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Our client was a 68-year-old woman from California, Pennsylvania, who successfully underwent cardiac artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG) at a Pittsburgh hospital. She did well during the surgery and appeared to be on the road to a full recovery. She was being monitored by a nurse who had delegated some of the monitoring responsibilities to a nursing student. After visiting hours, our client's blood pressure was not monitored for several hours and began to drop steadily. This is a fairly common complication following surgery and can be treated by the nursing staff. However, the nursing staff did not notice the readings and did not check on our client, believing she was asleep. The nursing staff belatedly realized that our client had become non-responsive. She was resuscitated but paralyzed from the chest down by a spinal infarction caused by prolonged low blood pressure.
A medical malpractice lawsuit was brought on her behalf in Allegheny County to recover damages for her loss of enjoyment of life, her permanent disability, and her staggering medical bills. Her family heroically cared for her at home, but she died during the pendency of the lawsuit. The case was converted to a wrongful death case and a high six-figure settlement with the insurance company for the hospital was reached.