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Medical Negligence – Woman Left with Undiagnosed Aneurysm, Ends Up in Long-Term Care

It all started when a 58-year-old California woman arrived at a Chicago area hospital complaining of headaches with nausea and vomiting. Her condition got so severe that she couldn't drive properly, pulling over at the side of the road when the headaches started. Doctors diagnosed her with sinusitis and sent her home. A few days later, she returned to the facility with the same complaint but was again diagnosed with a sinus infection and sent home.

Five days later, the woman suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm. The bleeding in her brain was catastrophic and resulted in permanent neurological deficit, requiring round-the-clock care.

The woman’s family contacted Adria East Mossing, Jim Navarre, and Merna Abusamen of the law firm Mossing & Navarre shortly after admitting her to a nursing home. Adria, Jim, and Merna first investigated the events leading up to the aneurysm. After reviewing the woman’s medical records, the attorneys realized that their client had experienced a sentinel bleed (a warning leak) ten days before the catastrophic rupture.

Adria, Jim, and Merna retained a team of medical experts to validate their arguments, including a neuroradiologist, a physiatrist, and a world-renowned neurocritical care specialist. According to the experts, when the woman first went to the hospital, the headaches, nausea, and vomiting she described were all symptoms of sentinel bleeding and early signs of a rupturing aneurysm. Because it was a new-onset headache, the symptoms should have been treated more critically.

Additionally, the experts added that had doctors diagnosed and stopped the sentinel bleeding at the initial stage and had the aneurysm been diagnosed before it ruptured, timely treatment could have made all the difference. The woman would continue to have a career and live a full life. However, due to her doctor’s negligence, she ended up undergoing brain surgery post-rupture and will never be able to live independently again.

By contrast, the Defense argued that sinus infections are common, so it was a justified diagnosis. To overcome that claim, Adria, Jim, and Merna reasoned that the doctors would have detected the bleeding had they sent her for a CT scan when she first showed symptoms. However, to reinforce that assertion, they needed to demonstrate how the woman’s headaches, nausea, and vomiting were connected to the ruptured aneurysm. Thus, they recruited DK Global to create a 3D animated presentation they could use during trial.

The animation began with a view of the underside of the woman’s brain, focusing on the right posterior communicating artery. The aneurysm was shown pulsating as it gradually swelled. Next, the sentinel bleed was depicted, a small amount of blood releasing into the subarachnoid space. Then, the presentation illustrated the total rupture, causing permanent brain damage. Finally, the timeline of events was outlined — beginning with the onset of the woman’s symptoms, then her medical visits, and then the rupture, followed by emergent neurosurgery. Throughout the timeline, the animation explained how intervention during each visit could have prevented the woman’s stroke.

During pre-trial, the Defendants offered a settlement much lower than the Plaintiff's needs. Adria, Jim, and Merna rejected the offer and prepared for trial. They played the animation for the jurors, who as a result unanimously agreed that the woman’s symptoms were from the sentinel bleed. After eight days of trial, the Defense offered to settle the case for $8,500,000, which Adria, Jim, and Merna accepted.

Adria East Mossing of Mossing & Navarre began her legal career at a large insurance defense firm. She now uses her expertise to represent the survivors of medical malpractice and catastrophic injuries. As a Past President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Adria is rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell and listed among the “Top 25 Attorneys” by the National Women Trial Lawyers Association.

Jim Navarre of Mossing & Navarre started his career as a partner at a Chicago defense firm and served as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney for eight years. Today, Jim has secured multiple multimillion-dollar jury verdicts involving civil and criminal matters. Rated an Illinois “Super Lawyer,” Jim was recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” by his peers and Leading Lawyers.

Merna Abusamen of Mossing & Navarre earned her law degree in May 2020 and recovered $8,500,000 in her first jury trial in 2022. Representing those involved in complex medical malpractice and personal injury matters, Merna is a member of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois, and previously worked at an International Human Rights Legal Clinic, providing help for asylum-seeking families.

"Thanks to DK Global, certainly, this was another big success for our firm and, most importantly, for our clients."
Adria East Mossing - Mossing & Navarre, LLC
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