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Brain Injury from Overdose of Insulin

$4,043,728 – Medical Malpractice/Negligence

Facts

An anesthesia resident overdosed a patient with 1000 units of insulin and then 60-70 amps of D50, sending the patient’s blood sugar to 3,800 mg/dL resulting in a brain injury and seizures.

On May 4th, Plaintiff, a 43-year-old electrician, was in a serious accident in which he was struck by a car while he was riding his bicycle. He was taken to UCSD Medical Center and admitted with multiple injuries, most notably a closed head injury and fractures to his ribs and left lower leg. Over the next several weeks, Plaintiff exhibited many positive signs concerning his improving neurologic status. However, on May 21st, while undergoing a flap/graft procedure, he was negligently administered 1,000 units of insulin by an anesthesia resident, who then attempted to correct the situation by giving him 60-70 amps of D50, sending Plaintiff’s blood glucose to 3,800. This caused Plaintiff to develop seizure activity and caused a global anoxic cerebral injury, secondary to hypoxia, hypotension and metabolic derangement. This event also caused Plaintiff to suffer a hyperosmolar nonketotic coma, complicated by acidosis, hypotension and seizures refractory to medication.

Allegations/Contentions

Plaintiff claimed gross negligence by UCSD physicians and health care personnel, resulting in massive brain injury to Plaintiff.

Defendant argued that Plaintiff was destined to have the same long-term neurologic damage that he lives with presently. They denied that any act or omission on the part of its employees caused or contributed to cause his condition.

Injuries/Damages

Plaintiff suffered a significant brain injury. The Defendant’s expert was of the opinion that but for the May 21st insult, Plaintiff would have been rehabilitated to the point where he could have lived independently, could have been able to communicate and ambulate, and would have had full bowel and bladder function.

Plaintiff is now, and will remain, unable to care for himself. He requires 24-hour care and is totally dependent on others for all activities of daily living. He is now, and will be for the remainder of his life, unemployable.

Past medical costs of $408,745 were covered by Medi-Cal or private insurance. Future medical costs were calculated between $2,720,491 – $7,210,634. Loss of earnings was calculated at $1,000,000 past and future.

Special Notes

The parties settled the case for $4,043,728 present value. Defendant agreed to satisfy any lien claim by MediCal, or other entity, concerning Plaintiff’s medical care administered in any of its facilities. $900,000 was payable in cash with an additional $13,500 per month, guaranteed for 7 years or Plaintiff’s life, whichever is longer, increasing and compounding annually at 3%. An additional $150,000 was payable in 12 years, contingent upon Plaintiff’s being alive.


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