Case: Ariel Alvarez as Personal Representative of the Estate of Diana Alvarez vs. A National Hospital Chain, Gerald Pixter, M.D., Ronald Dexter, M.D., and Jennifer Vick, M.D.*(the names of the parties have been changed as a result of a Confidential Settlement Agreement)

Description: Medical Malpractice

Mediation date: October 18, 2013

Settlement amount: $2.95 million dollars

Plaintiff attorneys: David Sampedro and Panter Panter & Sampedro, P.A., 6950 N. Kendall Drive, Miami, FL 33156, Telephone: (305) 662-6178, E-mail: dsampedro@panterlaw.com.

Details: Diana Alvarez, 38 years of age, was admitted to A National Hospital Chain for surgery to remove a large, subfrontal meningioma. The next day, a bifrontal craniotomy was performed by Dr. Ronald Dexter with removal of the large, subfrontal brain tumor. Post operatively, Diana Alvarez was admitted to the intensive care unit where Dr. Dexter and intensivist, Dr. Gerald Pixter, managed her care.

3 days later an endocrinology consultation was ordered by Dr. Pixter. Dr. Jennifer Vick completed the consultation and ordered DDAVP to be administered every 12 hours. Post operatively Ms. Alvarez had motor changes and CT findings which were consisted with her having experienced a stroke. Five days after her surgery, the nursing records indicate that Ms. Alvarez was “hard to arouse” and her Glasgow Coma Scale had decreased from a 13 to a 6. Dr. Pixter was called to evaluate Mrs. Alvarez’s mental status, change and decreased level of consciousness. Approximately 90 minutes later Mrs. Alvarez was taken for a CT scan of the brain and returned to her room. 30 minutes later her oxygen saturation levels had significantly decreased and efforts to resuscitate her began. A few hours later Mrs. Alvarez was determined to be brain dead. She died approximately 3 days later.

Plaintiff ‘s case: David Sampedro argued that nurses failed to immediately notify Mrs. Alvarez’s treating physicians of her mental status changes documented in her neuro checks and failed to closely monitor her upon her return from CT scan. In addition, Plaintiff alleged that Dr. Dexter’s failed to request a neurologist to assist in managing Mrs. Alvarez’s complicated post operative care, Plaintiffs also alleged that Dr. Jennifer Vick failed to adequately manage Mrs. Alvarez’s sodium levels by failing to recognize the importance of maintaining at least high-normal serum sodium levels to minimize brain swelling. Plaintiffs also alleged that Dr. Pixter failed to protect the Plaintiff’s airway by failing to electively intubate Mrs. Alvarez.

Defense’s case: The defense argued that the Plaintiff had a very delicate and complicated brain surgery which entailed many possible complications including the one Plaintiff experienced. In addition, defense argued that the actual event that the Plaintiff experienced was unavoidable.

Outcome: The case was mediated on two separate days before an agreement was reached.

Experts: Various experts were retained in the fields of critical care medicine, nursing, neurosurgery, and neurology.