Law firm gets $10 million verdict against UPMC Shadyside Hospital for medical malpractice which caused patient’s death
The law firm of Berger & Lagnese, LLC, based in Pittsburgh, PA obtained a $10 million verdict against UPMC Shadyside Hospital for medical malpractice which caused the death of Michael Rettger. This is the largest ever recorded medical malpractice verdict in Pittsburgh, PA.
Michael Rettger was a 24 year old accountant who died from a brain herniation while he was a patient at UPMC Shadyside Hospital.
On November 11th, Mr. Rettger experienced a severe headache and nausea/vomiting, and went to the emergency room at Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia, where he was performing an audit for his accounting firm, Ernst & Young. A recent respiratory tract infection was noted, and he was prescribed Phenergan, an anti-emetic, and discharged.
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On November 13th, Mr. Rettger returned to the hospital with the same complaints in addition to hemoptysis (coughing up blood). He was admitted and a CT scan and MRI revealed a large mass in his brain with extensive swelling. On November 15th, he was transferred to UPMC Shadyside Hospital, which was closer to home. UPMC Shadyside decided that the mass was either a tumor or an abscess. During the next several days he was seen by Dr. Eugene Bonaroti, a neurosurgeon, and surgery was planned for November 19th.
At 1:05 a.m. on November 19th, the night before the planned surgery, Mr. Rettger was experiencing severe head pain. Most importantly, nurse Kirsten Stalder noted and documented that Mr. Rettger had a fixed and dilarted right pupil, which is a sign of a medical emergency requiring immediate physician attention. Nurse Stalder testified that she phoned Dr. Bonaroti and notified him of the fixed and dilated pupil. Dr. Bonaroti testifed that nurse Stalder phoned him but did not tell him of the fixed and dilated pupil. In any case, Dr. Bonaroti did not come to the hospital or take any other action. Likewise, nurse Stalder did not take any other action and did not report the fixed and dilated pupil to anyone else. Nurse Stalder gave Mr. Rettger doses of Dilaudid intravenously, a strong narcotic pain medication, during the night but this did not relieve Mr. Rettger’s head pain.
At 6 a.m. Mr. Rettger experienced a hight temperatue and a blood pressure of 190/90, as well as shortness of breath. Approximately 30 minute later, Mr. Rettger became lethargic and was unable to move his extremities. Shortly after 7 a.m., Mr. Rettger stopped breathing and his brain herniated. He was resuscitated and rushed to the operating room for emergency brain surgery. Dr. Bonaroti found a brain abscess that had caused Mr. Rettger’s brain to herniate. Mr. Rettger died the following day. Had this abscess been operated on and removed prior to herniation, Mr. Rettger would have recovered and had a normal life. He would have been able to return to work as an accountant.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paul Lagnese and David Paul, attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC, worked on this case on behalf of the Rettger family. They filed a wrongful death lawsuit against UPMC Shadyside Hospital. During a trial in May 2008, these attorneys obtained a jury verdict in which the jury found that UPMC Shadyside Hospital was negligent and caused Mr. Rettger’s death. The jury’s verdict was for $2.5 million all of which was a verdict for Mr. Rettger’s mother.
In a trial in 2011, the attorneys of Berger & Lagnese, LLC obtained a jury verdict for $10 million against UPMC Shadyside Hospital to account for the wages that Mr. Rettger would have earned had he not died as a result of the the Hospital’s negligence. With delay damages and interest, UPMC had to pay more than $14 million. UPMC Shadyside Hospital appealed the jury’s verdict but it was upheld on appeal.
Contact the Skilled Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA at Berger & Lagnese, LLC for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice in Pittsburgh, PA or the surrounding areas, you could be entitled to compensation. As seen in the case above, even prestigious medical institutions in Pittsburgh have malpractice cases, including UPMC Mercy, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and Forbes Hospital. If you believe that you’ve been victimized by medical malpractice, call the Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Berger & Lagnese, LLC for a free consultation. Our office is located at 310 Grant St #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219; consultations can be scheduled either online or over the phone at (412) 275-4122.