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Samer HabbasRiverside, Calif. – Managing partner, Samer Habbas of the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates obtained a $1,500,000 settlement in a wrongful death claim caused by medical malpractice.

A woman presented to urgent care after a t-bone car accident with complaints of severe pain on the left side of her body, specifically pain in her neck, shoulder, and ribs, as well as nausea. The patient was referred for radiology by the attending physician, and her radiographs were examined by the radiologist. Her cervical spine examination showed no abnormalities and her left shoulder radiograph showed a superior elevation of the clavicle without fracture. The patient was diagnosed with left acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation and nausea. The treating physician prescribed anti-nausea and pain medication for her discomfort and she was referred to an orthopedic surgeon.

After being released from the hospital, the patient collapsed at home where her husband attempted CPR and called 911. The patient was transported to an emergency medical facility and coded by staff for forty minutes until stabilized. She underwent various tests and exams, including X-rays, CT scans, and a FAST exam. Tests revealed she had rib fractures, liver lacerations, stroke-like symptoms and spleen injuries. The patient was immediately taken to surgery for a laparotomy and splenectomy.

After surgery, the patient was transferred to the surgical intensive care unit (SICU), where a postoperative CT scan revealed a subdural hematoma with hernia. At this point, she had entered organ failure and was declared brain dead later that day.

Despite what the decedent described as a 10/10 pain level on the left side of her body, neither the attending physician nor the radiologist treated her as a trauma patient. A total body CT scan was not ordered and no FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma) examination was performed. Additionally, the now-deceased patient was not transferred to an acute care hospital that had the proper equipment to treat her undiagnosed injuries. All these missed protocols and lack of attention led to the premature death of the patient.

It is clear that the onus is on the defendants for failing to properly examine, diagnose and treat the deceased. Any reasonably sensible physician would have categorized the decedent as a trauma patient based on her exhibiting symptoms, to which she would have been immediately transferred to a trauma hospital. The medical records alone prove the poor level of care performed by the treating physician, notwithstanding that the patient reported directly from the scene of a car accident, the treating physician should have been on high alert to the likelihood that suffered a splenic injury or head trauma. The patient trusted the ER medical team, who essentially sent her home with a bandage over an open wound.

The medical records alone prove the poor level of care performed by the treating physician, leaving no defenses for their negligent actions. The patient trusted the ER medical team, who essentially sent her home with a bandage over an open wound.


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