Hon. David R. Chaffee (Ret.)
Mediator • Arbitrator • Discovery Referee

Medical Malpractice

Representative Cases

  • In an action filed eight years after birth, obstetrics physicians were alleged to have acted negligently in the delivery and care of a newborn with severe cerebral palsy. Mother had virtually no prenatal care and questions about her nutrition during pregnancy. Issues addressed included concern over the doctors’ absence during prolonged labor, incomplete or lackadaisical recordkeeping, and the failure of memory over such a long period before filing of lawsuit.

  • Angiogram goes awry when j-wire misdirects into the renal artery. Plaintiff alleged that the j-wire was driven with such force that it punctured the through the kidney, leading to failure of both kidneys and permanent dialysis. Defendant agreed that the j-wire misdirected into the renal artery but disputed any kidney puncture, and testified that the renal artery was so sclerotic that the retraction of the j-wire incised and caused a rupture of the artery - a risk that was within the standard of care for this procedure.

  • Podiatrist performed toe implant and bone reduction to allow plaintiff to continue distance running. The result was not satisfactory to plaintiff who alleged that defendant employed an experimental procedure without sufficient informed consent.

  • Plaintiff received epidural injection at surgical center to ease long-running back pain. Plaintiff awoke from procedure with headache, foot and leg pain, and bruising. Plaintiff sued only the surgical center, not the doctors who performed the procedure. The issue was whether the surgical center breached the standard for care for this procedure.

  • Plaintiff filed a wrongful death medical malpractice complaint alleging defendants negligently caused the death of her father. The decedent, aged 80, was diagnosed with bladder cancer, specifically invasive papillary transitional cell carcinoma, in 2009. He initially refused conventional cancer treatment, but in 2010 underwent a cystoscopy, a transurethral resection, a bladder biopsy; and a month later a cystectomy. Pathology confirmed invasive, high grade, poorly differentiated urothelial carcinoma and prostatic adenocarcinoma. He underwent a house of chemo in 2011, but side effects precluded continued treatment. Thereafter he elected to continue holistic treatment. With worsening symptoms, a liver biopsy revealed metastic carcinoma, and an abdominal CT scan revealed multiple metastatic lesions. The decedent was readmitted to the hospital in July of 2011 with a palliative physician indicating that he was at high risk of end stage wasting disorder. The family agreed to a “do not resuscitate” order and hospice. He was transitioned to a skilled nursing facility under hospice care and died July 31, 2011. The autopsy confirmed widely metastatic carcinoma with tumors embedded within numerous organs, including the kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, and extensive lymph node involvement. Plaintiff argued that the biopsy caused the spread of the cancer and caused her father’s death.