A resident physician’s undetected error may cost a patient her life during treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the hospital will not take responsibility. This is just the type of case Nashville attorney Brian Cummings handles when the egregious mistakes of others cause devastating harm to families.
The doctor had attempted to insert a central line, a catheter used to deliver medicine to a patient’s bloodstream or to gather blood for testing. Instead of properly placing the central line in the patient’s internal jugular vein, the resident perforated the carotid artery and placed the central line in the carotid artery. This injury to the carotid artery prevented the normal blood flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain for the almost 12 hours that the mistake went unrecognized.
These mistakes and resulting stroke claimed the life of Chesta Shoemaker, whose family is suing the hospital for negligence. It’s an error that took only minutes to make, but leaves the patient’s surviving family with a lifetime of grief and loss. Unfortunately, these are the types of malpractice errors occur all too often at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville’s flagship hospital that treats 2 million patients per year.
The hospital has faced at least two recent high-profile malpractice cases. The facility came under scrutiny last year after a nurse’s alleged medication error killed a patient. In 2016, a jury awarded a patient $2 million when doctors lost her thyroid gland, making further necessary testing impossible.
Watchdog organization Beckers Hospital Review reported Tennessee as fifth in the nation in terms of malpractice, with 33 suits per capita and $46 million in total payouts in 2015.
Cummings has earned a reputation of excellence by successfully handling medical malpractice lawsuits when the providers will not accept responsibility for their mistakes. Cummings notes that bad outcomes alone do not automatically justify a charge of negligence or a winnable case. It takes the experience and insight of a medical malpractice attorney to know the difference and to know how to take the right steps to create the best chance for a financial recovery.
For example, during a surgical procedure, many things can go wrong. Cummings mentions in a blog post entitled "Seven Common Surgical Errors" that a number of serious complications can occur during surgery. Those complications include the wrong procedure being performed, incorrect anesthesia dosing, and instruments left in a patient's body as just some of the possible problems. Even in instances of clear negligence, there are time limitations that affect a plaintiff’s right to obtain a recovery. Specifically, in Tennessee, a claim must be brought within a year of the patient discovering complications from the medical error.
Cummings is not hesitant to undertake the sometimes lengthy and costly fight for justice on behalf of the patients and their families who he takes on as clients. Life is about doing what is right, and taking a stand when others do not play by the rules at the expense of others. This is what and who Cummings fights for through his work at Cummings Law.
As a profile in Legal Newsline notes, “[Cummings’] vast experience analyzing claims and facts allows him to apply this knowledge throughout the litigation process, which allows his clients to focus on rest, recovering and getting back to their daily lives.”
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