$2,500,000.00 recovery for a minor child who became permanently blind while under the care of doctors who failed to timely assess, diagnose, monitor and treat significantly increased intracranial pressure.

Cortical blindness v. Present value of $2,500,000.00, with guaranteed payments of $3,795,820.00.
Medical Malpractice - Failure to timely diagnose and treat increasing intracranial pressure.
Represented by: Donna R. Corcoran, Patrick T. Jones

The minor plaintiff fell after rising from a couch and hit her head. She was taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with bilateral subdural hematomas and left lateral sixth nerve palsy, most likely secondary to her fall. Significant past medical history included a fall down basement stairs 3-4 weeks previously as a result of which the minor plaintiff fractured her left arm and struck her head.

Upon admission to the hospital, a CT scan of the minor plaintiff's head showed small bilateral chronic subdural hematomas. There was no acute bleeding or sign of impending herniation. The minor plaintiff was admitted to the hospital by the defendant pediatric neurology fellow. The defendant neurosurgeon was the attending physician responsible for the minor plaintiff's care and for supervising the defendant pediatric neurology fellow.

The next day, an ophthalmology consultant examined the minor plaintiff and diagnosed bilateral papilledema (optic disc edema caused by increased intracranial pressure), left greater than right, consistent with sixth cranial nerve palsy due to increased intracranial pressure. The ophthalmology consultant questioned whether the minor plaintiff had increased intracranial pressure, past or present. Plaintiff alleged that as the minor plaintiff's hospitalization continued, the minor plaintiff exhibited signs and/or symptoms that were consistent with, among other things, increasing intracranial pressure that went unrecognized and untreated.

Two days later, MRI confirmed bilateral subdural hematomas. The plaintiff alleged this study indicated that the minor plaintiff's subdural hematomas were increasing in size. The defendants contended that these studies indicated a lack of new bleeding and a lack of observed growth from the chronic subdural hematomas seen on admission.

Three days later, a neurology consultant questioned whether the minor plaintiff was going blind from increased intracranial pressure. A lumbar puncture was performed by the defendant pediatric neurology fellow the following evening, revealing massively elevated intracranial pressure. The minor plaintiff underwent emergency bilateral burr hole drainage of the subdural hematomas. The minor plaintiff was discharged from the hospital one week later with a diagnosis of severe cortical visual impairment (cortical blindness). The minor plaintiff continues to have permanent cortical blindness and is legally blind.

The defendants denied liability and contended that their care was appropriate in all respects. They contended that the minor plaintiff presented to the hospital with a history of long-standing, increased intracranial pressure and that any vision loss or impairment predated her admission. The defendants further contended that pre-existing intracranial pressure was the cause of the minor plaintiff's loss of vision and that there is and was no medical evidence to substantiate any claim that any sudden or acute increase in intracranial pressure occurred during the minor plaintiff's hospital admission or that any such alleged sudden increase in pressure during admission caused or contributed to any vision loss.

After discovery, the parties agreed to mediation after which the case settled.

The settlement, which is structured, has a present value and cost of $2,500,000.00. The guaranteed yield from the settlement structure, combining periodic payments with cash, is $3,795,820.00. Should the minor plaintiff live to the age of 83, as anticipated by actuarial life tables, the yield from the structured settlement, including cash and periodic monthly payments, will be $11,855,654.00.

Related Practice: Catastrophic Personal Injury and Death, Medical Malpractice, Fire, Explosion and Electrocution Accidents, Construction Accidents, Motor Vehicle and Pedestrian Accidents, Premises Liability, Product Liability, Sexual and Physical Assault, Civil Rights Litigation, Aviation Accidents, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries, Burn Injuries, Broken Bones and Loss of Limbs, Wrongful Death, Personal Injury, Birth Injuries, Surgical Errors, Failure to Diagnose, Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis, Medication Errors, Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse


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