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Documentary Conveys Hospital’s Gross Negligence, Resulting in Record-breaking Settlement

A hospital in Texas admitted an elderly man named Rip for complaints of fever and debilitating back pain. However, the medical staff let him languish for an inexcusable five days, causing him to become paraplegic. Despite warnings of a suspected spinal epidural abscess from Rip’s initial emergency room visit, the hospital placed him on a waitlist to see a neurosurgeon. While he could have been treated at another facility only minutes away, the hospital staff chose to keep Rip within its billing system, prioritizing profits over safety. To attain justice for Rip and his family, Sean Breen of Howry Breen & Herman, LLP conveyed the hospital’s gross negligence and the human costs of its inaction with a detailed documentary.

When Rip was admitted for the spinal abscess, a nurse told him there were no neurosurgeons available and that he would be transferred to one of the hospital’s sister locations. Given the nature and severity of Rip’s symptoms, the standard of care dictated that doctors should have immediately intervened. Instead, it took three days to get medical imagery confirming the abscess in his thoracic spine. Then, even with unmistakable evidence mandating an emergency neurosurgical consultation, Rip waited an additional three days before anything was done. Meanwhile, his medical expenses accumulated, and paralysis set in. Ironically, this hospital touted its ability to provide patients with same-day care.

On the fourth day of his hospital stay, Rip awoke with neurological deficits, including confusion, incontinence, and numbness. The untreated abscess was cutting off blood flow and strangling his spine. On the fifth day, Rip and his wife were told by a doctor everything would be okay. However, within 24 hours, Rip was paralyzed, septic, and suffering internal hemorrhaging. At midnight on the sixth day, Rip was finally transferred to a sister hospital where he underwent an emergency thoracic laminectomy and decompression. Unfortunately, permanent damage was done.

Devastated and angry over the hospital's idleness, Rip’s wife contacted Sean Breen. Sean knew he needed to resolve the case as soon as possible to get Rip and his family the compensation they deserved. His strategy was to communicate three concepts to the Defendant’s risk managers: (1) the hospital’s gross negligence, (2) the human impact of their greed, and (3) the monetary costs of maintaining and improving Rip’s quality of life and health. He called on DK Global to create a documentary outlining Rip’s lack of treatment and a day-in-the-life video conveying the devastating effects of the hospital’s delays.

The documentary began with Rip’s first emergency room admittance with obvious signs of a spinal epidural abscess. But when staff attempted to take an MRI, it was too painful for Rip and they advised him to go to the larger hospital. Initial doctors from the medical center shared their diagnoses with the hospital. Still, even with no neurosurgeons available, the hospital admitted Rip into their system. As his symptoms worsened, new attending doctors ordered an MRI of the wrong location. When Rip’s abscess was finally revealed with a second MRI, nothing was done until another three days, resulting in Rip’s paralysis.

Next, a day-in-the-life video of Rip and his family showed the real, immeasurable costs of the hospital’s indifference. Rip’s wife was fully responsible for his lifecare, destroying their plans of retirement and traveling. Finally, Rip’s lifecare plan was displayed and calculated, including his medical expenses, loss of earnings, and the punitive damages that were warranted considering the hospital’s gross negligence.

Thirty days before a scheduled mediation, Sean sent a demand package along with the documentary to the hospital’s risk management department. He attained a record-breaking settlement during mediation, providing Rip the compensation he deserved.

Sean Breen is a record-setting, experienced trial attorney who has won numerous Hall of Fame verdicts and recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. Sean has been recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” for personal injury, product liability, commercial litigation, and more. Additionally, Sean was selected to be part of the prestigious Multi-Million Dollar Advocates ForumNational Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and Super Lawyers.

"I couldn't have done it without the help of DK Global and the presentation. The presentation was a key factor in this settlement."
Sean Breen - Howry Breen & Herman, LLP
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