We were honored to represent the family of I.S., a 39-year old wife and mother of two. I.S. was a certified nurse aide who worked long shifts on her feet. This caused her to develop a painful bunion on her left foot. I.S.’s podiatrist recommended surgery to remove the bunion and I.S. agreed. I.S. would be immobile for six weeks after the surgery. Because I.S. had risk factors for post-surgical blood clots, the podiatrist placed her on a three-week course of blood thinners.
Several days after I.S. finished the blood thinners, she developed debilitating pain in the surgical leg. When the pain became unbearable, I.S.’s husband drove her to Urgent Care. The Urgent Care was affiliated with I.S.’s podiatrist so the emergency medicine doctor knew I.S.’s recent surgical history and use of blood thinners.
Despite knowing this history, the emergency medicine doctor failed to perform any testing for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot in the leg. Definitive testing was readily available, but she failed to order it. Instead, the emergency medicine doctor diagnosed I.S. with “back pain,” prescribed opioids to mask the pain, and sent her home.
Eight days later, I.S. collapsed in her bedroom in front of her husband and son. She was rushed to a local hospital where I.S. was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism in her lung, which had traveled from the DVT. Despite life-saving efforts, I.S. died.
I.S.’s husband, 18-year old son, and 11-year old daughter were devastated by her loss in the prime of her life. I.S.’s husband and son presented compelling testimony about I.S.’s love of life, her compassion for her patients, and (as an African immigrant) her hard work to provide a better life for her family.
After a five-day trial and four hours of deliberation, our seven-member jury delivered a unanimous verdict in favor of the family and awarded $12 million dollars.