On the 4th day of trial, attorneys Daniel S. Weinstock, Daniel J. Mann, and Carolyn Chopko secured a $3.75 million dollar settlement for the family of a 15-year-old boy who died as a result of a failure of physicians to diagnose and treat a venous sinus thrombosis (a blood clot located in the veins that are at the rear of the head). The confidential nature of the settlement agreement does not permit the names of the parties to be disclosed.
The young man presented to the defendant physicians several times over the span of a week, complaining of localized headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Originally, his symptoms were thought to be due to a viral infection, because they were accompanied by a sore throat and runny nose. However, the headache, nausea, and vomiting persisted even though the viral symptoms resolved. Eventually the young man developed photophobia (light sensitivity), a finding that should have alerted the defendants that something was severely wrong. However, a CT scan was not ordered on an urgent basis.
During trial, the evidence demonstrated that the physicians should have recognized that photophobia, coupled with a localized headache, was an alarming finding that required an immediate CT scan. If a CT scan had been performed, the diagnosis of venous sinus thrombosis could have easily been made, and Heparin could have been used to break up the clot. An animation was used to demonstrate that a timely diagnosis earlier in the day would have saved the young man’s life.
The trial was conducted in Philadelphia’s “high-tech” courtroom, which allowed extensive medical illustrations, charts, and records to be displayed in a manner that allowed the jury to understand the complex medical issues presented by the case.