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Record-Breaking Settlement by Sean Breen in MedMal Case Using Day-in-the-Life Documentary

When a Texas hospital admitted a middle-aged man named Rip for fever and debilitating back pain, the medical staff let him languish for days, causing sepsis, internal hemorrhaging, and paralysis. While Rip could have been treated at another facility only minutes away, the staff chose to keep him within its billing system, prioritizing profits over patient safety.  Sean Breen of Howry Breen & Herman, LLP used a documentary in his demand package that outlined the hospital’s gross negligence and the human costs of its inaction, attaining a record-breaking settlement.

Initially, Rip's wife took him to a local emergency room, suffering from clear signs of a spinal epidural abscess. However, when staff attempted to take an MRI of his back, it was too painful. They advised him to go to a larger hospital, which supposedly had more resources. Doctors from Rip’s first emergency room visit warned the hospital of his critical condition. However, when Rip arrived, a nurse told him there were no neurosurgeons available and that he would be transferred to one of the sister locations.

Given the nature and severity of Rip’s symptoms, the standard of care dictated doctors should have intervened immediately. Instead, it took three days to get medical imagery confirming an abscess in his thoracic spine. Even with conclusive evidence mandating an emergency neurosurgical consultation, Rip waited another three days. Meanwhile, his medical expenses accumulated and paralysis loomed ahead.

On the fourth day, Rip awoke, suffering neurological deficits, including confusion, incontinence, and numbness. The untreated abscess strangled his spine, cutting off his circulation. On the fifth day, a doctor consoled Rip’s wife, who was visibly unsettled by the staff's inaction, and explained everything would be okay. Unfortunately, within 24 hours, Rip was rendered paraplegic. Finally, at midnight on the sixth day, Rip was transferred to undergo an emergency laminectomy and decompression. Tragically, it was too late.

Shaken and angry over the hospital’s idleness, Rip’s wife contacted Sean Breen. Sean met with the family and knew he needed to resolve the case quickly to get Rip and his family the compensation they deserved. His strategy was to convey three concepts to the Defendant’s risk managers: (1) the hospital’s gross negligence, (2) the preventable human impact of their greed, and (3) the monetary costs to maintain and improve Rip’s health. As a result, he contacted DK Global to visit Rip and document his experience with a day-in-the-life video.

The documentary began with a narrated animation describing Rip’s first emergency room visit. Doctors shared their diagnosis with the larger hospital, the latter of which admitted Rip into their system despite having no neurosurgeons available. As Rip’s symptoms worsened, new attending doctors ordered an MRI of the wrong location. When a second MRI finally revealed Rip’s abscess, nothing was done until three days later, resulting in paralysis.

Next, a day-in-the-life video showed the immeasurable costs of the hospital’s indifference as Rip and his family shared their devastation. Rip’s wife was now fully responsible for his care, ruining their retirement plans and dreams of 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.

Because Sean had DK Global create the documentary early on, he included it in his demand package, sharing it with the hospital’s risk management department a month before mediation. As a result, Sean attained a record-breaking settlement, providing Rip with 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.

"We wanted to get it done quickly, whether it was going to be filed and tried quickly, or sit down with them and try to resolve it. And so, I reached out to the 800-pound gorilla – that's DK Global."
Sean Breen - Howry Breen & Herman, LLP
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