Linda, a 38-year old single mom and longtime IRS employee living in Issaquah, began acting increasingly erratically. Her friends thought she had a substance abuse problem, but she was also slowly going blind. When she was driving with her son one day and suddenly couldn’t see the road anymore, she agreed to see an ophthalmologist, who, because of the pattern of Linda’s vision loss, immediately suspected a tumor.
Within two weeks, Linda had neurosurgery to remove a very large frontal lobe meningioma. (A meningioma is a type of benign tumor.)
The surgery took over nine hours. But less than 24 hours later, the surgeon authorized Linda’s discharge from the ICU to the regular nursing floor. Linda began “thrashing violently” in bed. No one ordered any restraints, or even lowered the bed, and Linda was later found on the floor. The surgeon was called. She eventually came in to check on Linda and discovered that her brain was swelling dangerously. Heroic measures followed, but several days later, Linda’s 18-year-old son had to make the decision to remove her life support.
We sued both the hospital—which was responsible for the nursing care—and the surgeon. Between them, we settled the case for $725,000.