Medical Malpractice

Because the results obtained in specific cases depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, past case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in future cases undertaken by a lawyer or law firm.

$1.34 Million for Brain Injury from Diagnostic Test

Patient went to a spinal operative treatment center in Reston, VA for a diagnostic discogram procedure of the cervical spine. The patient suffered a toxic brain injury following an injection into the spinal canal. The defendant denied injecting into the spinal canal but Sickels, Frei and Mims conducted an investigation and found X-rays showing the discogram needle had in fact enter the spinal canal and an MRI of the brain showed a coating of fluid surrounding the brain. A spinal tap proved negative for blood. The jury awarded $1.34 million to the victim.

Gastric ByPass Surgery Results in Brain Damage

Patient suffered brain injury and multiple organ failure due to anemia, hypotension and hyper-profusion during and following a gastric bypass surgery at an area hospital. Sickels, Frei and Mims successfully established the Defendants'-- the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, CNRAs, the nursing staff and the hospital -- shared responsibility for failure to monitor and respond to his critically low blood pressure, oxygen carrying capacity of blood and blood volume. The Defendants failed to appreciate and timely intervene when the patient progressed to multiple organ failure. The patient suffered brain injury and organ failure due to insufficient oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, low blood volume and low blood pressure. This case was resolved with a favorable settlement for the patient.

Negligent Psychiatric Polypharmacy Injures 12 Patients

Twelve patients under the care and treatment of a psychiatrist in Arlington, Virginia were inappropriately prescribed a host of psychiatric drugs resulting in serious impairments and permanent damage to the patients' cognitive abilities. Sickels, Frei and Mims spearheaded the litigation against the psychiatrist and the case resulted in a favorable settlement to each of the twelve patients.

$1.245 Million for Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer

A 50-year old man had his routine physical, including a prostate exam and blood tests. His PSA (prostate specific antigen, a marker for prostate cancer) was normal at 1.0ng/MI (0-4 is normal) and his prostate was normal. He changed doctors due to a change in his health insurance and continued regular physical exams for four years. During his next physical, his PSA was 44.9ng/MI -- an increase of more than 400%. A biopsy confirmed prostate cancer which had metastasized and was deemed incurable. During the four years he was a patient of the second medical practice, he was never screened for prostate cancer. The defense argued that 'evidence based medicine' does not support preventive testing because there is insufficient evidence to conclude that early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. The plaintiff successfully argued that prostate cancer screening should occur annually; and, that had timely screening been done, his cancer would have been detected at a time it was curable. The jury awarded the victim $1.245 million. As a result, the medical practice's managing physician said they would revamp record keeping and institute new client protocols.

Failure to Diagnose Cancer Settles for $1 Million

A 36 year-old father of two sought medical help for severe knee pain which then developed into severe back pain as well. His doctor ignored a specialist's recommendation for an MRI and instead treated him for the back pain for the next 12 months. Yet his condition continued to deteriorate, until his hip spontaneously fractured. The cause was a larger cancerous tumor, a tumor that would have been detected by the recommended MRI. By that time, the Ewing's sarcoma had metastasized and sadly, the patient died. Plaintiff successfully argued that had the MRI been performed as recommended, the cancer would have been found before it metastasized and the patient's likelihood of cure would have been 65 to 70 percent.

Patient Undergoes Elective Knee Surgery and Awakens With Her Leg Amputated

Patient had knee discomfort when walking for extended periods of time. The pain was the result of degenerative arthritis the cure, knee replacement. The procedure should be highly successful but the result for this patient was tragic. In preparing the leg for the prosthetic knee, the orthopedic surgeon drilled through the back of the femur and cut the artery. The complication was not recognized until after the surgery was completed. A vascular surgeon was called but could not repair the damage.

The patient came to Sickels, Frei and Mims to find out why this happened to her. Gary Mims and associate Zachary Desmond agreed to handle her case. They went to one of the foremost authorities in knee replacement surgery. He reviewed the case and told the lawyers that this never should have happened no one drills through the back of the femur during this type of procedure.

The case was prepared for trial. Experts were hired, depositions were taken, and just prior to trial the case settled for $1.4 million. This was slightly less than the statutory maximum for medical malpractice cases in Virginia, regardless of the extent of injury, the amount of medical bills or lost earnings or earning capacity, the law limits the amount the plaintiff can recover from the doctor, hospital or their insurance companies. The settlement allowed the patient, who was wheel chair dependent, to make her home handicap accessible, to purchase a vehicle specially equipped for wheel chair access, and to purchase a motorized wheel chair.

Patient Goes to Prince William Hospital for Throat Surgery, and is Discharged a Year Later With Both Legs Amputated Above the Knees

This 60 year old developed throat cancer and was admitted for throat surgery. He expected to be discharged within several days. The throat surgery was successful, and the cancer was removed. However, the day after surgery, the patient underwent bilateral leg amputation. Almost a year later, he was discharged to his home.

The patient was never told why he lost his legs. He contacted Sickels, Frei and Mims to find out. The case was handled by Gary Mims and associate Zachary Desmond. After seeking the advice of surgeons from Johns Hopkins and the University of Kentucky, they learned that the patient had peripheral vascular disease before the surgery and that due to the prolonged surgery the arteries that supply blood to the legs became blocked. The symptoms were recognized by the nurses, but were not addressed medically. Timely intervention by a vascular surgeon could have reestablished blood supply and the legs could have been saved.

After vigorously preparing for the case for over a year, the case settled just weeks prior to trial. The settlement was for 1.6 million dollars. This was put into a structured settlement which will provide tax free income to the patient/client for the rest of his life. It will replace his lost income (since he was a laborer and cannot ever work again), to make his home wheel chair accessible and provide for daily transportation and care.