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Animation Show Medical Malpractice Resulting in Drowning by Excess Saline

When a California hospital admitted an end-stage renal patient named Robert for an outbreak of shingles and urinary retention, their standard of care fell short, leaving Robert a victim of medical malpractice. Using a medical animation during mediation, Matthew Breining of Cutter Law helped Robert’s wife attain a favorable settlement by illustrating the hospital’s negligent care that ultimately drowned her husband.

The day after he arrived, Robert was put on dialysis and continuously administered saline and valacyclovir to treat his shingles. However, due to a combination of Robert’s anuria and underlying high blood pressure, the fluids and antiviral medication accumulated rapidly, inducing valacyclovir neurotoxicity.

Robert was transferred to the ICU, where doctors continued to give him 100mL of saline every hour despite their knowledge that it was putting massive stress on his dysfunctional heart. By the end of the day, staff had given Robert 3,386 mL of saline, causing his lungs to fill with fluid and inducing cardiopulmonary arrest. Tragically, doctors could not resuscitate Robert fast enough, resulting in a hypoxic brain injury. He was put on a ventilator and was removed from life support days later.

Matthew took on the case and retained a team of medical experts, including a nephrologist and pharmacist, to testify and outline the hospital’s malpractice. Then, he employed DK Global’s help to create a presentation that would illustrate his experts’ complex medical testimonies.

The presentation began with a timeline detailing the events from Robert’s admittance to when doctors removed him from life support. Next, a diagnosis from Matthew’s medical expert was shown, stating how the staff’s decision to administer saline every hour with Robert’s kidneys failing led to an accelerated elevation in his blood pressure, aggravating his damaged heart. Then, two two-liter bottles were presented with water to visualize the excess amount of saline Robert was given in a day. Finally, CT scans were displayed alongside a 3D model of Robert’s lungs as they filled with fluid, causing cardiopulmonary arrest, and ultimately, a fatal hypoxic brain injury.

After litigating for three years, Matthew shared the medical animation with the opposing counsel during mediation, securing a favorable settlement for Robert’s wife.

Golden Advocate winner Matthew Breining practices personal injury, class action, and insurance bad faith cases. In 2020, Matthew received the title "Rising Star" by the Super Lawyers publication, a designation of top-rated practicing attorneys through extensive evaluations. Recently, Best Lawyers recognized Matthew among their “Ones to Watch” for his expertise and commitment to his clients.

"DK Global helped with getting a visual that can really connect the juror to the facts."
Matthew Breining – Cutter Law P.C.
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