Curran & Desharnais settlement featured in recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly newspaper

Curran & Desharnais settlement covered in recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly newspaper.

This was a medical negligence case which arose out of a cat scratch. The details as reported by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly are as follows:

$500,000 settlement
A 68-year-old woman was evaluated at a local hospital for a deep puncture wound, laceration and heavy bleeding after her cat scratched into a varicose vein on her lower left leg.

medical patient being transported

medical malpractice attorneys

While in the ER, the plaintiff’s wound was irrigated and a pressure dressing was applied to stop the bleeding.

Due to other medical conditions, which included two prosthetic knee joints, a history of diabetes, and previous treatment for a lumpectomy due to breast cancer, the plaintiff suffered from a compromised immune system, making her susceptible to potential infection. She eventually received a tetanus shot and was sent home from the hospital without receiving any antibiotics.

Several days after being discharged from the hospital, the plaintiff was brought back to the ER by a family member after she began to show signs of delirium and confusion. Blood work revealed that she was suffering from a severe metastatic pasteurella infection. The infection eventually seeded into distant joints, including the two prosthetic knee joints and a disc in the plaintiff’s lumbar spine. She ultimately required knee and back surgery to clean out the infected areas, as well as extensive rehabilitative therapy.

According to the plaintiff’s infectious disease expert, the standard of care for a deep cat scratch, or cat bite, required that antibiotics be prescribed to prevent possible infection.

Plaintiff’s attorney was prepared to present evidence showing that she had suffered a permanent loss of function in her lower left ankle due to tissue and bone destruction around the location of the injury where the infection began, and that she would eventually require long-term care and possible further surgical intervention in the future due to the risk of recurrent infection.

The defense argued that the infection was not preventable (even if antibiotics had been prescribed) and that, given the plaintiff’s delay in seeking medical treatment after she began experiencing symptoms of infection, she contributed to the spread of the infection.

The defense also challenged the extent of any ongoing impairment or future medical care needs addressed in the written opinions prepared by the plaintiff’s life care planner and economist, and argued that many of the plaintiff’s ongoing complaints were pre-existing and attributable to other longstanding co-morbidities.

The parties attended mediation but initially were unable to reach a settlement. Through continued discussions, settlement was reached.

Action: Medical malpractice

Injuries alleged: Bacterial sepsis

Case name: Withheld

Court/case no.: Withheld

Jury and/or judge: N/A (settled)

Amount: $500,000

Date: January 2017

Attorney: Joseph K. Curran of Curran & Desharnais, Weymouth (for the plaintiff)

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