Dallas, TXLinda Turley is a soft spoken Texas lawyer who carries a big stick in the courtroom. Her efforts recently won a Dallas maintenance worker $7.5 million after a doctor failed to correctly diagnosis and treat a hospital infection that led to gangrene in both his arms and legs. "It is absolutely terrible to think you can go into hospital for ulcer surgery and then end up being transferred to another hospital to have your limbs amputated," said attorney Turley. "It absolutely should never have happened and the jury agreed." It is one of many medical malpractice lawsuits Turley has won for her clients.
In 2003, 53-year-old David Fitzgerald entered RDH Medical Centre in Farmers Ranch for a routine stomach ulcer operation. Within days of the surgery, he went into septic shock. The hospital's infectious disease specialist failed to recognize that the patient contracted MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylcoccus Aureus, a common infection hazard present in almost every hospital and a recognized threat to patients.
"If the doctor had recognized that this was a MRSA infection and provided the right antibiotic treatment for my client, he would have walked out of hospital with both arms and legs--but that didn't happen," says Turley, with a sigh.
Despite the fact that Fitzgerald was coughing up green phlegm and clearly had a lung infection, a sure sign of MRSA, the doctor chose to focus on what he believed was infection confined to the site of the patient's incision.
"MRSA is everywhere, both in hospitals and in the community," says Turley. "According to the statistics from 2003 that we brought forward at trial, a third of all hospital infections are infections of the lungs—and a third of those lung infections are MRSA."
The question was not how Fitzgerald got the infection, but rather, what the doctor did to treat it. "He should have provided the patient with the full range of antibiotics including ones that would fight MRSA," Turley says. "He was not treated quickly and with the appropriate antibiotics."
Eventually the error was realized. To save his life, both arms and legs had to be amputated and his world was forever changed. "He is unable to work, or zip up his pants, or comb his hair, or go to the bathroom without help," says Turley, "and this is never going to change, he's never going to get better and he will need psychological help for the rest of his life.
"I can tell you from having spent a lot time with my client that people stare because he looks so different, and children--even adults--say inappropriate and hurtful things to him. He has chosen to withdraw from the Dallas community and lives out in the country now."
Turley describes the jury in the case as an exceptionally hardworking and thoughtful group of men and women. They recommended Fitzgerald be awarded $17.5 million, but because of caps in Texas the amount is limited to $7.5 million including a limit of $250,000 for non-economic damages. Turley says "the caps are unfair," and adds "this is absolutely unreasonable and we will address that at an appellate level."
Linda Turley began practicing law in 1983. She has been board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1988. Ms. Turley has the highest professional and ethical ranking among her peers (AV). She handles cases in Products Liability, Negligence, Medical Malpractice and Special Projects sections. Through out her career she has handled serious injury and death cases.
In 2010, my mother was an very healthy, active woman at age 75. A routine eye exam led to seeing the doctor for slightly high blood pressure which led to the discovery of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. She saw a specialist who recommended just keeping an eye on it, but 6 months later, determined that it was time to repair it. My mother came through the surgery fine, but two weeks after being released from the hospital, she was having such a difficult time breathing that I took her back to the hospital. It was discovered that during surgery, the surgeon had injured the thoracic duct, causing chylopericardium. All I was told was that chyle was now leaking into her body. My mother was sent to Kindred LTC because the surgeon said she would heal on her own. My mother just continued to deteriorate and ended up in the ICU. Kindred was not prepared to handle someone so ill, so I had her taken by ambulance to back to the Methodist hospital. She was in septic shock, however, she managed to pull through. Not once did I ever again see the doctor/surgeon who had performed the surgery. It was four months from the time my mother had the surgery before the doctor who ran the MICU unit at Methodist insisted my mother be moved to another LTC facility. Within a week of doing so, the septic shock got worse and my mother passed away. I spoke with a couple of lawyers, but I was so devastated, I just couldn't keep telling the story of what all went on. And it was the same story, it's next to impossible to win a medical malpractice lawsuit in the state of Texas. The more I learned about her condition, how chyle leakage causes serious nutritional, metabolic, and immunologic abnormalities without treatment, the more furious I became. So many horrible things went on.....the surgeon wanting my mom to "wait" and see his brother, who was also a doctor, and instead of him coming to my mom, she was strapped to a gurney with all the equipment attached and taken by ambulance a block down instead of him coming to her. The head of the MICU at Methodist insisting my mother had to be relocated, although all the doctors treating her said she was too sick to do so. The list goes on and on. But the attorneys I did speak with seemed to think because she was 75 years old, I guess her life was expendable. Now that my mom has been gone five years, I have the strength to fight, but of course, with the statute of limitations, it is futile.
Posted by Virginia Ortiz
FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ILLNESS
Death Certificate Cause of Death: (a) Sepsis (b) Pneumonia OTHER: Cellulitis, Aspiration of Peg Feedings. Date of Fall: 11.16.14 Date of Death 1.7.15
My dad, Ramon Mendiola, age 86 fell down and broke his hip at home on 11.16.14. Prior to his fall, he lived alone and did everything on his own. He lived at his home, cooked for himself and drove his truck nearby his home. He ate healthy foods and never missed his doctor’s appointments. All conditions stated below, he did not have before his fall. He was operated at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital and received a total hip replacement, thereafter; he was transferred to Hunter’s Pond Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center on 11.21.14. During the latter part of his stay at Hunter’s Pond we noticed the symptoms of pneumonia got worse and he didn't want to eat. At Hunter’s Pond we only saw and spoke to nurses, we never saw a doctor. We wanted to take him to a hospital; however, we were told he could not leave without doctor’s orders. After two days and no doctor we just left, as his condition worsen.
When he arrived at the Methodist Stone Oak Hospital on 12.14.14, The ER nurse said, “His condition is unacceptable and all could have been prevented.” My dad was severely mal nutrition, dehydrated, had pneumonia, kidney failure (which got better), ulcers on heels and toes (these were getting treatment at Hunter’s Pond) and bed sores on his buttocks. These were not receiving treatment. In the Hunter’s Ponds medical records it states that they didn’t know he had bed sores on his buttocks. Thereafter, we were told he needed a PEG tube placement and we needed to wear a mask, gloves and a gown to see my dad during his stay here and did so until his death.
He was then transferred to Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital of San Antonio on 12.22.14 they gave him good care, but here he developed a urinary tract infection and showed symptoms of Sundown Syndrome. At the end of December we were told that he was (1) back to normal and he could leave. I strongly disagreed. I replied, “He can’t even dress himself. (2) The second reason given was that he was only getting “custodial care” and he needed to be transferred out. When we arrived here, we were told that he would not leave until he is able to do all things he used to do before his fall.
On 1.2.15 he was transferred to Kindard Hospital San Antonio. After receiving a modified barium swallow test on 1.6.15, we were told that he could eat a soft diet. On 1.7.15 in the morning he went to physical therapy, he was very weak due to lack of sleep. At about 1:30 p.m., he ate for the first time a spoon of chicken salad and 3-4 oz. of tea, immediately thereafter, he aspirated. The lung specialist Jonathan came in about 3 p.m. and gave him some treatments, thereafter, he fell asleep. At about 10:15 p.m. we were called and told that he had stopped breathing for us to rush to the hospital.
After receiving and reviewing his death certificate it indicates that he died of ”Sepsis”. We were never told by anyone that he had Sepsis nor was he ever tested nor treated for Sepsis per all his medical records. His medical records at the Methodist Stone Oak Hospital state: “Was he tested for sepsis?” No answer to this question was left blank.
We wish to seek justice for the improper care received, failure to diagnose and failure to treat existing infections (buttocks bed sores and sepsis) which lead to his death. We have requested medical records from all locations and will provide them to you upon request.
Posted by thomas mcleish
overdose of narcotics left my child in a coma in new orleans childrens hospital april 2016 resulting in brain shrinkage as shown on autopsy she later died where autopsy showed many unknown things not diagnosed such as liver swollen bad brain went flat in an area died as stated on autopsy in hospital as pneumonia but she had mrsa and being treated for septis none of this we were told just told had an infection,we were never informed that she was in picu as well as we were never informed of how bad she was,it went from being told her pancreas was swollen with high levels then all we knew she died when got a call from picu around 5am september 19th,even they did not know what she died from at the hospital,just seems so much for us to try sort out ourselves
Posted by baltz diane
Had colon cancer 2006/ later hernia. Went to hospital to fix hernia. Got mrsa . Have been depressed for last years. Scar size of big cell phone, now have several hernias. Lost my job, because of my cancer. I feel Florida lawyers. Only want easy cases. I ended up short on my social security. I live on less than poverty . I could not find a lawyer to take my case I am 67 now. This is how we treat the seniors.
Posted by Linda Smith
I am so tired of trying to get help for my mother no one wants to deal with this. I am just out done!
Posted by Andrew Sargeant
I ak 68 years old , not much time left. Last year a local hospital gave me MRSA. I have 14 rejection letters from attorneys that will not take my case. I lost a year of my lofe and I want this hospital to pay for the year I nlost. Please give me a reference of and attorney in Florida that will help me.
Posted by tammy
My mom contact mrsa in the hospital. We was told after 45 days of treatment it was gone. Four months later she became tire. We thought it was her pacemaker malfunction to find out mrsa got into the leads of the pacemaker and destroyed it. While waiting she had to be remove from her blood thinner Xarlto which led to two strokes in two weeks. The third stroke left her with no brain activities as the family made the decision to take her off the ventilator. We later found out the the MRSA infection was in her body too long as they were treating her to possible other health issues. We want information that will prevent other family from an unexplainable death.
Posted by walter wokcik
I have been diagnosed with mrsa after ortho scope surgery and the follow up apt for knee surgery.
Posted by Dr. Moojan Donaldson
Dear Law Firm,
I am a doctor in pharmaceutical sciences with a Pharm. D. degree from
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certain capacities in medical malpractice when it is
medication related and more. I am currently the clinical director of a long term care pharmacy. I educate law firms about their cases and prepare them for trial by helping them understand the scientific and molecular basis of the issues involved. Should you just want to know if you have a case, I can help determine that for a flat rate of $150.00.
The pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of medications vary from person to person as our genetic make up, body composition and physiology are so very different. The key to my success is the acknowledgment that every person metabolizes drugs differently and that the same medication can produce altered effects in different individuals . In addition to the above factors, drug-drug interactions, food-drug combinations, and herbal/supplemental therapies also effect the fate of the drug in the body. Therefore, every case needs to be regarded with a detailed eye on many hidden facts that are usually available, but frequently missed.
I have been practicing Forensic Pharmacy for over 22 years with emphasis on the individuality of each case. Distance is of no object as I am happy to travel as far as needed to assist you and your firm.
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Posted by Dale Burton
I also contacted mrsa after open heart surgery in March of 2011. It is a devastating disease. The mrsa is in my lungs. I have problems breathing every day and was hospitalized in Jan of 2013 with mrsa of my lungs. I would like to know if I have a case. My health has been failing since I contacted the infection. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I agree the gentlman in this case was due this money and and even money can't give him back his quality of live. God bless him and also you for helping him. Thanks for your time. Dale Burton
Posted by toni murdien
my moms white cell have climb very high since attending a rehab facility after they have used a catether. i need infomation on what steps i need to take now that she has also contracted brochitis.
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