Confidential Global Settlement Using System Failure Timeline

One of the most enjoyable things working in this field is collaborating with our customers on important projects, and that is just what we did for Allasia Brennan from Durney & Brennan. She came to us with a very complex case against a hospital. Brennan’s client showed up in an ER with abdominal pain, fever, chills, and diarrhea...classic signs of bacterial infection. The patient was also asplenic from a childhood injury, which would indicate even quicker response to prevent sepsis, but it didn’t get caught because the records system was down for maintenance. Due to a series of miscommunications, labs not being completed STAT as requested, and lapses in following care protocols, the plaintiff was not treated with IV antibiotics for close to 8 hours, well past the 3 hour window indicated for normal patients presenting with severe bacterial infection, let alone the 1 hour limit for asplenic patients whose bodies can’t fight infections like those with a spleen. This delay of care resulted in the plaintiff suffering life-threatening septic shock and the bilateral amputation of both the arms and legs. Brennan stressed the importance of creating an illustration that would tell this tragic story. With a very short window to get the project done, we were able to deliver a timeline that was useful to Brennan and the mediator that ultimately helped settle the case.

Timeline of a system failure at a hospital

This timeline showed what happened, along with a comparison to what should have happened, for the plaintiff while at the hospital.

“In this particular case we needed to find a way to easily explain a very complicated medical timeline. It was crucial to simplify this case and visually demonstrate how the ER visit played out for the Plaintiff and highlight the overwhelming volume of failures within the time period. We contacted Focus Graphics shortly before mediation knowing the high quality of their work and attention to detail. We worked with Seton, who demonstrated an immediate understanding of the issue and our needs, and was also willing to work within our short window of time. In less than a week, we had our final draft, not only of the System Failure Timeline, but Seton had also thought to include a juxtaposed ‘What Should Have Happened’ timeline to highlight the egregiousness of the failures. The mediator, a former Supreme Court Justice, specifically remarked to Plaintiff’s counsel before the mediation began that the System Failure Timeline was of immense help in breaking down exactly what had occurred and it was the only exhibit that the mediator continued to refer back to during the mediation. The timeline was clearly critical to settling the case because the mediator could ‘see’ the failures. The parties reached a confidential global settlement within a week of the mediation. Had we not settled the case at mediation, we would have relied heavily upon this visual in presenting the case to a jury, which surely would have found it as useful to their understanding of the case as the mediator did.”

~ Allasia L. Brennan, Esq., Reno, NV | Durney & Brennan