplaced fracture of his left occipital mastoid and the walls of his auditory canal.  He developed sinus thrombosis and air fluid leaks through the walls of his air cells, middle ear cavity and external auditory canal. The plaintiff continued to suffer from ongoing headaches, dizziness, and hearing loss long after his discharge from the hospital.

 

            The plaintiff continues to suffer from nausea, vertigo, headaches, short term memory loss, word finding difficulties, and extreme pain and fatigue.  He has also suffered from significant hearing loss, with tinnitus, vibrations and pressure in his ear.  Noises and tiredness aggravate each of these symptoms and cause additional episodes of dizziness and vibration.  His permanent hearing difficulties have affected his employment and family activities throughout his recovery and will likely always be present.

 

Verdict/Settlement: The parties settled at mediation, without suit being filed for a confidential amount.

 

Plaintiff’s Counsel (please include name and firm):

 

Mark A. Abramson, Esquire and Holly B. Haines, Esquire

Firm:   Abramson, Brown & Dugan

                                1819 Elm Street

                          Manchester, NH 03104

 

Name of Case/County:        Rockingham County