John Dornik and team settle a medical malpractice case for a 92 year old woman

The client was a 92 years “young” woman from rural Minnesota. This woman had a fabulous life story. She had lived on a farm for her whole life and was the mother of 6, grandmother of 19 and great grandmother to 35 children. She and her husband raised their family on the farm. Due to health issues her husband had recently moved into a nursing home, and when she decided that she didn’t want to have to plow her road in the winter, she moved into an assisted living facility located nearby.

When she first moved to assisted living the client needed very little help day to day. She was still going into town to attend church and get her hair done. In March of 2018 she came down with what she thought was a cold. When she went to see the doctor they thought she might have pneumonia so she was hospitalized in a facility that was attached to her assisted living building.

After being hospitalized her medical condition became much more serious and she became very ill. She was subsequently transported to a critical care facility. During her stay at the critical care facility she fell and suffered a badly broken ankle. The physicians put a boot on her ankle.

The client’s original condition of pneumonia did eventually resolve and that is when she was allowed to go back to her assisted living facility. When she returned, her primary care doctor took the boot off her injured ankle. He found that the ankle bone was exposed, that the tissue had become necrotic and she had a severe infection.

The photos of the ankle after the doctor removed the boot were quite shocking. When the doctor saw the extent of her injury she was immediately taken to see a specialist. The specialist suggested she go back to the same critical care facility that originally treated the ankle. Understandably, she refused to return there.  Instead she consulted with doctors at Hennepin Country Medical Center and they said that any surgery to salvage the leg would have only a 50% success rate. They also told her that the chance for a subsequent amputation was high. So she decided to let the doctors at HCMC amputate her leg just below the knee.

The resulting amputation surgery was very successful, and today she is doing remarkably well. However, the amputation still had a very negative affect on her life. She is now forced to stay in a nursing home vs. assisted living because she needs a higher level of care. She also has a much harder time being active and can’t make her regular trips to church and the hair salon. The ability to “get around” was one of the things that kept her feeling young.

She did make the decision to get a prosthetic leg in the near future and is going to physical therapy and is excited about the possibility of being more active again.

Immediately after meeting with the client and her family, John Dornik put together a demand letter so he could help the client get restitution as soon as possible. John and his team reviewed all her medical records and bills. They also got her an appointment with a prosthetist in order to determine the cost for a future prosthetic. The difference in the cost of living were calculated, comparing her previous situation in assisted living to what the future costs would be in a nursing home.

The demand letter also described the activities that the client did previously and compared them to what she is able to do now. The demand letter included photos from her friends and family as well. Because the hospital is self-insured, the demand letter was sent directly to the hospital representatives.

John and his team met with the client and the hospital representatives in early November. While they were all in the same room, the hospital representatives apologized to the client and assured her that steps had been taken to make sure that a situation like this one does not happen again.

The mediation went very well and the case resolved for close to $1 million. The client was happy with the settlement. Her injury happened in March of 2018 and the case was resolved by the end of November that same year. John Dornik and his team handled negotiating all liens and outstanding medical bills.

“It was an honor and pleasure to help this client,” says John Dornik. “She is an incredible woman who handled her situation with dignity. We were successful in establishing a good relationship and a level of trust with the other side so we could all work toward doing what was best for our client and try to help lessen her burden caused by this unfortunate incident. I’m glad we were able to get her such a significant settlement within a short timeframe.”