Thomas Kline: Lawsuit over teen mom's catastrophic brain bleed during emergency C-section ends abruptly
Pennsylvania Real-Time News
A medical malpractice trial that alleged two doctors and a nurse were negligent in their care ofa pregnant teen who suffered a catastrophic brain bleed during emergency surgeryended suddenly Thursday with a confidential settlement.
No details of the settlement from the Lancaster County case can be revealed, said Thomas Kline, attorney for Analisa Ramos, 22, who has remained quadriplegic since the 2010 emergency C-section.
Defense attorneys for the medical team and Lancaster General Hospital could not be reached for comment or did not respond to phone calls or emails from PennLive. But they previously denied the claims of the civil lawsuit in opening statements and said the tragic outcome could not have been prevented.
The settlement came on the morning of what would have been the ninth day of trial, ending proceedings that originally were projected to last at least two weeks.
The trial started Monday Oct. 23 with jury selection andattorneys gave opening statements Tuesday Oct. 24.The rest of the week, Kline put on his witnesses, including Ramos herself, who cannot talk but can communicate through blinking or typing individual letters on an electronic tablet.
Defense attorneys brought in their witnesses and experts this week and had not yet finished their case when the settlement was agreed upon.
At issue in the case was whether Analisa's massive brain bleed was triggered by the girl's medical care or whether it could have been prevented or detected earlier. She was 35 weeks pregnant when her doctor diagnosed a problem with her placenta and umbilical cord that prompted her trip to the hospital.
Kline alleged the doctors and nurse should have recognized emerging signs of preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication, and better monitored Analisa, who was 15 at the time.
Kline maintains the doctors should have checked for protein in her urine and should have delayed the surgery when Analisa complained of headache and nausea.
But defense attorneys deny that Analisa had preeclampsia and said their treatment was within the standard of care.
They say only six of her 28 blood pressure readings during her pregnancy were elevated, and they were the ones taken after she learned she was going to have emergency surgery and that her baby was in danger.
The defense attorneys - Chris Stump, James Kilcoyne and Lauralee Baker - also argued that nausea and headache are common side-effects from a spinal anesthesia.
Kline did not ask for a specific dollar amount when he filed the lawsuit but he brought in an expert economist who testified last week about Ramos' ongoing and future medical costs.
According to Kline's pretrial report, the cost of her future care is projected to be between $427,000 and $477,000 each year. At the high end, that could extrapolate into more than $19 million over 40 years.
She also suffered the loss of future earning potential projected between $760,000 and $1.9 million, according to Kline's pretrial report.
Ramos has a near normal life expectancy, according to the lawsuit, but she is stuck in a "locked-in" syndrome where she is aware of everything going on around her yet unable to talk, move or participate in any of it.
She is incontinent, eats mostly through a tube and never has been able to hug her son, who is now 7. She lives with her mother in Lancaster with in-home skilled nursing care.
Kline is known as one of the top medical malpractice attorneys in the Commonwealth, regularly winning multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.
According to Kline's website,he won one of the largest medical malpractice verdicts in Pennsylvania history in 2013- for a child born with cerebral palsy after she received substandard medical treatment at a Philadelphia hospital. His client won $42.9 million.
That year, he also won an $11.6 million settlement for a former University of Pennsylvania student who fell through a raised skylight at an off-campus residence and was rendered a paraplegic.
He is currently representing the parents of Timothy Piazza,who died after a series of falls inside a Penn State fraternity house during a pledge party.