$700,000 Sickle Cell Disease Wrongful Death Verdict
Christopher Nyberg has obtained a verdict of $700,000 after a four-week trial in Kings County Supreme Court for a family who lost their son due to medical malpractice at a Brooklyn Hospital.The case involved a 20-year-old man who had been diagnosed early in his life in Haiti with sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cells disorders. People who have sickle cell disease have an abnormal protein in their red blood cells. In the United States, most people who have sickle cell disease are of African ancestry, but the condition is also common in people with a Hispanic background.Sickle cell is a disease where healthy red blood cells are round and move through the blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. With sickle cell disease (SCD), red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle.” These cells can block blood flow and keep oxygen from getting to the body’s tissues and organs.
The young man came from Haiti in 2011 following the Earthquake the previous year, searching for a better life in the United States. A year later, he suffered a sickle cell crisis and sought treatment at a local Brooklyn hospital. Unfortunately, the young man did not receive the necessary and vital treatment to stop the progression of his sickle cell crisis.
Christopher Nyberg was able to prove that the defendant hematology attending physician committed malpractice and departed from the Standard of Care in failing to timely intubate the young man after the onset of his hypoxia and respiratory distress leaving the young man to suffer hours of respiratory distress, and in failing to perform an exchange blood transfusion, which would have prevented the death of the man by interrupting and stopping the sickling process that was causing him respiratory distress, hypoxia, and pain, and which eventually caused a hemorrhage in his brain that resulted in his death.
It is important that a case like this goes to trial and receives the attention it deserves because people who have this disease should come to expect that a hospital located in New York City be familiar with the disease and follows national and international medical care protocols for proper emergent treatment of a patient suffering a sickle cell crisis. There are no guarantees of recovery for any patient; but we are all entitled to receive proper care from a doctor and hospital to give us our best chance to get well.