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A Bad Prescription leads to Osteonecrosis for 25 y.o. Orlando man . Medical Mistakes-Pt.1

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): On July 31, 2007, a bright, young, 25 year old athlete and new dad, Ryan Speed checked into the Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery clinic in Orlando, FL to seek treatment for a simple case of skin rash. The treatment that Ryan received from the Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery clinics, over the next 2 years, has nearly destroyed him. The clinic gave Ryan massive injections and oral prescriptions of corticosteroids like Prednisone, Kenalog, and Depo-Medrol- the unbelievable result: in less than 2 years, Ryan’s hips were destroyed at the young age of 26. He had to have both of them replaced with artificial hips. An MRI of Ryan’s hips revealed he had Osteonecrosis or the”… death of a segment of bone caused by an impaired blood supply.” This disorder occurs most commonly among people between the ages of 30 and 50. It often affects both hips and/or both shoulders. The most common cause is high doses of corticosteroids especially when given for long periods of time. And as fate would have it, to add insult to injury, Ryan’s artificial hips had to be replaced repeatedly because they were the Depuy artificial hips recalled by FDA and the manufacturer Johnson and Johnson.

Today, the Insider Exclusive presents the true story of the miraculous courage of Ryan Speed and how his lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg Stone & Alvarez, are getting justice for Ryan earning them the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike as one of the best plaintiff trial lawyers in Florida and in the nation.

Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg Stone & Alvarez

ONSCREEN TEXT: Insider Exclusive presents: Medical Malpractice - The Ryan Speed Story

Steve Murphy: It is my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone. Welcome to the show guys.

Mark: Nice to be here.

Stewart: Thank you Steve.

Steve: Today we’re going to be talking about a young man, Ryan Speed, and his case. Give us a little background on who Ryan is and how this whole thing happened.

Stewart: Ryan, at the age of 25, developed a skin condition and he went to his dermatologist. And it’s a dermatological center that has over 50 offices throughout many states in the country. And they treated him with injections and oral medications called corticosteroids and they over-treated him to the point where he developed a condition called avascular necrosis; basically, where the bone in his hip died from the lack of blood flow…and as a result, he’s had six operations including 2 total hip replacements.

Steve: And he’s now 29

Stewart: Now he’s 29 years old.

Steve: Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery clinics, that’s the name of the organization, isn’t it?

Stewart: Yes it is.

Steve: They’re pretty big, aren’t they?

Stewart: Yes, as I said, they have over 50 locations in many states.

Steve: Now, when he initially went there they gave him a bunch of corticosteroids, correct? Is that the normal type of treatment that you would have for a skin rash?

Stewart: Well, I think that they could have done other things before they gave him steroids and even when you administer steroids you’re supposed to administer a certain amount. They went way above and beyond the amount of steroids which anyone should be administered.

Steve: The doctors that are at the dermatology clinic, they’re medical doctors, dermatologists?

Stewart: Yes, and also there are physician’s assistants who administer the medications as well.

Steve: Now, he’s also, as a result of having artificial hips, he had them replaced, didn’t he?

Mark: Sure, and Steve that’s such a difficult procedure especially, even for a guy Ryan’s age. And to have that more than one time and he may be facing future hip replacements. I think the difficult thing for Ryan to accept is this was so easily preventable. Corticosteroids are prescribed everyday by doctors. If they are prescribed in a safe amount you’re not going to typically…

Steve: Is there a way that a doctor can monitor the amount of steroids in your body. There must be some residue. It just doesn’t expel it all at once. So, they can see if they’re reaching at a dangerous level.

Stewart: They should know by the amount that they’re administering how much is proper and how much is improper. They administered far too many steroids to Ryan.

Steve: Stewart, you have with you a replica of a hip. Show our audience a little bit about what happens when a hip is replaced.

Stewart: Sure. This is the femur bone, the big bone of the leg and this area, right here, is the socket that goes into the joint, the hip joint.

Steve: …the natural one?

Stewart: The natural one. What happens, in this case, is this part of the bone wore away and died because of the avascular necrosis. And what happens is that they put in an artificial - in this case, a piece of metal manufactured by Depuy. What had happened in Ryan’s case is there is a receptor that kind of moves around like this, and there is a piece of metal that gets screwed in here and down into the femur and that allows him to have movement. In this case, not only did he have to have his hip replaced but this particular hip has been recalled because the metal on it has failed and Ryan had metal toxicity in his system. So, he’s had to have 2 replacements in addition to the initial insult of the AVN.

Steve: What are they replacing it with?

Stewart: They’re replacing it with another hip that’s not completely metal but has plastic in it.

Steve: …made by the same manufacturer?

Stewart: Yes, it is.

Steve: …and there’s thousands of these going on, aren’t there?

Stewart: Yes, there are, all over the country.

Steve: Okay, tell us a little bit about how this has affected Ryan’s life.

Stewart: Well, having a hip replacement surgery is very painful. The recovery is long. He’s going through physical therapy. It’s affected his ability to interact with his children, to enjoy the daily activities of life. Even sitting is a problem, walking is a problem, sleeping is a problem, bending, stooping, you name it. Anything that you can think of that anyone does on a daily basis, Ryan is affected.

Steve: And he’s such a young man. He’s 29, right?

Stewart: Yes.

Steve: This case is pending?

Stewart: That’s correct.

Steve: What’s your legal strategy to win this case?

Mark: Well Steve, as in any case, we’ve hired experts. Those experts have reviewed all of the medical evidence in the case and we will put together a case based on the expert medical opinion of these doctors primarily stating that had the defendants exercised reasonable care they would have early on discovered that they were using levels of corticosteroids that were simply greater than should’ve been administered.

Steve: …and basically poisoning the body.

Stewart: Correct.

Steve: We have Ryan with us today and we’re going to bring him on now so he can tell the story from his point of view. It is my great pleasure to introduce Ryan Speed to the show. Welcome to the show, Ryan.

Ryan: Thank you.

Steve: Thanks for coming here today. I know you had to travel all the way from Orlando, right?

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: This has been a nightmare for you… 25 years old and you had a rash on your back, on your skin, where?

Ryan: Yes, I had it on my back, on my neck, and some spots on my arms.

Steve: You decided that you were going to go to a dermatologist; kind of a natural thing to do, right?

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: You went to this clinic…they’re doctors, you trusted them. Tell us what happened.

Ryan: I went to Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery thinking they had my best interest at hand to treat my condition. I put all my trust in her thinking she had my best interest at hand and, as a result of that, I got diagnosed with avascular necrosis which is deterioration of the bone.

Steve: Now, only in your hips?

Ryan: Yes, in both my hips. On my left hip, I had a total hip replacement and on my right hip I had a core decompression, at 27 years old. That’s a lot to take in.

Steve: What was going through your mind when you reflect…you came here because you had a rash on your skin and now your hips are destroyed. I mean what went through your mind?

Ryan: I was devastated. I didn’t know what to think. When I got the results of the X-ray they told me that if I didn’t catch it when I caught it I could have had a prosthetic limb. Now, who was telling you, ‘…if you didn’t catch it at the right time, ’ the same doctors?

Ryan: No. Advanced Dermatology never tested for any of those symptoms, side effects, or anything. I went to Dr. Phillips’ hospital.

Steve: And what prompted you to go to another doctor to find this out?

Ryan: Hip pains. I was having hip pains when I was skating with my kids.

Steve: When you first had the hip pains, you called up the dermatology clinic, correct?

Ryan: No.

Steve: You didn’t talk to those doctors to ask them what’s going on?

Ryan: No.

Steve: You didn’t know that was related to that.

Ryan: No, not at all. I had hip pains so I said, “you know what, I have to get this looked at.” So me being precautious I went to the hospital immediately because I was having hip pains periodically. I said, “This just doesn’t feel right.” When I got the X-ray, they told me, I literally was floored. I felt betrayed.

Steve: When you found that information out did you call the dermatologist? Did the new doctor say to you that it’s because of the steroid shots that you’ve been getting, the injections you were getting caused this? Did he say that?

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: He did.

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: Did you call them up?

Ryan: No. I had stopped treatment with that clinic.

Steve: Immediately?

Ryan: Immediately.

Steve: Did they contact you as to why you weren’t going back there?

Ryan: No.

Steve: They just didn’t care?

Ryan: They didn’t.

Steve: How has this affected you and your regular daily activities? Are you working?

Ryan: No.

Steve: Were you working before?

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: But you cannot go to a job now.

Ryan: No.

Steve: This is ongoing, and to add insult to injury, I understand, as Stewart had said, you had to have your hip replaced.

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: The artificial hip replaced.

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: That’s pretty painful.

Ryan: Very, excruciating pain…I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone.

Steve: Who is paying for all of this while this is ongoing, while your lawsuit is pending?

Stewart: Well the last hip replacement was paid for by the manufacturer but they even gave him trouble about paying for his pain medication at the end. I mean he had to spend an extra day at the hospital and we had to argue with people because they didn’t provide for any of that care.

Steve: What do you think justice for you is, right now?

Ryan: Justice? They affected my life, for the rest of life. They’ve taken my youth, my enjoyment of life in the prime of my life. I can’t go outside to play with my kids. I can’t enjoy shooting a basketball. I can’t even kick a ball. So, this is life challenging and this is an uphill battle for me…and justice? I don’t even know. I don’t have words…I would say how can someone like that still be in business?

Steve: If you could say one thing to Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery clinics, what would you say? What would you say to them? Why did you do this to me?

Ryan: Why me? Why me? I mean what did I do to deserve this? I really don’t understand why my life has to be taken from me at such a young age.

Steve: How do the prospects look for his legal action?

Stewart: We’re very confident that we’re going to be successful.

Steve: Good, good, you deserve it because you know your whole life has been taken away basically.

Ryan: Yes.

Steve: Well I really appreciate having you come on the show and we wish you the best of luck. It is my great pleasure to introduce Ryan’s mom, Lucille. Welcome to the show.

Lucille: Thank you.

Steve: What an ordeal, right?

Lucille: Yes.

Steve: You have a 25 year old son. He has a skin rash. He goes to a dermatologist clinic. They start giving him medicine, corticosteroids and what, about a year and a half later, he starts having hip pains, correct?

Lucille: Yes.

Steve: How has this whole thing affected him, and you, as well as your husband because everybody lives in the same house now….?

Lucille: Well actually it’s a parent’s worst nightmare because we never imagine that at this time in Ryan’s life that Ryan would have to go through something like this. Ryan has gone through surgery that he should have never have gone through for someone his age. And it has changed all our lives. To be told that he would be ok, that he would have just minor, limited activities, but that is not true. All our lives have been changed. We have become Ryan’s total caregivers. His dad and I have for him and his children. Ryan had gotten a home for him and his children but he had to move back home because we became his total caregivers. And not at one moment have we ever regretted that but it breaks our heart that our son, at this age in his life should be enjoying his life. And now we know it’s never going to be over for Ryan. Ryan has undergone 3 hip surgeries and we’ve all come to the conclusion that he’s probably going to have more hip surgeries.

Steve: Yeah, because he’s only 29.

Lucille: He’s only 29. He just turned 29. Ryan can’t do the things he used to do with his children. Ryan can’t work. Ryan can’t actually sit for very long. Ryan can’t stand for long periods of time. I, on the other hand, his mother, I love him very much, I am a mother, and I’m a nurse – I’ve been one for 30 years, I’m going to do what a mom does: I’ll see that Ryan gets his meals, make Ryan comfortable, the medication… Ryan has had sleepless nights. I’ve been up with Ryan like rubbing him, making sure that he gets to sleep and stuff, and his kids, when his children…what really breaks our hearts is when his kids comes to us and ask me, “Nani, is this daddy’s last surgery?” I mean his daughter’s going out for basketball and she wants her dad to teach her but Ryan can’t jump like he used to. He use to play basketball in high school and he wants to be there. He tries. He used to work but he can’t do that as much as he did.

Steve: And this could’ve been avoided, right?

Mark: Oh, sure, absolutely. It’s a complication of…not even necessarily a complication; it’s a direct result of the administration of too many steroids. It just should never have happened.

Steve: What do think justice is in this case?

Lucille: That’s a kind of tough one. Justice would be…actually…I’m trying to think. I look at Ryan and think that justice to me is that this should of never have happened to Ryan, at his age. I just think that justice would be if my son could have one day without pain. One day without suffering or hearing “you know momma, my hip hurts,” again or he’s itching to the point where he makes himself bleed. You know the justice is that I think in the medical field, just speaking because I’m a medical professional that we need to open our eyes; we need to be more in tune to what our patients are saying to us and listening to what their complaints really are.

Steve: Well thank you very much for being there for Ryan.

Lucille: You’re welcome.

Steve: You’re his mom….he’s lucky you’re his nurse and you know, you’ve really risen to the challenge. Your law firm is doing a great job for you guys. That’s why we’re doing this show – because it’s very unfair to Ryan.

Lucille: Yes, it is.

Steve: Thank you for being on the program. Today, we are very fortunate to have one of the leading hip experts on our show, Dr. Mauricio Herrera. Welcome to the show.

Dr. Herrera: Thank you.

Steve: Explain to our audience a little bit about hip replacements, why they’re needed, etc…with your model of the pelvis there.

Dr. Herrera: Well, the basics of the hip are that the hip is a joint. A joint is a ball inside of a socket and in this model you can see what a general hip would look like. This is what a normal hip would look like. The ball is nice and smooth. You have a cartilage layer. The cartilage covers the bone and the fits in the socket quite nicely. But what can happen is, such as in a situation when a patient does take corticosteroids, by mouth or by injection, the blood supply to the ball portion can actually die and the bone can die and term for that is avascular necrosis. And unfortunately when that happens, when the blood supply gets distorted to the ball portion of the hip, this will die and the joint won’t work like a normal joint anymore and the patient will have a lot of pain, and discomfort, and disability because of that.

Steve: Therefore, it has to be replaced with a mechanical type.

Dr. Herrera: Correct, and so when something bad happens to the hip joint then we are able to do an artificial hip replacement which is called a total hip replacement when you change the socket and you change the ball. The ball fits in the socket and that’s what the new joint looks like and that’s what a total hip replacement is.

Steve: Now this is the hip that Depuy manufactures but this is the one that was recalled, right?

Dr. Herrera: Correct.

Steve: Because it has too much…

Dr. Herrera: You can actually see all the erosion of the metal on the implant.

Steve: What kind of metal is that?

Dr. Herrera: It’s called cobalt chrome which is just a combination of different metals melted together.

Steve: Now let me ask you when the FDA approved this, there was no way for them to determine over a period of time that it would end up with this kind of result?

Dr. Herrera: Correct. Many times companies, when they put forth an implant, really won’t know till a 20, 30, 40 year follow-up how a hip is going to do. Unfortunately, this particular hip had a high rate of failure.

Steve: Is Ryan’s case a typical case where you have too much corticosteroids injected into the hip?

Dr. Herrera: Yes. Actually, it’s a very common occurrence. This avascular necrosis, or when the bone’s blood supply gets distorted unfortunately many patients do take corticosteroids for various reasons, especially asthma. Asthma is the number one reason why someone would have to take corticosteroids for treatment. So, avascular necrosis is more common than you would think.

Steve: Okay, great. Well thank you very much for being on the program. You provided a lot of valuable information.

This case is of tragic proportions here. How do you decide which cases to handle, which cases to represent?

Stewart: We look at each case individually. We look at the client. We look at what their injuries are and we try to help people who need access to justice in the court room. These are people who can’t afford to fight major corporations such as Johnson and Johnson or this dermatological clinic on their own. We invest our time, we invest our money. And we try to help them. We get justice.

Steve: When you look at…you’re talking about justice…you know often times and I’ve heard this many times, the defendant may offer a meager, measly, little settlement you know …10,000 dollars or something like that. Now in Ryan’s case it’s going to require a lot of money to do these hip replacements for the rest of his life. How do you know whether you want to take a case to trial or whether you want to settle the case?

Mark: Sure. Well Steve, Stewart and I, between us, have about 50 years collectively of experience. We have what we feel is a good understanding of the relative value of cases. So, what we do is we sit down with the client. Once we feel an offer is reasonable compensation we’ll sit down with the client and advise the client.

Steve: …based on other cases of a similar nature?

Mark: Absolutely, based on other cases of a similar nature. Ultimately Steve it’s up to the client. Our job is to council the client and advise the client whether or not we think it’s a fair and reasonable settlement.

Steve: Okay, great. I hope that in Ryan’s case you reach a fair and reasonable settlement because he certainly deserves it. I want to thank both of you for spending time with us today.

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.

To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg Stone & Alvarez, call 305-595-2400 or 1-888-499-9700. You can also visit us at www.sgglaw.com.

America's Premier Lawyers- Florida Personal Injury Lawyers

Voiceover: America’s Premier Lawyers is broadcast on the Sky Radio Network. Tune in this month to listen to Stewart Greenberg of Greenberg and Stone, P.A. Mr. Greenberg and the firm handle cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice.

Stewart Greenberg: In order to properly present a catastrophic injury or wrongful death case it’s important to have experts on your side. At Greenberg and Stone, we have a full time, in-house investigator who conducts investigations into all our accident and death cases.

Learn more by visiting:

Greenberg & Stone, P.A.
11440 N. Kendall Drive
Suite 400
Miami, FL 33176
Phone: (888) 499-9700
www.sgglaw.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyJMcqEZu9c

Dad's Nightmare Comes True After Daughter Crashes Into 18-wheeler. Miami Hwy Crashes- Pt.3

Michelle Cardenas Transcripts
Title: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michelle Cardenas Story
Steve Murphy: On September 27, 2007 at 4 in the afternoon, 27 year old Michelle Cardenas, a popular middle school teacher was driving home in her Honda Civic on a four lane rural major highway entering Hialeah, fl. Parked on the right shoulder was an 18-wheeler truck driven by Rigoberto Machado hauling a load of plants from South Miami to various Walmarts. Machado, without warning, illegaly did the unbelievable. He pulled a U-Turn across the divided, double-lane highway causing Michelle’s car to unavoidably smash into the undercarriage of his 18-wheeler ripping the entire car’s roof off its hinges. Today, the Insider Exclusive presents the true story of the miraculous courage of Michelle Cardenas and how her lawyers Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone got justice for Michelle by clearly proving the discrepancies in the truck driver’s testimony and by demonstrating the correct and safe driving procedures for turning 18-wheelers around. Its earned them the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike as one of the best plaintiff trial lawyers in Florida and in the nation. They have seen many innocent, hardworking people suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help those who have been harmed by the negligent actions of others. Their goal: not only to get justice for Michelle but to make America’s highways safer and trucking companies and their insurance companies much more accountable.

Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider’s Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE OF VIDEO: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michele Cardenas Story
Steve Murphy:
It is my great privilege to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg/ Mark Stone: Thank you Steve.
Steve Murphy: Tell us a little bit about your firm.
Stewart: Our firm handles catastrophic, personal injury claims where people have either been injured or have lost a loved one through the negligence of another whether it be a trucking accident, whether it be a medical malpractice case, an airplane disaster, a motorcycle accident, car crash, cruise accident, things of that nature.
Steven Murphy: Basically, little guy against big guy, right...the David and Goliath kind of cases. Now, today we’re going to be talking about a rather horrific case; an 18-wheeler case with Michelle Cardenas. Tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: This is a tragedy. We represent a very young lady in her mid-twenties who was a school teacher on her way home from school on a Friday afternoon, minding her own business, doing nothing wrong, when an 18-wheeler decided to make U-turn across a 4-lane divided highway and her car went underneath the back of the trailer, came out the other side with its top ripped off. She was airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Ryder Trauma Center…
Steven Murphy: She was knocked out in that accident.
Stewart: She was unconscious and she had a glass glaucoma scale of 7. Which 15 is normal. 7’s survivability is probably under 20%-25%.
Steve Murphy: Explain to our audience what that means.
Stewart: The paramedics and doctors have certain tests they do on someone in the field and in the hospital to see about how alert they are neurologically and a 7 is a very low score on that scale and as a result she’s got permanent brain damage.
Steve: What has been the result of pursuing this case?
Mark: Well, in terms of the results of the client, fortunately we were able to reach a settlement on her behalf which should enable Michelle to get a great deal of her life back. Unfortunately, she has a diffuse axonal injury which is an injury to the axons which is structures, microscopic structures, between the gray and the white matter. Once their ripped or torn they don’t repair themselves. So, we feel fortunate that we were able to get her a sum of money which is going to allow her to regain some normalcy in her life.
Steve Murphy: Right. As a result of this accident she can no longer teach.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve Murphy: Will she have the capability of teaching?
Stewart: She probably, according to our experts, is really unemployable. She can only handle very menial tasks, right now, she helps out with the family business but her ability to stay focused…her executive functions have severely been compromised.
Steve: We have with us today both her, as well as her dad, in the studio and I’d like to bring out her dad first so we can talk a little bit about the challenges that they as a family face and her. So, let’s do that right now.
Steve: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Gabriel Cardenas, the father of Michelle. Welcome to the show.
Gabriel Cardenas: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day, when you first heard that your daughter was involved in this horrible accident and had been airlifted to the hospital. What were your thoughts as a father?
Gabriel: It was very painful because in this case we did not know what had happened. The hospital could not reach us until about 10 o’clock at night and the phone rang in the neighbor’s house; he came over to our house and knocked on the door really loud, like in a panic. We did not know what had happened or if something was wrong with him. As it turned out, he just said that Jackson Hospital had called and that Michelle was there and we needed to go there immediately because Michelle was involved in an accident but they won’t tell you anymore on the phone or anything. So when we went into the Emergency, actually it wasn’t the Emergency, it was the Life Resuscitation area where she was. We saw her there all strapped with all kinds of wires. It was very painful. She was in a coma, completely. She was gone several times. But we were lucky that she came out of it little by little. That was the beginning…
Steve: How long did it take so that she was kind of conscious?
Gabriel: No, it took several days before she was conscious. And even then she seemed to be conscious but she didn’t remember anything in the hospital which was like 3 ½ weeks but she was in this resuscitation area for close to 36 hours I believe
Steve: When you say she didn’t remember anything in the hospital what are the things she didn’t remember?
Gabriel: Nothing. It’s hard for her to remember…
Steve: Did she remember who she was?
Gabriel: Well, when she was in the hospital they would ask her the requirements necessary so that she could be moved out of the resuscitation area into emergency then into the brain injury wing, was that she had to respond to her name: What’s your name? Also, to try to remember what day it was. It took her like 3 days before she could guess what day it was, where she was. Of course, she was sleeping or knocked out for the first few hours.
Steve: As a father, not being able to do anything it must be very painful, excruciatingly painful.
Gabriel: It’s very, very difficult to go through that pain. You see your dream, your daughter there… very difficult…that some nut went around and did some stupid thing, carelessly, and has ruined her life. And you sit there and you can’t do anything about it. You know and these people didn’t call to see how she was. Never! Not in the hospital or at home, during these 3 years. Never! How’s Michelle? Never! Very sad…
Steve: Stewart was the extent of her brain injuries?
Stewart: The doctors consider them moderate to severe and Michelle has been remarkable. She’s worked very, very hard with her Mom, with her dad, with her sister, and with her brother to get back as much function as possible. But she’ll never be the same, unfortunately. This has changed her life forever.
Steve: She was a middle school teacher.
Gabriel: Yes, she was a specialist in literature, English Literature.
Steve: She loves literature. I was talking to her before the show and she was saying her favorite author was Virginia Wolfe.
Gabriel: She loves writing poems.
Steve: Now she cannot teach anymore but she works with your family business?
Gabriel: Well, she helps a little bit…she doesn’t really work a lot because she still has a lot of problems due to her brain injury. One of the problems she has is short-term memory loss. So, she’ll forget things that happened yesterday or things that happened a few hours ago. She’ll keep asking me how to do something that she’d do every day.
Steve: Is she able to go places by herself?
Gabriel: Right now, we drive her around ourselves. We don’t want to her to drive yet. She can function partially well. The main thing is some of the problems she has with her brain is she has problems with concentration. It’s hard for her to concentrate.
Steve: We have her with us in the studio and we’re going to bring her on right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Michelle. Welcome to the show, Michelle.
Michelle: Thank you.
Steve: What an ordeal. Your dad was talking about how he felt as a father. I could understand perfectly what he was saying. Take us back to that day, the day of the accident. Do you remember anything about it?
Michelle: Absolutely nothing.
Steve: Nothing. You don’t even remember approaching the truck or anything?
Michelle: No.
Steve: And what are your first remembrances as you were in the hospital.
Michelle: I was in the hospital for about a month and I only slightly remember about the last two days and that’s very, very vague.
Steve: Did you know why you were in the hospital?
Michelle: From what they told me that I was in an accident. Only from what people were telling me, I don’t remember anything that happened.
Steve: Now that you realize what had happened to you, what do you understand about what happened to you as a result of this accident?
Michelle: As the result of this accident I have brain trauma.
Steve: And what does that mean exactly to you?
Michelle: What do you mean, exactly?
Steve: I mean how has it affected you?
Michelle: In so many ways, I mean I don’t even know where to begin.
Steve: Okay, you were a middle school teacher before, in literature, right?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: I think some of your kids sent you cards like this one. You want to hold this up for the camera. It reads “We miss you, Ms. C,” is that right?
Michelle: Yeah.
Steve: You remember teaching?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss about it?
Michelle: That’s like when they told me that I couldn’t teach…that was the worst thing they could have told me, ever. That was just the worst thing ever. It wasn’t necessarily what I had gone to school for. I had gotten a degree in English Literature. The first job that was offered to me was this teaching job. I was in the process of getting certified but it was definitely my vocation. I loved it and when they told me that it was something I couldn’t do because of the brain trauma that was something that really struck me. It was horrible, horrible.
Steve: What was the best thing you liked about teaching?
Michelle: It was just being able to reaching young minds.
Steve: Open them up to good literature…
Michelle: Exactly, yes, and I guess because I am so young I had a connection with them and they were able to learn in different ways. Just the fact that I can’t do that now is just the worst.
Steve: Do you sometimes think that maybe in the future you might be able to do this?
Michelle: I hope so. There are a lot of people that defy…
Steve: Right, you are a miracle, aren’t you?
Michelle: Right.
Steve: I think your dad was saying it’s truly amazing what happened. We’ve seen the pictures and our audience have too of what happened to your car and the roof… was gone, totally gone.
Gabriel: Yes.
Steve: Your lawyers recently settled the case. What’s your opinion of your lawyers?
Michelle: The best!
Steve: Yeah, you know because no one wants to take responsibility here, do they? The trucking company, like you said, hasn’t called in 3 years. I watched the deposition of the truck driver and at one time he broke down and I couldn’t figure out if it was because he had lost his job or because he caused this accident, you know?
Gabriel: He was very unconcerned.
Steve: You look like you’re thinking. What are you thinking about?
Michelle: Oh, I was just thinking about this man who had totally changed my life and he never even once thought...
Steve: Rigoberto Machado. Never thought at all… did you watch those depositions?
Michelle: No, but I was there, for my depositions I mean. Like at the mediation, he was there, and…
Gabriel: We spare her the pain of watching some of this. Even the car pictures; she hasn’t seen those, at all.
Michelle: No, thank God.
Gabriel: We’ve kept them away from her and the lawyers have them.
Steve: Well, you are an amazing individual. I’m glad you were able to spend some time with us today. You inspire other people, no matter what happens to them they know they’ll always have a shot. And I want to thank you very much for spending your time with us.
They’re amazing clients, aren’t they?
Stewart: They are.
Steve: She is an amazing individual and I can understand that she inspired you to win this case. Tell us how you won the case.
Stewart: We won it with a lot of hardwork. We really won it because of her. We won it by getting the best experts, by doing animations, by interviewing witnesses, and by forensically showing how this accident happened.
Steve: Now, the key person in this was the truck driver on the defense’s side and fortunately you did a lot of video depositions. We’re going to show a few of them. For example, he admits that he made an illegal turn.
Stewart: What does it say about making right turns from the right shoulder or making U-turns from the right shoulder of the road?
Rigoberto Machado(Translator): Well, that’s illegal.
Stewart: So, the move that you were making was illegal.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): It can be done but you shouldn’t do it.
Steve: Also, I was amazed when you asked him in this deposition whose fault it was and he said what?
Stewart: He blamed my client. He blamed Michelle.
Steve: And we have a certain segment of that and we’ll show that right now.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): I myself don’t consider myself to be at fault for this accident.
Stewart: Who do you consider to be the cause for this accident?
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): The girl who crashed.
Steve: They’re position from the beginning was that it was her fault. Wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: How did they figure that? Was that just their position because they didn’t want to pay or what was the rationale?
Mark: Well, Steve, yeah I think they didn’t want to pay but ultimately I think what it came down to was that she was so badly injured that she had no recollection of the accident. And I think at the end of the day they wanted to use that against her. In other words, she wasn’t able to explain what she did to avoid the accident and that’s what they were going to try to rely on and fortunately it didn’t work.
Steve: Now this case was settled.
Stewart: Correct, on the eve of trial.
Steve: On the eve of trial. And how long had the preparation been from the date you got the case to the date of trial?
Stewart: It was exactly 3 years from the date of the accident. We didn’t get the case for a month. The parents were too concerned about their daughter than to even hire a lawyer. We had two trial dates previously and at the last moment the defense got emergency continuances. So we would have been ready to go 18 months after the accident but we were put off that long.
Steve: Now, that seems a little unfair to your client where they get continuances that extend it, 18 months?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: Well, why does the judge go along with that program?
Mark: Well, unfortunately, it’s delay, delay, delay.
Steve: But how many times can they delay it? You’re smiling…
Stewart: As many as they can, as often as they can.
Steve: Doesn’t a judge step up or something and say you know something, this is too many delays?
Stewart: Well, understand that judges have over a thousand cases. They have just with the foreclosure crisis in Miami-Dade County some 6,000 cases. Their calendars are booked and we try to fight for trial dates, actually. In this case, we claimed we had a 3-week trial with a lot of witnesses and we needed to go.
Steve: So, the foreclosure crisis is causing a crisis for getting other cases heard.
Mark: Sure, it’s just caused an influx of cases of litigation into the court system.
Steve: The insurance companies know that…
Mark: Sure, and they use that to delay and put off settlements.
Steve: Now you said it was settled on the eve of trial. Tell us that day what happened.
Stewart: I got a call from an adjustor Friday afternoon and basically we spoke all weekend long and on Sunday we finally resolved the case.
Steve: They came back with an initial lowball offer.
Stewart: They lowballed this case literally till 11:59pm.
Steve: On Sunday evening.
Stewart: On Sunday evening.
Mark: It was the day before trial.
Steve: And on 11:59pm you were talking to the lawyers on the other side.
Stewart: Just about, yeah.
Steve: Okay, now, words have been exchanged on the telephone, how do you know the next morning you’re going to wake up and they’re going to recall the conversation or they’re going to disclaim they never said it. When do you get things in writing?
Stewart: We went in front of the judge the next morning and went on the record and asked for the settlement, how much, and the terms of the settlement.
Steve: And this is a confidential settlement.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: And so the judge gives you how long to draw it up so our audience understands…
Stewart: We drew it up that day.
Steve: And part of the settlement is that they have to pay within a certain period of time.
Stewart: Correct. That’s part of terms of the settlement agreement.
Steve: And obviously they paid.
Stewart: They paid and our client has been funded.
Steve: But there are people who write up settlements that don’t pay within that period of time.
Stewart: We’ve had it this year. We’ve had to go to court a number of times to enforce settlements where we get attorney fees, costs and interest, for making them pass.
Steve: Yeah, well you guys did an outstanding job and I’m glad you did because Michelle’s a great person so is her dad. And thank you very much for being on the program.
Stewart: Thank you for having us.
Mark: Nice to be here.
Steve: Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Grandma Explains How She Discovered Her Test Samples Were Mixed Up. Lab Mistakes PT.4

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Mark Twain once said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure…” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the American Medical Association know how to make figures lie by falsely promoting untrue facts:
ON-SCREEN TEXT: “Skyrocketing Health Care and Related Malpractice lawsuits increase insurance premiums.”
“Doctors are abandoning their practices.”
“Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine.”
“Too many frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries.”
Steve Murphy (Voiceover): But the AMA’s own award-winning Journal of the American Medical Association published an article with the real story, the real facts on healthcare related and medical malpractice lawsuits and they’re shocking:
“106,000 patients die each year from the negative effects of medication.”
“Another 80,000 patients die each year due to complications from infections incurred in hospitals.”
“20,000 deaths per year occur from Lab Misdiagnosis mistakes and other hospital errors.”
“12,000 people die each year as a result of unnecessary surgery.”
“7,000 medical malpractice deaths per year are attributed to medication errors in hospitals.”
That’s, “225,000 deaths each year… due to medical negligence of some nature and Healthcare Related Mistakes,” and the number is growing.
Today, the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to examine how one well-known, national laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, made a near fatal mistake by mixing up a biopsy sample with that of another patient. That major mistake caused an 8-month delay in receiving life-saving treatment for Maria Rapio for a deadly cancer, a high grade sarcoma, which is a malignant and aggressive tumor. The lab’s inexcusable error changed the once vibrant, active Maria forever. During that critical 8-month delay her infection spread to the bone so the doctor had to put in a metal rod in her leg. She suffered from an infection from this procedure and was hospitalized for over a month. Now her leg has been left severely deformed and she has to constantly go for check-ups to make sure her tumor has not spread. Had the correct diagnosis originally been given she would have saved these precious 8 months which for this type of tumor, could be life altering.
Today the Insider Exclusive shows how Maria’s lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone, are getting justice for Maria. They have seen many patients suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help people who have been harmed by incompetent and negligent healthcare professionals. Their goal: not only to get justice for Maria but to make medicine safer and more accountable just like Quest Diagnostics publicly state on their website “Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our corporate philosophy…we strive to do the right thing when it comes to caring for our patients.”
Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE: The Insider Exclusive presents- Quest Diagnostics: DEADLY Errors
Steve Murphy: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg: Thank you, Steve.
Mark Stone: Nice to see you.
Steve: Tell us a little bit about your firm. What type of practices does your firm get involved in?
Stewart: We handle cases of people who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones from the negligence of others.
Steve: …like catastrophic cases and this sort of thing?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: You have 6 offices in Florida, don’t you? Where are they?
Stewart: We have offices in south Florida, central Florida, and in the panhandle.
Steve: I always ask this of every lawyer that we have on the show…why did you become a lawyer, Mark?
Mark: I became a lawyer… my father was a judge, and was one of the youngest judges appointed by the governor at that time to become a juvenile court judge. So, he made his mark in the law and I had an older brother who went to law school and I thought that would be something that would be challenging and rewarding.
Steve: How about you Stewart?
Stewart: I like working with people and in our practice we get to spend a lot of time with our clients over many years…and over 31 years we still have relationships.
Steve: The case we’re going to discuss today is kind of an unusual case because it’s a misdiagnosis case not necessarily by a doctor or a hospital but by a lab.
Stewart: Correct, a national lab…
Steve: Can you tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: Sure. We represent a lovely 60 year-old lady who you’ll get to meet and she had a small little bump on her leg. She went to the doctor and the doctor decided to excise it, to remove it…sent it out to Quest Laboratories locally here in South Florida. It came back that it was fine. That was in October in 2007. In May of 2008, she was called by the doctor and told, ‘listen, the lab thinks they made a mistake and they mixed up your specimen with someone else’s and they had to take another sample from her leg and she came back having a very, very aggressive form of sarcoma, cancer.
Steve: How would they have known that they had misplaced, or mixed it up?
Stewart: It’s interesting you asked that. We’re trying to find that out now through discovery. Probably, what happened was the other patient who was told she had cancer was eventually rechecked where they found no cancer. We don’t know who that patient is. We don’t know if she understands the whole mix-up or not.
Steve: You don’t know because they won’t tell you?
Stewart: They won’t tell us. That’s correct.
Steve: It would seem to me that they would want to clear this up, right?
Stewart: Well, it would seem to anybody that they would want to clear it up. What they’re trying to do is hide the ball.
Steve: Yeah, they’re trying to hide their mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: So she had another biopsy done and what happened?
Stewart: As a result of that, unfortunately, she had to get major surgery in her leg where they actually inserted a steel rod in her leg because of the extent of the injuries from the cancer. That became infected then she later spent a month in the hospital and she has a resulting, horrible scar. She’s in pain. She’s at risk for cancer for the rest of her life where she wouldn’t have been otherwise. She can’t work any longer so she’s really incapacitated. She uses a walker.
Steve: The 8 months where she thought she didn’t have a cancer in her leg, her leg was gradually getting worse, wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes it was.
Steve: …and as a result of this delay of 8 months, what is the damage that is done to her?
Stewart: Had this been removed properly and diagnosed properly then she probably would have never needed the insertion of the steel rod. She would have never had the infection. Her risk of future cancer would have been much, much, much lower. And she would probably be back at work and being a grandma and a mom and enjoying life.
Steve: Mark, tell us a little bit about Maria. What kind of women was she prior to this horrible incident?
Mark: Maria was, and still is, a very unique woman. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s got a zest for life that really is uncommon. I don’t see that in a lot of people. She’s self-made. She’s a beautician. She runs her own business. She is a successful person. Unfortunately, this injury which was completely preventable has taken just a tremendous toll on her life from a physical toll to an emotional standpoint. She was a woman who would go out, she would socialize…she loved life. That has been literally ripped away from her at this point.
Steve: I understand Stewart that she raised four kids.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: Basically, by herself. Is that correct?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: She originally came from Italy. As a result of this she can’t work now, can’t she?
Stewart: She can’t work and she really has trouble taking care of herself. She needs help.
Steve: Let’s bring on Maria and her daughter right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Maria and Elizabeth to the show. Welcome to the show.
Maria/Elizabeth: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day Maria when you learned…well, when you initially discovered there was a bump on your leg. You went to your dermatologist, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...and your dermatologist took a biopsy, correct?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...sent it to the lab.
Maria: Yes.
Steve: The results came back soon thereafter.
Maria: …everything is good…everything is fine…no problem.
Steve: …but, then what happened?
Maria: What happened was that still after that it was still growing. So, I go to my doctor and he says not to worry about it- that everything is fine. Okay, I don’t worry. So, after 7 months they call me saying it’s urgent…
Steve: Had your leg been looking worse and worse?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: Had you been not able to walk as much?
Maria: No, no, yes I could walk. The doctor says everything’s fine…it’s just some pimple there that will go away. So when they call me, saying it was an emergency, to see the doctor, I go. He tells me, ‘…listen, we have to do another biopsy…’
Steve: Here’s my question: Why did they call you in if they didn’t know anything at that time?
Maria: …because the laboratory told them that they had made a mistake. After that, everything became like a dream. I go Saturday to see the doctor where they draw out my blood. After, they send me to the specialist for the legs and then the doctor took a…radiografia?
Elizabeth: X-ray.
Maria: And they said that tomorrow I have to go to the hospital because we have to open and see what happened there…I never expected what would happen to me!
Steve: Did you ask the doctors what was going on?
Maria: Yes! They said don’t worry, looks good.
Steve: Did you go with her?
Maria: No, go with my friend, a very good friend. So, that happened Saturday. Monday, I go to the doctor and Tuesday they operate on me. Oh my God, terrible…
Elizabeth: From one day to the next…
Steve: But they told you that you need an operation, why?
Maria: …because they wanted to see what was there but they never told me that a big mistake was made in the laboratory.
Steve: They haven’t told you yet.
Maria: Nothing! It didn’t even cross my mind.
Steve: It seems kind of odd that the doctor would say that he needs to operate without giving you any reason why.
Maria: Why? They said nothing to me. Only that there was some mistake or something…they cover each other, you know?
Steve: Yeah.
Maria: So, I go to see the doctor that operated on me and he said to go see him after 7 days. I go but the doctor didn’t see him. I saw the assistant and they tell me that everything looks fine. They said that in case we call you 3 days from now, because they need like 14 days to resend samples to the laboratory to check if everything is fine…and if don’t call you then everything is fine. But if we call you come right away. They called me.
And when I went there, I never expected in my life to hear what they said to me. When I go to the doctor, he sits me down, doesn’t even prepare me…I go with my friend because she’s with me all the time, and I sit there and ask, “what happened doctor, is everything ok?” He says, “No, you have cancer,” like that.
After that, I said, “What!” My friend starts to cry and I start to cry and I ask the doctor what had happened, why do I have cancer now? They took these little samples from me like 7-8 months ago and now you say I have cancer. He says, “Yes, but I cannot tell you anything else. You have to go to a specialist now. I don’t know the name in English for cancer specialists…so they send me to another doctor. When I go to the doctor at Mercy hospital he doesn’t make an operation…again, I went with my friend because she’s married to a doctor and she knows all of these things I don’t understand. When I sit there, I asked so what do I do now? He says, “Yeah, you have cancer, you’re lucky…because they gave your test to another person so you didn’t have to suffer for 7 months.”
I said, “Doctor, you’re telling me now that I’m lucky. I have cancer and I don’t know what is happening with my leg now…I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to see a specialist, the most important specialist for my legs to find out what happened.”
After that I go to a specialist. Thank God that this doctor was good. He said they needed to do a big operation. You want to see my leg? I had to have 4 operations! Look at that, look at that…. 9 months I can’t walk.
Steve: You have a metal rod in…
Maria: I have a metal rod, yes, all this for nothing. They just made a big mistake with me. This destroyed my life because I am a very nice person. I work, I dance, I love my family… I love my grandchild who was born the same month when they did the big operation on me. I mean and after that…what I suffered at the hospital…infections, a lot of things happened to me…what happens to me now?
Steve: Elizabeth, how have you seen your mom’s life change over this period of time?
Elizabeth: Drastically. She’s always been a woman who takes very good care of herself. She goes to the doctor, checks up…and if this would have been dealt with appropriately from the beginning…
Steve: … it wouldn’t have been this bad.
Elizabeth: …we wouldn’t have had any of this happen. It would have been treated as a pre-cancerous cell usually gets treated and she would have continued living a normal life but due to this mistake by the laboratory its changed our lives completely. I mean I was pregnant 5 months when this started. My son was born and like she mentioned she had surgery a week later and it was just downhill from there. Five surgeries later she got an infection at the hospital. You know what it is to sit in a chair for nine months with one leg up. I mean we had to fly family in from Italy to help us take care of her because it was too much. Her sister took turns. The expenses have been astronomical. And the whole tradition of our family has changed. She is no longer able to be that mother who made Sunday lunches for the family anymore. She can’t go anywhere without the walker, wheelchair, or some sort of electrical device to help her.
Steve: You have to use this walker all of the time, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss most about your life before?
Maria: My life before, like my daughter said, family…I love to dance. I can’t dance anymore. I had a normal life, beautiful. I was just a happy person, many friends; we’d go out. I used to have a boyfriend but after this I said, no more. I can’t give satisfaction to a man.
Elizabeth: Her self-esteem is low.
Maria: My self-esteem is down completely.
Steve: What do you see as justice for your case?
Elizabeth: At this point, I mean…
Steve: You have huge medical bills, don’t you?
Elizabeth: …medical bills, her lifestyle has changed…
Steve: You can’t work anymore.
Maria: No, no work. I can’t, I can’t. I have a lot of debts now.
Elizabeth: Now we’re full of debt. We all have help with the light bill and the mortgage…some sort of relief…
Steve: What has been the response of Quest Diagnostics for this whole thing?
Elizabeth: Absolutely none.
Steve: …because on their website it says, ‘we really care about our patients.’ Do you believe that?
Maria: I don’t believe anything, nothing. They’re liars, big liars!
Steve: This question is for the both of you: If you had a message to send to the people who made this mistake, Quest Diagnostics, what would that message be?
Elizabeth: Get your infrastructure in order and don’t make these kinds of mistakes because you ruin lives every time you do.
Maria: Every time they make a big mistake…you can never trust no doctor and no laboratory. Try to test 3 times at the laboratory. Try 3 different times because they can make big mistakes! I’m not alone. Many people are down from the mistakes made by this laboratory. Big mistake!
Steve: I want to thank you both for being on this show. This message is going to get out and it’s our best wishes for you.
Well, when you hear it from the horse’s mouth Maria really says what she means. This is a terrible case. How are you pursuing this case? What are you doing to win this case? What’s your strategy?
Stewart: We’re trying to show how this administrative error took place. We’ve taken the deposition of the president of the local Quest lab who really had no idea how the operation even works. Now we’re trying to…the court has given us permission to film how they process over 15,000 samples a night and they’ve appealed it. So once we win that appeal we’re going to go in and show how this error had occurred.
Steve: Because once you have that information, you can…because it’s a national laboratory, they process a large amount of biopsies and all kinds of tests and there is bound to be some errors. But some of these errors can be fatal, near fatal.
Stewart: And this one could have been. This is not a mistake where the doctor misread a slide, this was a mistake where somebody took a sample and put the wrong name on it and the wrong number on it.
Steve: Now you haven’t been able to get that other incorrect biopsy. Or you have the incorrect biopsy but you don’t know who it belongs to, do you?
Stewart: No, we don’t.
Steve: And they won’t give you that information. In other words, they’re not being helpful to try and correct the mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: …which goes against their website theme which is ‘we care about our patients’ and all this other good stuff, right?
Mark: Yes, absolutely, and that’s something that we’re willing to address and that’s what we’re doing that now. We’re going to look under every stone and pursue this however we need to prove that really what happened here was really just a preventable mistake, really not a medical negligence mistake. It was an administrative error that should have never of taken place.
Steve: Just own up to it and take care of their medical bills, right?
Stewart: …and pay her for her lost wages.
Steve: …because she can’t work.
Stewart: …and her pain and suffering. You could see that she’s going back to doctors every six months. She’s got a fear of this sarcoma spreading and killing her. Her whole life has changed. She needs modifications done to her home. She can’t get up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub is a chore. There are many things that need to be changed in her life and her home as a result of this.
Steve: You know in the medical industry there are misdiagnosis all of the time. How do they normally occur?
Mark: There can be several causes. Usually it’s plain and simple carelessness. The vast majority of medical mistakes that we’ve encountered in our personal practice and our professional practice are just very preventable types of things: not reviewing patient histories, not reading labs correctly, simple mistakes that really unfortunately can have tragic effects on their patients, our clients.
Steve: Well, thank God you’re representing Maria and I want to thank both of you for being on the program today. You’re doing a terrific job.
Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Grandmother blasts the hospital and lab for destroying her leg. Lab Mistakes-Pt.5

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Mark Twain once said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure…” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the American Medical Association know how to make figures lie by falsely promoting untrue facts:
ON-SCREEN TEXT: “Skyrocketing Health Care and Related Malpractice lawsuits increase insurance premiums.”
“Doctors are abandoning their practices.”
“Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine.”
“Too many frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries.”
Steve Murphy (Voiceover): But the AMA’s own award-winning Journal of the American Medical Association published an article with the real story, the real facts on healthcare related and medical malpractice lawsuits and they’re shocking:
“106,000 patients die each year from the negative effects of medication.”
“Another 80,000 patients die each year due to complications from infections incurred in hospitals.”
“20,000 deaths per year occur from Lab Misdiagnosis mistakes and other hospital errors.”
“12,000 people die each year as a result of unnecessary surgery.”
“7,000 medical malpractice deaths per year are attributed to medication errors in hospitals.”
That’s, “225,000 deaths each year… due to medical negligence of some nature and Healthcare Related Mistakes,” and the number is growing.
Today, the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to examine how one well-known, national laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, made a near fatal mistake by mixing up a biopsy sample with that of another patient. That major mistake caused an 8-month delay in receiving life-saving treatment for Maria Rapio for a deadly cancer, a high grade sarcoma, which is a malignant and aggressive tumor. The lab’s inexcusable error changed the once vibrant, active Maria forever. During that critical 8-month delay her infection spread to the bone so the doctor had to put in a metal rod in her leg. She suffered from an infection from this procedure and was hospitalized for over a month. Now her leg has been left severely deformed and she has to constantly go for check-ups to make sure her tumor has not spread. Had the correct diagnosis originally been given she would have saved these precious 8 months which for this type of tumor, could be life altering.
Today the Insider Exclusive shows how Maria’s lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone, are getting justice for Maria. They have seen many patients suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help people who have been harmed by incompetent and negligent healthcare professionals. Their goal: not only to get justice for Maria but to make medicine safer and more accountable just like Quest Diagnostics publicly state on their website “Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our corporate philosophy…we strive to do the right thing when it comes to caring for our patients.”
Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE: The Insider Exclusive presents- Quest Diagnostics: DEADLY Errors
Steve Murphy: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg: Thank you, Steve.
Mark Stone: Nice to see you.
Steve: Tell us a little bit about your firm. What type of practices does your firm get involved in?
Stewart: We handle cases of people who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones from the negligence of others.
Steve: …like catastrophic cases and this sort of thing?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: You have 6 offices in Florida, don’t you? Where are they?
Stewart: We have offices in south Florida, central Florida, and in the panhandle.
Steve: I always ask this of every lawyer that we have on the show…why did you become a lawyer, Mark?
Mark: I became a lawyer… my father was a judge, and was one of the youngest judges appointed by the governor at that time to become a juvenile court judge. So, he made his mark in the law and I had an older brother who went to law school and I thought that would be something that would be challenging and rewarding.
Steve: How about you Stewart?
Stewart: I like working with people and in our practice we get to spend a lot of time with our clients over many years…and over 31 years we still have relationships.
Steve: The case we’re going to discuss today is kind of an unusual case because it’s a misdiagnosis case not necessarily by a doctor or a hospital but by a lab.
Stewart: Correct, a national lab…
Steve: Can you tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: Sure. We represent a lovely 60 year-old lady who you’ll get to meet and she had a small little bump on her leg. She went to the doctor and the doctor decided to excise it, to remove it…sent it out to Quest Laboratories locally here in South Florida. It came back that it was fine. That was in October in 2007. In May of 2008, she was called by the doctor and told, ‘listen, the lab thinks they made a mistake and they mixed up your specimen with someone else’s and they had to take another sample from her leg and she came back having a very, very aggressive form of sarcoma, cancer.
Steve: How would they have known that they had misplaced, or mixed it up?
Stewart: It’s interesting you asked that. We’re trying to find that out now through discovery. Probably, what happened was the other patient who was told she had cancer was eventually rechecked where they found no cancer. We don’t know who that patient is. We don’t know if she understands the whole mix-up or not.
Steve: You don’t know because they won’t tell you?
Stewart: They won’t tell us. That’s correct.
Steve: It would seem to me that they would want to clear this up, right?
Stewart: Well, it would seem to anybody that they would want to clear it up. What they’re trying to do is hide the ball.
Steve: Yeah, they’re trying to hide their mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: So she had another biopsy done and what happened?
Stewart: As a result of that, unfortunately, she had to get major surgery in her leg where they actually inserted a steel rod in her leg because of the extent of the injuries from the cancer. That became infected then she later spent a month in the hospital and she has a resulting, horrible scar. She’s in pain. She’s at risk for cancer for the rest of her life where she wouldn’t have been otherwise. She can’t work any longer so she’s really incapacitated. She uses a walker.
Steve: The 8 months where she thought she didn’t have a cancer in her leg, her leg was gradually getting worse, wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes it was.
Steve: …and as a result of this delay of 8 months, what is the damage that is done to her?
Stewart: Had this been removed properly and diagnosed properly then she probably would have never needed the insertion of the steel rod. She would have never had the infection. Her risk of future cancer would have been much, much, much lower. And she would probably be back at work and being a grandma and a mom and enjoying life.
Steve: Mark, tell us a little bit about Maria. What kind of women was she prior to this horrible incident?
Mark: Maria was, and still is, a very unique woman. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s got a zest for life that really is uncommon. I don’t see that in a lot of people. She’s self-made. She’s a beautician. She runs her own business. She is a successful person. Unfortunately, this injury which was completely preventable has taken just a tremendous toll on her life from a physical toll to an emotional standpoint. She was a woman who would go out, she would socialize…she loved life. That has been literally ripped away from her at this point.
Steve: I understand Stewart that she raised four kids.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: Basically, by herself. Is that correct?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: She originally came from Italy. As a result of this she can’t work now, can’t she?
Stewart: She can’t work and she really has trouble taking care of herself. She needs help.
Steve: Let’s bring on Maria and her daughter right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Maria and Elizabeth to the show. Welcome to the show.
Maria/Elizabeth: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day Maria when you learned…well, when you initially discovered there was a bump on your leg. You went to your dermatologist, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...and your dermatologist took a biopsy, correct?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...sent it to the lab.
Maria: Yes.
Steve: The results came back soon thereafter.
Maria: …everything is good…everything is fine…no problem.
Steve: …but, then what happened?
Maria: What happened was that still after that it was still growing. So, I go to my doctor and he says not to worry about it- that everything is fine. Okay, I don’t worry. So, after 7 months they call me saying it’s urgent…
Steve: Had your leg been looking worse and worse?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: Had you been not able to walk as much?
Maria: No, no, yes I could walk. The doctor says everything’s fine…it’s just some pimple there that will go away. So when they call me, saying it was an emergency, to see the doctor, I go. He tells me, ‘…listen, we have to do another biopsy…’
Steve: Here’s my question: Why did they call you in if they didn’t know anything at that time?
Maria: …because the laboratory told them that they had made a mistake. After that, everything became like a dream. I go Saturday to see the doctor where they draw out my blood. After, they send me to the specialist for the legs and then the doctor took a…radiografia?
Elizabeth: X-ray.
Maria: And they said that tomorrow I have to go to the hospital because we have to open and see what happened there…I never expected what would happen to me!
Steve: Did you ask the doctors what was going on?
Maria: Yes! They said don’t worry, looks good.
Steve: Did you go with her?
Maria: No, go with my friend, a very good friend. So, that happened Saturday. Monday, I go to the doctor and Tuesday they operate on me. Oh my God, terrible…
Elizabeth: From one day to the next…
Steve: But they told you that you need an operation, why?
Maria: …because they wanted to see what was there but they never told me that a big mistake was made in the laboratory.
Steve: They haven’t told you yet.
Maria: Nothing! It didn’t even cross my mind.
Steve: It seems kind of odd that the doctor would say that he needs to operate without giving you any reason why.
Maria: Why? They said nothing to me. Only that there was some mistake or something…they cover each other, you know?
Steve: Yeah.
Maria: So, I go to see the doctor that operated on me and he said to go see him after 7 days. I go but the doctor didn’t see him. I saw the assistant and they tell me that everything looks fine. They said that in case we call you 3 days from now, because they need like 14 days to resend samples to the laboratory to check if everything is fine…and if don’t call you then everything is fine. But if we call you come right away. They called me.
And when I went there, I never expected in my life to hear what they said to me. When I go to the doctor, he sits me down, doesn’t even prepare me…I go with my friend because she’s with me all the time, and I sit there and ask, “what happened doctor, is everything ok?” He says, “No, you have cancer,” like that.
After that, I said, “What!” My friend starts to cry and I start to cry and I ask the doctor what had happened, why do I have cancer now? They took these little samples from me like 7-8 months ago and now you say I have cancer. He says, “Yes, but I cannot tell you anything else. You have to go to a specialist now. I don’t know the name in English for cancer specialists…so they send me to another doctor. When I go to the doctor at Mercy hospital he doesn’t make an operation…again, I went with my friend because she’s married to a doctor and she knows all of these things I don’t understand. When I sit there, I asked so what do I do now? He says, “Yeah, you have cancer, you’re lucky…because they gave your test to another person so you didn’t have to suffer for 7 months.”
I said, “Doctor, you’re telling me now that I’m lucky. I have cancer and I don’t know what is happening with my leg now…I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to see a specialist, the most important specialist for my legs to find out what happened.”
After that I go to a specialist. Thank God that this doctor was good. He said they needed to do a big operation. You want to see my leg? I had to have 4 operations! Look at that, look at that…. 9 months I can’t walk.
Steve: You have a metal rod in…
Maria: I have a metal rod, yes, all this for nothing. They just made a big mistake with me. This destroyed my life because I am a very nice person. I work, I dance, I love my family… I love my grandchild who was born the same month when they did the big operation on me. I mean and after that…what I suffered at the hospital…infections, a lot of things happened to me…what happens to me now?
Steve: Elizabeth, how have you seen your mom’s life change over this period of time?
Elizabeth: Drastically. She’s always been a woman who takes very good care of herself. She goes to the doctor, checks up…and if this would have been dealt with appropriately from the beginning…
Steve: … it wouldn’t have been this bad.
Elizabeth: …we wouldn’t have had any of this happen. It would have been treated as a pre-cancerous cell usually gets treated and she would have continued living a normal life but due to this mistake by the laboratory its changed our lives completely. I mean I was pregnant 5 months when this started. My son was born and like she mentioned she had surgery a week later and it was just downhill from there. Five surgeries later she got an infection at the hospital. You know what it is to sit in a chair for nine months with one leg up. I mean we had to fly family in from Italy to help us take care of her because it was too much. Her sister took turns. The expenses have been astronomical. And the whole tradition of our family has changed. She is no longer able to be that mother who made Sunday lunches for the family anymore. She can’t go anywhere without the walker, wheelchair, or some sort of electrical device to help her.
Steve: You have to use this walker all of the time, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss most about your life before?
Maria: My life before, like my daughter said, family…I love to dance. I can’t dance anymore. I had a normal life, beautiful. I was just a happy person, many friends; we’d go out. I used to have a boyfriend but after this I said, no more. I can’t give satisfaction to a man.
Elizabeth: Her self-esteem is low.
Maria: My self-esteem is down completely.
Steve: What do you see as justice for your case?
Elizabeth: At this point, I mean…
Steve: You have huge medical bills, don’t you?
Elizabeth: …medical bills, her lifestyle has changed…
Steve: You can’t work anymore.
Maria: No, no work. I can’t, I can’t. I have a lot of debts now.
Elizabeth: Now we’re full of debt. We all have help with the light bill and the mortgage…some sort of relief…
Steve: What has been the response of Quest Diagnostics for this whole thing?
Elizabeth: Absolutely none.
Steve: …because on their website it says, ‘we really care about our patients.’ Do you believe that?
Maria: I don’t believe anything, nothing. They’re liars, big liars!
Steve: This question is for the both of you: If you had a message to send to the people who made this mistake, Quest Diagnostics, what would that message be?
Elizabeth: Get your infrastructure in order and don’t make these kinds of mistakes because you ruin lives every time you do.
Maria: Every time they make a big mistake…you can never trust no doctor and no laboratory. Try to test 3 times at the laboratory. Try 3 different times because they can make big mistakes! I’m not alone. Many people are down from the mistakes made by this laboratory. Big mistake!
Steve: I want to thank you both for being on this show. This message is going to get out and it’s our best wishes for you.
Well, when you hear it from the horse’s mouth Maria really says what she means. This is a terrible case. How are you pursuing this case? What are you doing to win this case? What’s your strategy?
Stewart: We’re trying to show how this administrative error took place. We’ve taken the deposition of the president of the local Quest lab who really had no idea how the operation even works. Now we’re trying to…the court has given us permission to film how they process over 15,000 samples a night and they’ve appealed it. So once we win that appeal we’re going to go in and show how this error had occurred.
Steve: Because once you have that information, you can…because it’s a national laboratory, they process a large amount of biopsies and all kinds of tests and there is bound to be some errors. But some of these errors can be fatal, near fatal.
Stewart: And this one could have been. This is not a mistake where the doctor misread a slide, this was a mistake where somebody took a sample and put the wrong name on it and the wrong number on it.
Steve: Now you haven’t been able to get that other incorrect biopsy. Or you have the incorrect biopsy but you don’t know who it belongs to, do you?
Stewart: No, we don’t.
Steve: And they won’t give you that information. In other words, they’re not being helpful to try and correct the mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: …which goes against their website theme which is ‘we care about our patients’ and all this other good stuff, right?
Mark: Yes, absolutely, and that’s something that we’re willing to address and that’s what we’re doing that now. We’re going to look under every stone and pursue this however we need to prove that really what happened here was really just a preventable mistake, really not a medical negligence mistake. It was an administrative error that should have never of taken place.
Steve: Just own up to it and take care of their medical bills, right?
Stewart: …and pay her for her lost wages.
Steve: …because she can’t work.
Stewart: …and her pain and suffering. You could see that she’s going back to doctors every six months. She’s got a fear of this sarcoma spreading and killing her. Her whole life has changed. She needs modifications done to her home. She can’t get up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub is a chore. There are many things that need to be changed in her life and her home as a result of this.
Steve: You know in the medical industry there are misdiagnosis all of the time. How do they normally occur?
Mark: There can be several causes. Usually it’s plain and simple carelessness. The vast majority of medical mistakes that we’ve encountered in our personal practice and our professional practice are just very preventable types of things: not reviewing patient histories, not reading labs correctly, simple mistakes that really unfortunately can have tragic effects on their patients, our clients.
Steve: Well, thank God you’re representing Maria and I want to thank both of you for being on the program today. You’re doing a terrific job.
Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Greenberg and Stone wins justice for Michelle- Miami Highway Crashes-Pt.5

Title: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michelle Cardenas Story

Steve Murphy: On September 27, 2007 at 4 in the afternoon, 27 year old Michelle Cardenas, a popular middle school teacher was driving home in her Honda Civic on a four lane rural major highway entering Hialeah, fl. Parked on the right shoulder was an 18-wheeler truck driven by Rigoberto Machado hauling a load of plants from South Miami to various Walmarts. Machado, without warning, illegaly did the unbelievable. He pulled a U-Turn across the divided, double-lane highway causing Michelle’s car to unavoidably smash into the undercarriage of his 18-wheeler ripping the entire car’s roof off its hinges. Today, the Insider Exclusive presents the true story of the miraculous courage of Michelle Cardenas and how her lawyers Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone got justice for Michelle by clearly proving the discrepancies in the truck driver’s testimony and by demonstrating the correct and safe driving procedures for turning 18-wheelers around. Its earned them the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike as one of the best plaintiff trial lawyers in Florida and in the nation. They have seen many innocent, hardworking people suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help those who have been harmed by the negligent actions of others. Their goal: not only to get justice for Michelle but to make America’s highways safer and trucking companies and their insurance companies much more accountable.

Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider’s Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE OF VIDEO: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michele Cardenas Story
Steve Murphy:
It is my great privilege to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg/ Mark Stone: Thank you Steve.
Steve Murphy: Tell us a little bit about your firm.
Stewart: Our firm handles catastrophic, personal injury claims where people have either been injured or have lost a loved one through the negligence of another whether it be a trucking accident, whether it be a medical malpractice case, an airplane disaster, a motorcycle accident, car crash, cruise accident, things of that nature.
Steven Murphy: Basically, little guy against big guy, right...the David and Goliath kind of cases. Now, today we’re going to be talking about a rather horrific case; an 18-wheeler case with Michelle Cardenas. Tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: This is a tragedy. We represent a very young lady in her mid-twenties who was a school teacher on her way home from school on a Friday afternoon, minding her own business, doing nothing wrong, when an 18-wheeler decided to make U-turn across a 4-lane divided highway and her car went underneath the back of the trailer, came out the other side with its top ripped off. She was airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Ryder Trauma Center…
Steven Murphy: She was knocked out in that accident.
Stewart: She was unconscious and she had a glass glaucoma scale of 7. Which 15 is normal. 7’s survivability is probably under 20%-25%.
Steve Murphy: Explain to our audience what that means.
Stewart: The paramedics and doctors have certain tests they do on someone in the field and in the hospital to see about how alert they are neurologically and a 7 is a very low score on that scale and as a result she’s got permanent brain damage.
Steve: What has been the result of pursuing this case?
Mark: Well, in terms of the results of the client, fortunately we were able to reach a settlement on her behalf which should enable Michelle to get a great deal of her life back. Unfortunately, she has a diffuse axonal injury which is an injury to the axons which is structures, microscopic structures, between the gray and the white matter. Once their ripped or torn they don’t repair themselves. So, we feel fortunate that we were able to get her a sum of money which is going to allow her to regain some normalcy in her life.
Steve Murphy: Right. As a result of this accident she can no longer teach.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve Murphy: Will she have the capability of teaching?
Stewart: She probably, according to our experts, is really unemployable. She can only handle very menial tasks, right now, she helps out with the family business but her ability to stay focused…her executive functions have severely been compromised.
Steve: We have with us today both her, as well as her dad, in the studio and I’d like to bring out her dad first so we can talk a little bit about the challenges that they as a family face and her. So, let’s do that right now.
Steve: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Gabriel Cardenas, the father of Michelle. Welcome to the show.
Gabriel Cardenas: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day, when you first heard that your daughter was involved in this horrible accident and had been airlifted to the hospital. What were your thoughts as a father?
Gabriel: It was very painful because in this case we did not know what had happened. The hospital could not reach us until about 10 o’clock at night and the phone rang in the neighbor’s house; he came over to our house and knocked on the door really loud, like in a panic. We did not know what had happened or if something was wrong with him. As it turned out, he just said that Jackson Hospital had called and that Michelle was there and we needed to go there immediately because Michelle was involved in an accident but they won’t tell you anymore on the phone or anything. So when we went into the Emergency, actually it wasn’t the Emergency, it was the Life Resuscitation area where she was. We saw her there all strapped with all kinds of wires. It was very painful. She was in a coma, completely. She was gone several times. But we were lucky that she came out of it little by little. That was the beginning…
Steve: How long did it take so that she was kind of conscious?
Gabriel: No, it took several days before she was conscious. And even then she seemed to be conscious but she didn’t remember anything in the hospital which was like 3 ½ weeks but she was in this resuscitation area for close to 36 hours I believe
Steve: When you say she didn’t remember anything in the hospital what are the things she didn’t remember?
Gabriel: Nothing. It’s hard for her to remember…
Steve: Did she remember who she was?
Gabriel: Well, when she was in the hospital they would ask her the requirements necessary so that she could be moved out of the resuscitation area into emergency then into the brain injury wing, was that she had to respond to her name: What’s your name? Also, to try to remember what day it was. It took her like 3 days before she could guess what day it was, where she was. Of course, she was sleeping or knocked out for the first few hours.
Steve: As a father, not being able to do anything it must be very painful, excruciatingly painful.
Gabriel: It’s very, very difficult to go through that pain. You see your dream, your daughter there… very difficult…that some nut went around and did some stupid thing, carelessly, and has ruined her life. And you sit there and you can’t do anything about it. You know and these people didn’t call to see how she was. Never! Not in the hospital or at home, during these 3 years. Never! How’s Michelle? Never! Very sad…
Steve: Stewart was the extent of her brain injuries?
Stewart: The doctors consider them moderate to severe and Michelle has been remarkable. She’s worked very, very hard with her Mom, with her dad, with her sister, and with her brother to get back as much function as possible. But she’ll never be the same, unfortunately. This has changed her life forever.
Steve: She was a middle school teacher.
Gabriel: Yes, she was a specialist in literature, English Literature.
Steve: She loves literature. I was talking to her before the show and she was saying her favorite author was Virginia Wolfe.
Gabriel: She loves writing poems.
Steve: Now she cannot teach anymore but she works with your family business?
Gabriel: Well, she helps a little bit…she doesn’t really work a lot because she still has a lot of problems due to her brain injury. One of the problems she has is short-term memory loss. So, she’ll forget things that happened yesterday or things that happened a few hours ago. She’ll keep asking me how to do something that she’d do every day.
Steve: Is she able to go places by herself?
Gabriel: Right now, we drive her around ourselves. We don’t want to her to drive yet. She can function partially well. The main thing is some of the problems she has with her brain is she has problems with concentration. It’s hard for her to concentrate.
Steve: We have her with us in the studio and we’re going to bring her on right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Michelle. Welcome to the show, Michelle.
Michelle: Thank you.
Steve: What an ordeal. Your dad was talking about how he felt as a father. I could understand perfectly what he was saying. Take us back to that day, the day of the accident. Do you remember anything about it?
Michelle: Absolutely nothing.
Steve: Nothing. You don’t even remember approaching the truck or anything?
Michelle: No.
Steve: And what are your first remembrances as you were in the hospital.
Michelle: I was in the hospital for about a month and I only slightly remember about the last two days and that’s very, very vague.
Steve: Did you know why you were in the hospital?
Michelle: From what they told me that I was in an accident. Only from what people were telling me, I don’t remember anything that happened.
Steve: Now that you realize what had happened to you, what do you understand about what happened to you as a result of this accident?
Michelle: As the result of this accident I have brain trauma.
Steve: And what does that mean exactly to you?
Michelle: What do you mean, exactly?
Steve: I mean how has it affected you?
Michelle: In so many ways, I mean I don’t even know where to begin.
Steve: Okay, you were a middle school teacher before, in literature, right?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: I think some of your kids sent you cards like this one. You want to hold this up for the camera. It reads “We miss you, Ms. C,” is that right?
Michelle: Yeah.
Steve: You remember teaching?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss about it?
Michelle: That’s like when they told me that I couldn’t teach…that was the worst thing they could have told me, ever. That was just the worst thing ever. It wasn’t necessarily what I had gone to school for. I had gotten a degree in English Literature. The first job that was offered to me was this teaching job. I was in the process of getting certified but it was definitely my vocation. I loved it and when they told me that it was something I couldn’t do because of the brain trauma that was something that really struck me. It was horrible, horrible.
Steve: What was the best thing you liked about teaching?
Michelle: It was just being able to reaching young minds.
Steve: Open them up to good literature…
Michelle: Exactly, yes, and I guess because I am so young I had a connection with them and they were able to learn in different ways. Just the fact that I can’t do that now is just the worst.
Steve: Do you sometimes think that maybe in the future you might be able to do this?
Michelle: I hope so. There are a lot of people that defy…
Steve: Right, you are a miracle, aren’t you?
Michelle: Right.
Steve: I think your dad was saying it’s truly amazing what happened. We’ve seen the pictures and our audience have too of what happened to your car and the roof… was gone, totally gone.
Gabriel: Yes.
Steve: Your lawyers recently settled the case. What’s your opinion of your lawyers?
Michelle: The best!
Steve: Yeah, you know because no one wants to take responsibility here, do they? The trucking company, like you said, hasn’t called in 3 years. I watched the deposition of the truck driver and at one time he broke down and I couldn’t figure out if it was because he had lost his job or because he caused this accident, you know?
Gabriel: He was very unconcerned.
Steve: You look like you’re thinking. What are you thinking about?
Michelle: Oh, I was just thinking about this man who had totally changed my life and he never even once thought...
Steve: Rigoberto Machado. Never thought at all… did you watch those depositions?
Michelle: No, but I was there, for my depositions I mean. Like at the mediation, he was there, and…
Gabriel: We spare her the pain of watching some of this. Even the car pictures; she hasn’t seen those, at all.
Michelle: No, thank God.
Gabriel: We’ve kept them away from her and the lawyers have them.
Steve: Well, you are an amazing individual. I’m glad you were able to spend some time with us today. You inspire other people, no matter what happens to them they know they’ll always have a shot. And I want to thank you very much for spending your time with us.
They’re amazing clients, aren’t they?
Stewart: They are.
Steve: She is an amazing individual and I can understand that she inspired you to win this case. Tell us how you won the case.
Stewart: We won it with a lot of hardwork. We really won it because of her. We won it by getting the best experts, by doing animations, by interviewing witnesses, and by forensically showing how this accident happened.
Steve: Now, the key person in this was the truck driver on the defense’s side and fortunately you did a lot of video depositions. We’re going to show a few of them. For example, he admits that he made an illegal turn.
Stewart: What does it say about making right turns from the right shoulder or making U-turns from the right shoulder of the road?
Rigoberto Machado(Translator): Well, that’s illegal.
Stewart: So, the move that you were making was illegal.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): It can be done but you shouldn’t do it.
Steve: Also, I was amazed when you asked him in this deposition whose fault it was and he said what?
Stewart: He blamed my client. He blamed Michelle.
Steve: And we have a certain segment of that and we’ll show that right now.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): I myself don’t consider myself to be at fault for this accident.
Stewart: Who do you consider to be the cause for this accident?
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): The girl who crashed.
Steve: They’re position from the beginning was that it was her fault. Wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: How did they figure that? Was that just their position because they didn’t want to pay or what was the rationale?
Mark: Well, Steve, yeah I think they didn’t want to pay but ultimately I think what it came down to was that she was so badly injured that she had no recollection of the accident. And I think at the end of the day they wanted to use that against her. In other words, she wasn’t able to explain what she did to avoid the accident and that’s what they were going to try to rely on and fortunately it didn’t work.
Steve: Now this case was settled.
Stewart: Correct, on the eve of trial.
Steve: On the eve of trial. And how long had the preparation been from the date you got the case to the date of trial?
Stewart: It was exactly 3 years from the date of the accident. We didn’t get the case for a month. The parents were too concerned about their daughter than to even hire a lawyer. We had two trial dates previously and at the last moment the defense got emergency continuances. So we would have been ready to go 18 months after the accident but we were put off that long.
Steve: Now, that seems a little unfair to your client where they get continuances that extend it, 18 months?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: Well, why does the judge go along with that program?
Mark: Well, unfortunately, it’s delay, delay, delay.
Steve: But how many times can they delay it? You’re smiling…
Stewart: As many as they can, as often as they can.
Steve: Doesn’t a judge step up or something and say you know something, this is too many delays?
Stewart: Well, understand that judges have over a thousand cases. They have just with the foreclosure crisis in Miami-Dade County some 6,000 cases. Their calendars are booked and we try to fight for trial dates, actually. In this case, we claimed we had a 3-week trial with a lot of witnesses and we needed to go.
Steve: So, the foreclosure crisis is causing a crisis for getting other cases heard.
Mark: Sure, it’s just caused an influx of cases of litigation into the court system.
Steve: The insurance companies know that…
Mark: Sure, and they use that to delay and put off settlements.
Steve: Now you said it was settled on the eve of trial. Tell us that day what happened.
Stewart: I got a call from an adjustor Friday afternoon and basically we spoke all weekend long and on Sunday we finally resolved the case.
Steve: They came back with an initial lowball offer.
Stewart: They lowballed this case literally till 11:59pm.
Steve: On Sunday evening.
Stewart: On Sunday evening.
Mark: It was the day before trial.
Steve: And on 11:59pm you were talking to the lawyers on the other side.
Stewart: Just about, yeah.
Steve: Okay, now, words have been exchanged on the telephone, how do you know the next morning you’re going to wake up and they’re going to recall the conversation or they’re going to disclaim they never said it. When do you get things in writing?
Stewart: We went in front of the judge the next morning and went on the record and asked for the settlement, how much, and the terms of the settlement.
Steve: And this is a confidential settlement.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: And so the judge gives you how long to draw it up so our audience understands…
Stewart: We drew it up that day.
Steve: And part of the settlement is that they have to pay within a certain period of time.
Stewart: Correct. That’s part of terms of the settlement agreement.
Steve: And obviously they paid.
Stewart: They paid and our client has been funded.
Steve: But there are people who write up settlements that don’t pay within that period of time.
Stewart: We’ve had it this year. We’ve had to go to court a number of times to enforce settlements where we get attorney fees, costs and interest, for making them pass.
Steve: Yeah, well you guys did an outstanding job and I’m glad you did because Michelle’s a great person so is her dad. And thank you very much for being on the program.
Stewart: Thank you for having us.
Mark: Nice to be here.
Steve: Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.

To schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

How Greenberg and Stone will fight Quest’s insurance company. Lab Mistakes-Pt.6

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Mark Twain once said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure…” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the American Medical Association know how to make figures lie by falsely promoting untrue facts:
ON-SCREEN TEXT: “Skyrocketing Health Care and Related Malpractice lawsuits increase insurance premiums.”
“Doctors are abandoning their practices.”
“Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine.”
“Too many frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries.”
Steve Murphy (Voiceover): But the AMA’s own award-winning Journal of the American Medical Association published an article with the real story, the real facts on healthcare related and medical malpractice lawsuits and they’re shocking:
“106,000 patients die each year from the negative effects of medication.”
“Another 80,000 patients die each year due to complications from infections incurred in hospitals.”
“20,000 deaths per year occur from Lab Misdiagnosis mistakes and other hospital errors.”
“12,000 people die each year as a result of unnecessary surgery.”
“7,000 medical malpractice deaths per year are attributed to medication errors in hospitals.”
That’s, “225,000 deaths each year… due to medical negligence of some nature and Healthcare Related Mistakes,” and the number is growing.
Today, the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to examine how one well-known, national laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, made a near fatal mistake by mixing up a biopsy sample with that of another patient. That major mistake caused an 8-month delay in receiving life-saving treatment for Maria Rapio for a deadly cancer, a high grade sarcoma, which is a malignant and aggressive tumor. The lab’s inexcusable error changed the once vibrant, active Maria forever. During that critical 8-month delay her infection spread to the bone so the doctor had to put in a metal rod in her leg. She suffered from an infection from this procedure and was hospitalized for over a month. Now her leg has been left severely deformed and she has to constantly go for check-ups to make sure her tumor has not spread. Had the correct diagnosis originally been given she would have saved these precious 8 months which for this type of tumor, could be life altering.
Today the Insider Exclusive shows how Maria’s lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone, are getting justice for Maria. They have seen many patients suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help people who have been harmed by incompetent and negligent healthcare professionals. Their goal: not only to get justice for Maria but to make medicine safer and more accountable just like Quest Diagnostics publicly state on their website “Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our corporate philosophy…we strive to do the right thing when it comes to caring for our patients.”
Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE: The Insider Exclusive presents- Quest Diagnostics: DEADLY Errors
Steve Murphy: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg: Thank you, Steve.
Mark Stone: Nice to see you.
Steve: Tell us a little bit about your firm. What type of practices does your firm get involved in?
Stewart: We handle cases of people who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones from the negligence of others.
Steve: …like catastrophic cases and this sort of thing?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: You have 6 offices in Florida, don’t you? Where are they?
Stewart: We have offices in south Florida, central Florida, and in the panhandle.
Steve: I always ask this of every lawyer that we have on the show…why did you become a lawyer, Mark?
Mark: I became a lawyer… my father was a judge, and was one of the youngest judges appointed by the governor at that time to become a juvenile court judge. So, he made his mark in the law and I had an older brother who went to law school and I thought that would be something that would be challenging and rewarding.
Steve: How about you Stewart?
Stewart: I like working with people and in our practice we get to spend a lot of time with our clients over many years…and over 31 years we still have relationships.
Steve: The case we’re going to discuss today is kind of an unusual case because it’s a misdiagnosis case not necessarily by a doctor or a hospital but by a lab.
Stewart: Correct, a national lab…
Steve: Can you tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: Sure. We represent a lovely 60 year-old lady who you’ll get to meet and she had a small little bump on her leg. She went to the doctor and the doctor decided to excise it, to remove it…sent it out to Quest Laboratories locally here in South Florida. It came back that it was fine. That was in October in 2007. In May of 2008, she was called by the doctor and told, ‘listen, the lab thinks they made a mistake and they mixed up your specimen with someone else’s and they had to take another sample from her leg and she came back having a very, very aggressive form of sarcoma, cancer.
Steve: How would they have known that they had misplaced, or mixed it up?
Stewart: It’s interesting you asked that. We’re trying to find that out now through discovery. Probably, what happened was the other patient who was told she had cancer was eventually rechecked where they found no cancer. We don’t know who that patient is. We don’t know if she understands the whole mix-up or not.
Steve: You don’t know because they won’t tell you?
Stewart: They won’t tell us. That’s correct.
Steve: It would seem to me that they would want to clear this up, right?
Stewart: Well, it would seem to anybody that they would want to clear it up. What they’re trying to do is hide the ball.
Steve: Yeah, they’re trying to hide their mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: So she had another biopsy done and what happened?
Stewart: As a result of that, unfortunately, she had to get major surgery in her leg where they actually inserted a steel rod in her leg because of the extent of the injuries from the cancer. That became infected then she later spent a month in the hospital and she has a resulting, horrible scar. She’s in pain. She’s at risk for cancer for the rest of her life where she wouldn’t have been otherwise. She can’t work any longer so she’s really incapacitated. She uses a walker.
Steve: The 8 months where she thought she didn’t have a cancer in her leg, her leg was gradually getting worse, wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes it was.
Steve: …and as a result of this delay of 8 months, what is the damage that is done to her?
Stewart: Had this been removed properly and diagnosed properly then she probably would have never needed the insertion of the steel rod. She would have never had the infection. Her risk of future cancer would have been much, much, much lower. And she would probably be back at work and being a grandma and a mom and enjoying life.
Steve: Mark, tell us a little bit about Maria. What kind of women was she prior to this horrible incident?
Mark: Maria was, and still is, a very unique woman. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s got a zest for life that really is uncommon. I don’t see that in a lot of people. She’s self-made. She’s a beautician. She runs her own business. She is a successful person. Unfortunately, this injury which was completely preventable has taken just a tremendous toll on her life from a physical toll to an emotional standpoint. She was a woman who would go out, she would socialize…she loved life. That has been literally ripped away from her at this point.
Steve: I understand Stewart that she raised four kids.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: Basically, by herself. Is that correct?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: She originally came from Italy. As a result of this she can’t work now, can’t she?
Stewart: She can’t work and she really has trouble taking care of herself. She needs help.
Steve: Let’s bring on Maria and her daughter right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Maria and Elizabeth to the show. Welcome to the show.
Maria/Elizabeth: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day Maria when you learned…well, when you initially discovered there was a bump on your leg. You went to your dermatologist, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...and your dermatologist took a biopsy, correct?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...sent it to the lab.
Maria: Yes.
Steve: The results came back soon thereafter.
Maria: …everything is good…everything is fine…no problem.
Steve: …but, then what happened?
Maria: What happened was that still after that it was still growing. So, I go to my doctor and he says not to worry about it- that everything is fine. Okay, I don’t worry. So, after 7 months they call me saying it’s urgent…
Steve: Had your leg been looking worse and worse?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: Had you been not able to walk as much?
Maria: No, no, yes I could walk. The doctor says everything’s fine…it’s just some pimple there that will go away. So when they call me, saying it was an emergency, to see the doctor, I go. He tells me, ‘…listen, we have to do another biopsy…’
Steve: Here’s my question: Why did they call you in if they didn’t know anything at that time?
Maria: …because the laboratory told them that they had made a mistake. After that, everything became like a dream. I go Saturday to see the doctor where they draw out my blood. After, they send me to the specialist for the legs and then the doctor took a…radiografia?
Elizabeth: X-ray.
Maria: And they said that tomorrow I have to go to the hospital because we have to open and see what happened there…I never expected what would happen to me!
Steve: Did you ask the doctors what was going on?
Maria: Yes! They said don’t worry, looks good.
Steve: Did you go with her?
Maria: No, go with my friend, a very good friend. So, that happened Saturday. Monday, I go to the doctor and Tuesday they operate on me. Oh my God, terrible…
Elizabeth: From one day to the next…
Steve: But they told you that you need an operation, why?
Maria: …because they wanted to see what was there but they never told me that a big mistake was made in the laboratory.
Steve: They haven’t told you yet.
Maria: Nothing! It didn’t even cross my mind.
Steve: It seems kind of odd that the doctor would say that he needs to operate without giving you any reason why.
Maria: Why? They said nothing to me. Only that there was some mistake or something…they cover each other, you know?
Steve: Yeah.
Maria: So, I go to see the doctor that operated on me and he said to go see him after 7 days. I go but the doctor didn’t see him. I saw the assistant and they tell me that everything looks fine. They said that in case we call you 3 days from now, because they need like 14 days to resend samples to the laboratory to check if everything is fine…and if don’t call you then everything is fine. But if we call you come right away. They called me.
And when I went there, I never expected in my life to hear what they said to me. When I go to the doctor, he sits me down, doesn’t even prepare me…I go with my friend because she’s with me all the time, and I sit there and ask, “what happened doctor, is everything ok?” He says, “No, you have cancer,” like that.
After that, I said, “What!” My friend starts to cry and I start to cry and I ask the doctor what had happened, why do I have cancer now? They took these little samples from me like 7-8 months ago and now you say I have cancer. He says, “Yes, but I cannot tell you anything else. You have to go to a specialist now. I don’t know the name in English for cancer specialists…so they send me to another doctor. When I go to the doctor at Mercy hospital he doesn’t make an operation…again, I went with my friend because she’s married to a doctor and she knows all of these things I don’t understand. When I sit there, I asked so what do I do now? He says, “Yeah, you have cancer, you’re lucky…because they gave your test to another person so you didn’t have to suffer for 7 months.”
I said, “Doctor, you’re telling me now that I’m lucky. I have cancer and I don’t know what is happening with my leg now…I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to see a specialist, the most important specialist for my legs to find out what happened.”
After that I go to a specialist. Thank God that this doctor was good. He said they needed to do a big operation. You want to see my leg? I had to have 4 operations! Look at that, look at that…. 9 months I can’t walk.
Steve: You have a metal rod in…
Maria: I have a metal rod, yes, all this for nothing. They just made a big mistake with me. This destroyed my life because I am a very nice person. I work, I dance, I love my family… I love my grandchild who was born the same month when they did the big operation on me. I mean and after that…what I suffered at the hospital…infections, a lot of things happened to me…what happens to me now?
Steve: Elizabeth, how have you seen your mom’s life change over this period of time?
Elizabeth: Drastically. She’s always been a woman who takes very good care of herself. She goes to the doctor, checks up…and if this would have been dealt with appropriately from the beginning…
Steve: … it wouldn’t have been this bad.
Elizabeth: …we wouldn’t have had any of this happen. It would have been treated as a pre-cancerous cell usually gets treated and she would have continued living a normal life but due to this mistake by the laboratory its changed our lives completely. I mean I was pregnant 5 months when this started. My son was born and like she mentioned she had surgery a week later and it was just downhill from there. Five surgeries later she got an infection at the hospital. You know what it is to sit in a chair for nine months with one leg up. I mean we had to fly family in from Italy to help us take care of her because it was too much. Her sister took turns. The expenses have been astronomical. And the whole tradition of our family has changed. She is no longer able to be that mother who made Sunday lunches for the family anymore. She can’t go anywhere without the walker, wheelchair, or some sort of electrical device to help her.
Steve: You have to use this walker all of the time, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss most about your life before?
Maria: My life before, like my daughter said, family…I love to dance. I can’t dance anymore. I had a normal life, beautiful. I was just a happy person, many friends; we’d go out. I used to have a boyfriend but after this I said, no more. I can’t give satisfaction to a man.
Elizabeth: Her self-esteem is low.
Maria: My self-esteem is down completely.
Steve: What do you see as justice for your case?
Elizabeth: At this point, I mean…
Steve: You have huge medical bills, don’t you?
Elizabeth: …medical bills, her lifestyle has changed…
Steve: You can’t work anymore.
Maria: No, no work. I can’t, I can’t. I have a lot of debts now.
Elizabeth: Now we’re full of debt. We all have help with the light bill and the mortgage…some sort of relief…
Steve: What has been the response of Quest Diagnostics for this whole thing?
Elizabeth: Absolutely none.
Steve: …because on their website it says, ‘we really care about our patients.’ Do you believe that?
Maria: I don’t believe anything, nothing. They’re liars, big liars!
Steve: This question is for the both of you: If you had a message to send to the people who made this mistake, Quest Diagnostics, what would that message be?
Elizabeth: Get your infrastructure in order and don’t make these kinds of mistakes because you ruin lives every time you do.
Maria: Every time they make a big mistake…you can never trust no doctor and no laboratory. Try to test 3 times at the laboratory. Try 3 different times because they can make big mistakes! I’m not alone. Many people are down from the mistakes made by this laboratory. Big mistake!
Steve: I want to thank you both for being on this show. This message is going to get out and it’s our best wishes for you.
Well, when you hear it from the horse’s mouth Maria really says what she means. This is a terrible case. How are you pursuing this case? What are you doing to win this case? What’s your strategy?
Stewart: We’re trying to show how this administrative error took place. We’ve taken the deposition of the president of the local Quest lab who really had no idea how the operation even works. Now we’re trying to…the court has given us permission to film how they process over 15,000 samples a night and they’ve appealed it. So once we win that appeal we’re going to go in and show how this error had occurred.
Steve: Because once you have that information, you can…because it’s a national laboratory, they process a large amount of biopsies and all kinds of tests and there is bound to be some errors. But some of these errors can be fatal, near fatal.
Stewart: And this one could have been. This is not a mistake where the doctor misread a slide, this was a mistake where somebody took a sample and put the wrong name on it and the wrong number on it.
Steve: Now you haven’t been able to get that other incorrect biopsy. Or you have the incorrect biopsy but you don’t know who it belongs to, do you?
Stewart: No, we don’t.
Steve: And they won’t give you that information. In other words, they’re not being helpful to try and correct the mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: …which goes against their website theme which is ‘we care about our patients’ and all this other good stuff, right?
Mark: Yes, absolutely, and that’s something that we’re willing to address and that’s what we’re doing that now. We’re going to look under every stone and pursue this however we need to prove that really what happened here was really just a preventable mistake, really not a medical negligence mistake. It was an administrative error that should have never of taken place.
Steve: Just own up to it and take care of their medical bills, right?
Stewart: …and pay her for her lost wages.
Steve: …because she can’t work.
Stewart: …and her pain and suffering. You could see that she’s going back to doctors every six months. She’s got a fear of this sarcoma spreading and killing her. Her whole life has changed. She needs modifications done to her home. She can’t get up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub is a chore. There are many things that need to be changed in her life and her home as a result of this.
Steve: You know in the medical industry there are misdiagnosis all of the time. How do they normally occur?
Mark: There can be several causes. Usually it’s plain and simple carelessness. The vast majority of medical mistakes that we’ve encountered in our personal practice and our professional practice are just very preventable types of things: not reviewing patient histories, not reading labs correctly, simple mistakes that really unfortunately can have tragic effects on their patients, our clients.
Steve: Well, thank God you’re representing Maria and I want to thank both of you for being on the program today. You’re doing a terrific job.
Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Lawyers explain young client's Diffuse Axonal Injuries - Miami Highway Crashes- PT.2

Title: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michelle Cardenas Story

Steve Murphy: On September 27, 2007 at 4 in the afternoon, 27 year old Michelle Cardenas, a popular middle school teacher was driving home in her Honda Civic on a four lane rural major highway entering Hialeah, fl. Parked on the right shoulder was an 18-wheeler truck driven by Rigoberto Machado hauling a load of plants from South Miami to various Walmarts. Machado, without warning, illegaly did the unbelievable. He pulled a U-Turn across the divided, double-lane highway causing Michelle’s car to unavoidably smash into the undercarriage of his 18-wheeler ripping the entire car’s roof off its hinges. Today, the Insider Exclusive presents the true story of the miraculous courage of Michelle Cardenas and how her lawyers Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone got justice for Michelle by clearly proving the discrepancies in the truck driver’s testimony and by demonstrating the correct and safe driving procedures for turning 18-wheelers around. Its earned them the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike as one of the best plaintiff trial lawyers in Florida and in the nation. They have seen many innocent, hardworking people suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help those who have been harmed by the negligent actions of others. Their goal: not only to get justice for Michelle but to make America’s highways safer and trucking companies and their insurance companies much more accountable.

Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider’s Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE OF VIDEO: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michele Cardenas Story
Steve Murphy:
It is my great privilege to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg/ Mark Stone: Thank you Steve.
Steve Murphy: Tell us a little bit about your firm.
Stewart: Our firm handles catastrophic, personal injury claims where people have either been injured or have lost a loved one through the negligence of another whether it be a trucking accident, whether it be a medical malpractice case, an airplane disaster, a motorcycle accident, car crash, cruise accident, things of that nature.
Steven Murphy: Basically, little guy against big guy, right...the David and Goliath kind of cases. Now, today we’re going to be talking about a rather horrific case; an 18-wheeler case with Michelle Cardenas. Tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: This is a tragedy. We represent a very young lady in her mid-twenties who was a school teacher on her way home from school on a Friday afternoon, minding her own business, doing nothing wrong, when an 18-wheeler decided to make U-turn across a 4-lane divided highway and her car went underneath the back of the trailer, came out the other side with its top ripped off. She was airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Ryder Trauma Center…
Steven Murphy: She was knocked out in that accident.
Stewart: She was unconscious and she had a glass glaucoma scale of 7. Which 15 is normal. 7’s survivability is probably under 20%-25%.
Steve Murphy: Explain to our audience what that means.
Stewart: The paramedics and doctors have certain tests they do on someone in the field and in the hospital to see about how alert they are neurologically and a 7 is a very low score on that scale and as a result she’s got permanent brain damage.
Steve: What has been the result of pursuing this case?
Mark: Well, in terms of the results of the client, fortunately we were able to reach a settlement on her behalf which should enable Michelle to get a great deal of her life back. Unfortunately, she has a diffuse axonal injury which is an injury to the axons which is structures, microscopic structures, between the gray and the white matter. Once their ripped or torn they don’t repair themselves. So, we feel fortunate that we were able to get her a sum of money which is going to allow her to regain some normalcy in her life.
Steve Murphy: Right. As a result of this accident she can no longer teach.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve Murphy: Will she have the capability of teaching?
Stewart: She probably, according to our experts, is really unemployable. She can only handle very menial tasks, right now, she helps out with the family business but her ability to stay focused…her executive functions have severely been compromised.
Steve: We have with us today both her, as well as her dad, in the studio and I’d like to bring out her dad first so we can talk a little bit about the challenges that they as a family face and her. So, let’s do that right now.
Steve: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Gabriel Cardenas, the father of Michelle. Welcome to the show.
Gabriel Cardenas: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day, when you first heard that your daughter was involved in this horrible accident and had been airlifted to the hospital. What were your thoughts as a father?
Gabriel: It was very painful because in this case we did not know what had happened. The hospital could not reach us until about 10 o’clock at night and the phone rang in the neighbor’s house; he came over to our house and knocked on the door really loud, like in a panic. We did not know what had happened or if something was wrong with him. As it turned out, he just said that Jackson Hospital had called and that Michelle was there and we needed to go there immediately because Michelle was involved in an accident but they won’t tell you anymore on the phone or anything. So when we went into the Emergency, actually it wasn’t the Emergency, it was the Life Resuscitation area where she was. We saw her there all strapped with all kinds of wires. It was very painful. She was in a coma, completely. She was gone several times. But we were lucky that she came out of it little by little. That was the beginning…
Steve: How long did it take so that she was kind of conscious?
Gabriel: No, it took several days before she was conscious. And even then she seemed to be conscious but she didn’t remember anything in the hospital which was like 3 ½ weeks but she was in this resuscitation area for close to 36 hours I believe
Steve: When you say she didn’t remember anything in the hospital what are the things she didn’t remember?
Gabriel: Nothing. It’s hard for her to remember…
Steve: Did she remember who she was?
Gabriel: Well, when she was in the hospital they would ask her the requirements necessary so that she could be moved out of the resuscitation area into emergency then into the brain injury wing, was that she had to respond to her name: What’s your name? Also, to try to remember what day it was. It took her like 3 days before she could guess what day it was, where she was. Of course, she was sleeping or knocked out for the first few hours.
Steve: As a father, not being able to do anything it must be very painful, excruciatingly painful.
Gabriel: It’s very, very difficult to go through that pain. You see your dream, your daughter there… very difficult…that some nut went around and did some stupid thing, carelessly, and has ruined her life. And you sit there and you can’t do anything about it. You know and these people didn’t call to see how she was. Never! Not in the hospital or at home, during these 3 years. Never! How’s Michelle? Never! Very sad…
Steve: Stewart was the extent of her brain injuries?
Stewart: The doctors consider them moderate to severe and Michelle has been remarkable. She’s worked very, very hard with her Mom, with her dad, with her sister, and with her brother to get back as much function as possible. But she’ll never be the same, unfortunately. This has changed her life forever.
Steve: She was a middle school teacher.
Gabriel: Yes, she was a specialist in literature, English Literature.
Steve: She loves literature. I was talking to her before the show and she was saying her favorite author was Virginia Wolfe.
Gabriel: She loves writing poems.
Steve: Now she cannot teach anymore but she works with your family business?
Gabriel: Well, she helps a little bit…she doesn’t really work a lot because she still has a lot of problems due to her brain injury. One of the problems she has is short-term memory loss. So, she’ll forget things that happened yesterday or things that happened a few hours ago. She’ll keep asking me how to do something that she’d do every day.
Steve: Is she able to go places by herself?
Gabriel: Right now, we drive her around ourselves. We don’t want to her to drive yet. She can function partially well. The main thing is some of the problems she has with her brain is she has problems with concentration. It’s hard for her to concentrate.
Steve: We have her with us in the studio and we’re going to bring her on right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Michelle. Welcome to the show, Michelle.
Michelle: Thank you.
Steve: What an ordeal. Your dad was talking about how he felt as a father. I could understand perfectly what he was saying. Take us back to that day, the day of the accident. Do you remember anything about it?
Michelle: Absolutely nothing.
Steve: Nothing. You don’t even remember approaching the truck or anything?
Michelle: No.
Steve: And what are your first remembrances as you were in the hospital.
Michelle: I was in the hospital for about a month and I only slightly remember about the last two days and that’s very, very vague.
Steve: Did you know why you were in the hospital?
Michelle: From what they told me that I was in an accident. Only from what people were telling me, I don’t remember anything that happened.
Steve: Now that you realize what had happened to you, what do you understand about what happened to you as a result of this accident?
Michelle: As the result of this accident I have brain trauma.
Steve: And what does that mean exactly to you?
Michelle: What do you mean, exactly?
Steve: I mean how has it affected you?
Michelle: In so many ways, I mean I don’t even know where to begin.
Steve: Okay, you were a middle school teacher before, in literature, right?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: I think some of your kids sent you cards like this one. You want to hold this up for the camera. It reads “We miss you, Ms. C,” is that right?
Michelle: Yeah.
Steve: You remember teaching?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss about it?
Michelle: That’s like when they told me that I couldn’t teach…that was the worst thing they could have told me, ever. That was just the worst thing ever. It wasn’t necessarily what I had gone to school for. I had gotten a degree in English Literature. The first job that was offered to me was this teaching job. I was in the process of getting certified but it was definitely my vocation. I loved it and when they told me that it was something I couldn’t do because of the brain trauma that was something that really struck me. It was horrible, horrible.
Steve: What was the best thing you liked about teaching?
Michelle: It was just being able to reaching young minds.
Steve: Open them up to good literature…
Michelle: Exactly, yes, and I guess because I am so young I had a connection with them and they were able to learn in different ways. Just the fact that I can’t do that now is just the worst.
Steve: Do you sometimes think that maybe in the future you might be able to do this?
Michelle: I hope so. There are a lot of people that defy…
Steve: Right, you are a miracle, aren’t you?
Michelle: Right.
Steve: I think your dad was saying it’s truly amazing what happened. We’ve seen the pictures and our audience have too of what happened to your car and the roof… was gone, totally gone.
Gabriel: Yes.
Steve: Your lawyers recently settled the case. What’s your opinion of your lawyers?
Michelle: The best!
Steve: Yeah, you know because no one wants to take responsibility here, do they? The trucking company, like you said, hasn’t called in 3 years. I watched the deposition of the truck driver and at one time he broke down and I couldn’t figure out if it was because he had lost his job or because he caused this accident, you know?
Gabriel: He was very unconcerned.
Steve: You look like you’re thinking. What are you thinking about?
Michelle: Oh, I was just thinking about this man who had totally changed my life and he never even once thought...
Steve: Rigoberto Machado. Never thought at all… did you watch those depositions?
Michelle: No, but I was there, for my depositions I mean. Like at the mediation, he was there, and…
Gabriel: We spare her the pain of watching some of this. Even the car pictures; she hasn’t seen those, at all.
Michelle: No, thank God.
Gabriel: We’ve kept them away from her and the lawyers have them.
Steve: Well, you are an amazing individual. I’m glad you were able to spend some time with us today. You inspire other people, no matter what happens to them they know they’ll always have a shot. And I want to thank you very much for spending your time with us.
They’re amazing clients, aren’t they?
Stewart: They are.
Steve: She is an amazing individual and I can understand that she inspired you to win this case. Tell us how you won the case.
Stewart: We won it with a lot of hardwork. We really won it because of her. We won it by getting the best experts, by doing animations, by interviewing witnesses, and by forensically showing how this accident happened.
Steve: Now, the key person in this was the truck driver on the defense’s side and fortunately you did a lot of video depositions. We’re going to show a few of them. For example, he admits that he made an illegal turn.
Stewart: What does it say about making right turns from the right shoulder or making U-turns from the right shoulder of the road?
Rigoberto Machado(Translator): Well, that’s illegal.
Stewart: So, the move that you were making was illegal.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): It can be done but you shouldn’t do it.
Steve: Also, I was amazed when you asked him in this deposition whose fault it was and he said what?
Stewart: He blamed my client. He blamed Michelle.
Steve: And we have a certain segment of that and we’ll show that right now.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): I myself don’t consider myself to be at fault for this accident.
Stewart: Who do you consider to be the cause for this accident?
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): The girl who crashed.
Steve: They’re position from the beginning was that it was her fault. Wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: How did they figure that? Was that just their position because they didn’t want to pay or what was the rationale?
Mark: Well, Steve, yeah I think they didn’t want to pay but ultimately I think what it came down to was that she was so badly injured that she had no recollection of the accident. And I think at the end of the day they wanted to use that against her. In other words, she wasn’t able to explain what she did to avoid the accident and that’s what they were going to try to rely on and fortunately it didn’t work.
Steve: Now this case was settled.
Stewart: Correct, on the eve of trial.
Steve: On the eve of trial. And how long had the preparation been from the date you got the case to the date of trial?
Stewart: It was exactly 3 years from the date of the accident. We didn’t get the case for a month. The parents were too concerned about their daughter than to even hire a lawyer. We had two trial dates previously and at the last moment the defense got emergency continuances. So we would have been ready to go 18 months after the accident but we were put off that long.
Steve: Now, that seems a little unfair to your client where they get continuances that extend it, 18 months?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: Well, why does the judge go along with that program?
Mark: Well, unfortunately, it’s delay, delay, delay.
Steve: But how many times can they delay it? You’re smiling…
Stewart: As many as they can, as often as they can.
Steve: Doesn’t a judge step up or something and say you know something, this is too many delays?
Stewart: Well, understand that judges have over a thousand cases. They have just with the foreclosure crisis in Miami-Dade County some 6,000 cases. Their calendars are booked and we try to fight for trial dates, actually. In this case, we claimed we had a 3-week trial with a lot of witnesses and we needed to go.
Steve: So, the foreclosure crisis is causing a crisis for getting other cases heard.
Mark: Sure, it’s just caused an influx of cases of litigation into the court system.
Steve: The insurance companies know that…
Mark: Sure, and they use that to delay and put off settlements.
Steve: Now you said it was settled on the eve of trial. Tell us that day what happened.
Stewart: I got a call from an adjustor Friday afternoon and basically we spoke all weekend long and on Sunday we finally resolved the case.
Steve: They came back with an initial lowball offer.
Stewart: They lowballed this case literally till 11:59pm.
Steve: On Sunday evening.
Stewart: On Sunday evening.
Mark: It was the day before trial.
Steve: And on 11:59pm you were talking to the lawyers on the other side.
Stewart: Just about, yeah.
Steve: Okay, now, words have been exchanged on the telephone, how do you know the next morning you’re going to wake up and they’re going to recall the conversation or they’re going to disclaim they never said it. When do you get things in writing?
Stewart: We went in front of the judge the next morning and went on the record and asked for the settlement, how much, and the terms of the settlement.
Steve: And this is a confidential settlement.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: And so the judge gives you how long to draw it up so our audience understands…
Stewart: We drew it up that day.
Steve: And part of the settlement is that they have to pay within a certain period of time.
Stewart: Correct. That’s part of terms of the settlement agreement.
Steve: And obviously they paid.
Stewart: They paid and our client has been funded.
Steve: But there are people who write up settlements that don’t pay within that period of time.
Stewart: We’ve had it this year. We’ve had to go to court a number of times to enforce settlements where we get attorney fees, costs and interest, for making them pass.
Steve: Yeah, well you guys did an outstanding job and I’m glad you did because Michelle’s a great person so is her dad. And thank you very much for being on the program.
Stewart: Thank you for having us.
Mark: Nice to be here.
Steve: Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Miami Personal Injury Lawyers explain how medical misdiagnosis cases occur? Lab Mistakes-Pt.7

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Mark Twain once said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure…” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the American Medical Association know how to make figures lie by falsely promoting untrue facts:
ON-SCREEN TEXT: “Skyrocketing Health Care and Related Malpractice lawsuits increase insurance premiums.”
“Doctors are abandoning their practices.”
“Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine.”
“Too many frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries.”
Steve Murphy (Voiceover): But the AMA’s own award-winning Journal of the American Medical Association published an article with the real story, the real facts on healthcare related and medical malpractice lawsuits and they’re shocking:
“106,000 patients die each year from the negative effects of medication.”
“Another 80,000 patients die each year due to complications from infections incurred in hospitals.”
“20,000 deaths per year occur from Lab Misdiagnosis mistakes and other hospital errors.”
“12,000 people die each year as a result of unnecessary surgery.”
“7,000 medical malpractice deaths per year are attributed to medication errors in hospitals.”
That’s, “225,000 deaths each year… due to medical negligence of some nature and Healthcare Related Mistakes,” and the number is growing.
Today, the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to examine how one well-known, national laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, made a near fatal mistake by mixing up a biopsy sample with that of another patient. That major mistake caused an 8-month delay in receiving life-saving treatment for Maria Rapio for a deadly cancer, a high grade sarcoma, which is a malignant and aggressive tumor. The lab’s inexcusable error changed the once vibrant, active Maria forever. During that critical 8-month delay her infection spread to the bone so the doctor had to put in a metal rod in her leg. She suffered from an infection from this procedure and was hospitalized for over a month. Now her leg has been left severely deformed and she has to constantly go for check-ups to make sure her tumor has not spread. Had the correct diagnosis originally been given she would have saved these precious 8 months which for this type of tumor, could be life altering.
Today the Insider Exclusive shows how Maria’s lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone, are getting justice for Maria. They have seen many patients suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help people who have been harmed by incompetent and negligent healthcare professionals. Their goal: not only to get justice for Maria but to make medicine safer and more accountable just like Quest Diagnostics publicly state on their website “Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our corporate philosophy…we strive to do the right thing when it comes to caring for our patients.”
Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE: The Insider Exclusive presents- Quest Diagnostics: DEADLY Errors
Steve Murphy: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg: Thank you, Steve.
Mark Stone: Nice to see you.
Steve: Tell us a little bit about your firm. What type of practices does your firm get involved in?
Stewart: We handle cases of people who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones from the negligence of others.
Steve: …like catastrophic cases and this sort of thing?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: You have 6 offices in Florida, don’t you? Where are they?
Stewart: We have offices in south Florida, central Florida, and in the panhandle.
Steve: I always ask this of every lawyer that we have on the show…why did you become a lawyer, Mark?
Mark: I became a lawyer… my father was a judge, and was one of the youngest judges appointed by the governor at that time to become a juvenile court judge. So, he made his mark in the law and I had an older brother who went to law school and I thought that would be something that would be challenging and rewarding.
Steve: How about you Stewart?
Stewart: I like working with people and in our practice we get to spend a lot of time with our clients over many years…and over 31 years we still have relationships.
Steve: The case we’re going to discuss today is kind of an unusual case because it’s a misdiagnosis case not necessarily by a doctor or a hospital but by a lab.
Stewart: Correct, a national lab…
Steve: Can you tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: Sure. We represent a lovely 60 year-old lady who you’ll get to meet and she had a small little bump on her leg. She went to the doctor and the doctor decided to excise it, to remove it…sent it out to Quest Laboratories locally here in South Florida. It came back that it was fine. That was in October in 2007. In May of 2008, she was called by the doctor and told, ‘listen, the lab thinks they made a mistake and they mixed up your specimen with someone else’s and they had to take another sample from her leg and she came back having a very, very aggressive form of sarcoma, cancer.
Steve: How would they have known that they had misplaced, or mixed it up?
Stewart: It’s interesting you asked that. We’re trying to find that out now through discovery. Probably, what happened was the other patient who was told she had cancer was eventually rechecked where they found no cancer. We don’t know who that patient is. We don’t know if she understands the whole mix-up or not.
Steve: You don’t know because they won’t tell you?
Stewart: They won’t tell us. That’s correct.
Steve: It would seem to me that they would want to clear this up, right?
Stewart: Well, it would seem to anybody that they would want to clear it up. What they’re trying to do is hide the ball.
Steve: Yeah, they’re trying to hide their mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: So she had another biopsy done and what happened?
Stewart: As a result of that, unfortunately, she had to get major surgery in her leg where they actually inserted a steel rod in her leg because of the extent of the injuries from the cancer. That became infected then she later spent a month in the hospital and she has a resulting, horrible scar. She’s in pain. She’s at risk for cancer for the rest of her life where she wouldn’t have been otherwise. She can’t work any longer so she’s really incapacitated. She uses a walker.
Steve: The 8 months where she thought she didn’t have a cancer in her leg, her leg was gradually getting worse, wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes it was.
Steve: …and as a result of this delay of 8 months, what is the damage that is done to her?
Stewart: Had this been removed properly and diagnosed properly then she probably would have never needed the insertion of the steel rod. She would have never had the infection. Her risk of future cancer would have been much, much, much lower. And she would probably be back at work and being a grandma and a mom and enjoying life.
Steve: Mark, tell us a little bit about Maria. What kind of women was she prior to this horrible incident?
Mark: Maria was, and still is, a very unique woman. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s got a zest for life that really is uncommon. I don’t see that in a lot of people. She’s self-made. She’s a beautician. She runs her own business. She is a successful person. Unfortunately, this injury which was completely preventable has taken just a tremendous toll on her life from a physical toll to an emotional standpoint. She was a woman who would go out, she would socialize…she loved life. That has been literally ripped away from her at this point.
Steve: I understand Stewart that she raised four kids.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: Basically, by herself. Is that correct?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: She originally came from Italy. As a result of this she can’t work now, can’t she?
Stewart: She can’t work and she really has trouble taking care of herself. She needs help.
Steve: Let’s bring on Maria and her daughter right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Maria and Elizabeth to the show. Welcome to the show.
Maria/Elizabeth: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day Maria when you learned…well, when you initially discovered there was a bump on your leg. You went to your dermatologist, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...and your dermatologist took a biopsy, correct?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...sent it to the lab.
Maria: Yes.
Steve: The results came back soon thereafter.
Maria: …everything is good…everything is fine…no problem.
Steve: …but, then what happened?
Maria: What happened was that still after that it was still growing. So, I go to my doctor and he says not to worry about it- that everything is fine. Okay, I don’t worry. So, after 7 months they call me saying it’s urgent…
Steve: Had your leg been looking worse and worse?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: Had you been not able to walk as much?
Maria: No, no, yes I could walk. The doctor says everything’s fine…it’s just some pimple there that will go away. So when they call me, saying it was an emergency, to see the doctor, I go. He tells me, ‘…listen, we have to do another biopsy…’
Steve: Here’s my question: Why did they call you in if they didn’t know anything at that time?
Maria: …because the laboratory told them that they had made a mistake. After that, everything became like a dream. I go Saturday to see the doctor where they draw out my blood. After, they send me to the specialist for the legs and then the doctor took a…radiografia?
Elizabeth: X-ray.
Maria: And they said that tomorrow I have to go to the hospital because we have to open and see what happened there…I never expected what would happen to me!
Steve: Did you ask the doctors what was going on?
Maria: Yes! They said don’t worry, looks good.
Steve: Did you go with her?
Maria: No, go with my friend, a very good friend. So, that happened Saturday. Monday, I go to the doctor and Tuesday they operate on me. Oh my God, terrible…
Elizabeth: From one day to the next…
Steve: But they told you that you need an operation, why?
Maria: …because they wanted to see what was there but they never told me that a big mistake was made in the laboratory.
Steve: They haven’t told you yet.
Maria: Nothing! It didn’t even cross my mind.
Steve: It seems kind of odd that the doctor would say that he needs to operate without giving you any reason why.
Maria: Why? They said nothing to me. Only that there was some mistake or something…they cover each other, you know?
Steve: Yeah.
Maria: So, I go to see the doctor that operated on me and he said to go see him after 7 days. I go but the doctor didn’t see him. I saw the assistant and they tell me that everything looks fine. They said that in case we call you 3 days from now, because they need like 14 days to resend samples to the laboratory to check if everything is fine…and if don’t call you then everything is fine. But if we call you come right away. They called me.
And when I went there, I never expected in my life to hear what they said to me. When I go to the doctor, he sits me down, doesn’t even prepare me…I go with my friend because she’s with me all the time, and I sit there and ask, “what happened doctor, is everything ok?” He says, “No, you have cancer,” like that.
After that, I said, “What!” My friend starts to cry and I start to cry and I ask the doctor what had happened, why do I have cancer now? They took these little samples from me like 7-8 months ago and now you say I have cancer. He says, “Yes, but I cannot tell you anything else. You have to go to a specialist now. I don’t know the name in English for cancer specialists…so they send me to another doctor. When I go to the doctor at Mercy hospital he doesn’t make an operation…again, I went with my friend because she’s married to a doctor and she knows all of these things I don’t understand. When I sit there, I asked so what do I do now? He says, “Yeah, you have cancer, you’re lucky…because they gave your test to another person so you didn’t have to suffer for 7 months.”
I said, “Doctor, you’re telling me now that I’m lucky. I have cancer and I don’t know what is happening with my leg now…I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to see a specialist, the most important specialist for my legs to find out what happened.”
After that I go to a specialist. Thank God that this doctor was good. He said they needed to do a big operation. You want to see my leg? I had to have 4 operations! Look at that, look at that…. 9 months I can’t walk.
Steve: You have a metal rod in…
Maria: I have a metal rod, yes, all this for nothing. They just made a big mistake with me. This destroyed my life because I am a very nice person. I work, I dance, I love my family… I love my grandchild who was born the same month when they did the big operation on me. I mean and after that…what I suffered at the hospital…infections, a lot of things happened to me…what happens to me now?
Steve: Elizabeth, how have you seen your mom’s life change over this period of time?
Elizabeth: Drastically. She’s always been a woman who takes very good care of herself. She goes to the doctor, checks up…and if this would have been dealt with appropriately from the beginning…
Steve: … it wouldn’t have been this bad.
Elizabeth: …we wouldn’t have had any of this happen. It would have been treated as a pre-cancerous cell usually gets treated and she would have continued living a normal life but due to this mistake by the laboratory its changed our lives completely. I mean I was pregnant 5 months when this started. My son was born and like she mentioned she had surgery a week later and it was just downhill from there. Five surgeries later she got an infection at the hospital. You know what it is to sit in a chair for nine months with one leg up. I mean we had to fly family in from Italy to help us take care of her because it was too much. Her sister took turns. The expenses have been astronomical. And the whole tradition of our family has changed. She is no longer able to be that mother who made Sunday lunches for the family anymore. She can’t go anywhere without the walker, wheelchair, or some sort of electrical device to help her.
Steve: You have to use this walker all of the time, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss most about your life before?
Maria: My life before, like my daughter said, family…I love to dance. I can’t dance anymore. I had a normal life, beautiful. I was just a happy person, many friends; we’d go out. I used to have a boyfriend but after this I said, no more. I can’t give satisfaction to a man.
Elizabeth: Her self-esteem is low.
Maria: My self-esteem is down completely.
Steve: What do you see as justice for your case?
Elizabeth: At this point, I mean…
Steve: You have huge medical bills, don’t you?
Elizabeth: …medical bills, her lifestyle has changed…
Steve: You can’t work anymore.
Maria: No, no work. I can’t, I can’t. I have a lot of debts now.
Elizabeth: Now we’re full of debt. We all have help with the light bill and the mortgage…some sort of relief…
Steve: What has been the response of Quest Diagnostics for this whole thing?
Elizabeth: Absolutely none.
Steve: …because on their website it says, ‘we really care about our patients.’ Do you believe that?
Maria: I don’t believe anything, nothing. They’re liars, big liars!
Steve: This question is for the both of you: If you had a message to send to the people who made this mistake, Quest Diagnostics, what would that message be?
Elizabeth: Get your infrastructure in order and don’t make these kinds of mistakes because you ruin lives every time you do.
Maria: Every time they make a big mistake…you can never trust no doctor and no laboratory. Try to test 3 times at the laboratory. Try 3 different times because they can make big mistakes! I’m not alone. Many people are down from the mistakes made by this laboratory. Big mistake!
Steve: I want to thank you both for being on this show. This message is going to get out and it’s our best wishes for you.
Well, when you hear it from the horse’s mouth Maria really says what she means. This is a terrible case. How are you pursuing this case? What are you doing to win this case? What’s your strategy?
Stewart: We’re trying to show how this administrative error took place. We’ve taken the deposition of the president of the local Quest lab who really had no idea how the operation even works. Now we’re trying to…the court has given us permission to film how they process over 15,000 samples a night and they’ve appealed it. So once we win that appeal we’re going to go in and show how this error had occurred.
Steve: Because once you have that information, you can…because it’s a national laboratory, they process a large amount of biopsies and all kinds of tests and there is bound to be some errors. But some of these errors can be fatal, near fatal.
Stewart: And this one could have been. This is not a mistake where the doctor misread a slide, this was a mistake where somebody took a sample and put the wrong name on it and the wrong number on it.
Steve: Now you haven’t been able to get that other incorrect biopsy. Or you have the incorrect biopsy but you don’t know who it belongs to, do you?
Stewart: No, we don’t.
Steve: And they won’t give you that information. In other words, they’re not being helpful to try and correct the mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: …which goes against their website theme which is ‘we care about our patients’ and all this other good stuff, right?
Mark: Yes, absolutely, and that’s something that we’re willing to address and that’s what we’re doing that now. We’re going to look under every stone and pursue this however we need to prove that really what happened here was really just a preventable mistake, really not a medical negligence mistake. It was an administrative error that should have never of taken place.
Steve: Just own up to it and take care of their medical bills, right?
Stewart: …and pay her for her lost wages.
Steve: …because she can’t work.
Stewart: …and her pain and suffering. You could see that she’s going back to doctors every six months. She’s got a fear of this sarcoma spreading and killing her. Her whole life has changed. She needs modifications done to her home. She can’t get up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub is a chore. There are many things that need to be changed in her life and her home as a result of this.
Steve: You know in the medical industry there are misdiagnosis all of the time. How do they normally occur?
Mark: There can be several causes. Usually it’s plain and simple carelessness. The vast majority of medical mistakes that we’ve encountered in our personal practice and our professional practice are just very preventable types of things: not reviewing patient histories, not reading labs correctly, simple mistakes that really unfortunately can have tragic effects on their patients, our clients.
Steve: Well, thank God you’re representing Maria and I want to thank both of you for being on the program today. You’re doing a terrific job.
Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Mixed Lab Results allow Cancer cells to spread unnoticed. Lab Mistakes-Pt.3

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Mark Twain once said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure…” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the American Medical Association know how to make figures lie by falsely promoting untrue facts:
ON-SCREEN TEXT: “Skyrocketing Health Care and Related Malpractice lawsuits increase insurance premiums.”
“Doctors are abandoning their practices.”
“Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine.”
“Too many frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries.”
Steve Murphy (Voiceover): But the AMA’s own award-winning Journal of the American Medical Association published an article with the real story, the real facts on healthcare related and medical malpractice lawsuits and they’re shocking:
“106,000 patients die each year from the negative effects of medication.”
“Another 80,000 patients die each year due to complications from infections incurred in hospitals.”
“20,000 deaths per year occur from Lab Misdiagnosis mistakes and other hospital errors.”
“12,000 people die each year as a result of unnecessary surgery.”
“7,000 medical malpractice deaths per year are attributed to medication errors in hospitals.”
That’s, “225,000 deaths each year… due to medical negligence of some nature and Healthcare Related Mistakes,” and the number is growing.
Today, the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to examine how one well-known, national laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, made a near fatal mistake by mixing up a biopsy sample with that of another patient. That major mistake caused an 8-month delay in receiving life-saving treatment for Maria Rapio for a deadly cancer, a high grade sarcoma, which is a malignant and aggressive tumor. The lab’s inexcusable error changed the once vibrant, active Maria forever. During that critical 8-month delay her infection spread to the bone so the doctor had to put in a metal rod in her leg. She suffered from an infection from this procedure and was hospitalized for over a month. Now her leg has been left severely deformed and she has to constantly go for check-ups to make sure her tumor has not spread. Had the correct diagnosis originally been given she would have saved these precious 8 months which for this type of tumor, could be life altering.
Today the Insider Exclusive shows how Maria’s lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone, are getting justice for Maria. They have seen many patients suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help people who have been harmed by incompetent and negligent healthcare professionals. Their goal: not only to get justice for Maria but to make medicine safer and more accountable just like Quest Diagnostics publicly state on their website “Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our corporate philosophy…we strive to do the right thing when it comes to caring for our patients.”
Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE: The Insider Exclusive presents- Quest Diagnostics: DEADLY Errors
Steve Murphy: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg: Thank you, Steve.
Mark Stone: Nice to see you.
Steve: Tell us a little bit about your firm. What type of practices does your firm get involved in?
Stewart: We handle cases of people who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones from the negligence of others.
Steve: …like catastrophic cases and this sort of thing?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: You have 6 offices in Florida, don’t you? Where are they?
Stewart: We have offices in south Florida, central Florida, and in the panhandle.
Steve: I always ask this of every lawyer that we have on the show…why did you become a lawyer, Mark?
Mark: I became a lawyer… my father was a judge, and was one of the youngest judges appointed by the governor at that time to become a juvenile court judge. So, he made his mark in the law and I had an older brother who went to law school and I thought that would be something that would be challenging and rewarding.
Steve: How about you Stewart?
Stewart: I like working with people and in our practice we get to spend a lot of time with our clients over many years…and over 31 years we still have relationships.
Steve: The case we’re going to discuss today is kind of an unusual case because it’s a misdiagnosis case not necessarily by a doctor or a hospital but by a lab.
Stewart: Correct, a national lab…
Steve: Can you tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: Sure. We represent a lovely 60 year-old lady who you’ll get to meet and she had a small little bump on her leg. She went to the doctor and the doctor decided to excise it, to remove it…sent it out to Quest Laboratories locally here in South Florida. It came back that it was fine. That was in October in 2007. In May of 2008, she was called by the doctor and told, ‘listen, the lab thinks they made a mistake and they mixed up your specimen with someone else’s and they had to take another sample from her leg and she came back having a very, very aggressive form of sarcoma, cancer.
Steve: How would they have known that they had misplaced, or mixed it up?
Stewart: It’s interesting you asked that. We’re trying to find that out now through discovery. Probably, what happened was the other patient who was told she had cancer was eventually rechecked where they found no cancer. We don’t know who that patient is. We don’t know if she understands the whole mix-up or not.
Steve: You don’t know because they won’t tell you?
Stewart: They won’t tell us. That’s correct.
Steve: It would seem to me that they would want to clear this up, right?
Stewart: Well, it would seem to anybody that they would want to clear it up. What they’re trying to do is hide the ball.
Steve: Yeah, they’re trying to hide their mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: So she had another biopsy done and what happened?
Stewart: As a result of that, unfortunately, she had to get major surgery in her leg where they actually inserted a steel rod in her leg because of the extent of the injuries from the cancer. That became infected then she later spent a month in the hospital and she has a resulting, horrible scar. She’s in pain. She’s at risk for cancer for the rest of her life where she wouldn’t have been otherwise. She can’t work any longer so she’s really incapacitated. She uses a walker.
Steve: The 8 months where she thought she didn’t have a cancer in her leg, her leg was gradually getting worse, wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes it was.
Steve: …and as a result of this delay of 8 months, what is the damage that is done to her?
Stewart: Had this been removed properly and diagnosed properly then she probably would have never needed the insertion of the steel rod. She would have never had the infection. Her risk of future cancer would have been much, much, much lower. And she would probably be back at work and being a grandma and a mom and enjoying life.
Steve: Mark, tell us a little bit about Maria. What kind of women was she prior to this horrible incident?
Mark: Maria was, and still is, a very unique woman. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s got a zest for life that really is uncommon. I don’t see that in a lot of people. She’s self-made. She’s a beautician. She runs her own business. She is a successful person. Unfortunately, this injury which was completely preventable has taken just a tremendous toll on her life from a physical toll to an emotional standpoint. She was a woman who would go out, she would socialize…she loved life. That has been literally ripped away from her at this point.
Steve: I understand Stewart that she raised four kids.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: Basically, by herself. Is that correct?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: She originally came from Italy. As a result of this she can’t work now, can’t she?
Stewart: She can’t work and she really has trouble taking care of herself. She needs help.
Steve: Let’s bring on Maria and her daughter right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Maria and Elizabeth to the show. Welcome to the show.
Maria/Elizabeth: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day Maria when you learned…well, when you initially discovered there was a bump on your leg. You went to your dermatologist, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...and your dermatologist took a biopsy, correct?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...sent it to the lab.
Maria: Yes.
Steve: The results came back soon thereafter.
Maria: …everything is good…everything is fine…no problem.
Steve: …but, then what happened?
Maria: What happened was that still after that it was still growing. So, I go to my doctor and he says not to worry about it- that everything is fine. Okay, I don’t worry. So, after 7 months they call me saying it’s urgent…
Steve: Had your leg been looking worse and worse?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: Had you been not able to walk as much?
Maria: No, no, yes I could walk. The doctor says everything’s fine…it’s just some pimple there that will go away. So when they call me, saying it was an emergency, to see the doctor, I go. He tells me, ‘…listen, we have to do another biopsy…’
Steve: Here’s my question: Why did they call you in if they didn’t know anything at that time?
Maria: …because the laboratory told them that they had made a mistake. After that, everything became like a dream. I go Saturday to see the doctor where they draw out my blood. After, they send me to the specialist for the legs and then the doctor took a…radiografia?
Elizabeth: X-ray.
Maria: And they said that tomorrow I have to go to the hospital because we have to open and see what happened there…I never expected what would happen to me!
Steve: Did you ask the doctors what was going on?
Maria: Yes! They said don’t worry, looks good.
Steve: Did you go with her?
Maria: No, go with my friend, a very good friend. So, that happened Saturday. Monday, I go to the doctor and Tuesday they operate on me. Oh my God, terrible…
Elizabeth: From one day to the next…
Steve: But they told you that you need an operation, why?
Maria: …because they wanted to see what was there but they never told me that a big mistake was made in the laboratory.
Steve: They haven’t told you yet.
Maria: Nothing! It didn’t even cross my mind.
Steve: It seems kind of odd that the doctor would say that he needs to operate without giving you any reason why.
Maria: Why? They said nothing to me. Only that there was some mistake or something…they cover each other, you know?
Steve: Yeah.
Maria: So, I go to see the doctor that operated on me and he said to go see him after 7 days. I go but the doctor didn’t see him. I saw the assistant and they tell me that everything looks fine. They said that in case we call you 3 days from now, because they need like 14 days to resend samples to the laboratory to check if everything is fine…and if don’t call you then everything is fine. But if we call you come right away. They called me.
And when I went there, I never expected in my life to hear what they said to me. When I go to the doctor, he sits me down, doesn’t even prepare me…I go with my friend because she’s with me all the time, and I sit there and ask, “what happened doctor, is everything ok?” He says, “No, you have cancer,” like that.
After that, I said, “What!” My friend starts to cry and I start to cry and I ask the doctor what had happened, why do I have cancer now? They took these little samples from me like 7-8 months ago and now you say I have cancer. He says, “Yes, but I cannot tell you anything else. You have to go to a specialist now. I don’t know the name in English for cancer specialists…so they send me to another doctor. When I go to the doctor at Mercy hospital he doesn’t make an operation…again, I went with my friend because she’s married to a doctor and she knows all of these things I don’t understand. When I sit there, I asked so what do I do now? He says, “Yeah, you have cancer, you’re lucky…because they gave your test to another person so you didn’t have to suffer for 7 months.”
I said, “Doctor, you’re telling me now that I’m lucky. I have cancer and I don’t know what is happening with my leg now…I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to see a specialist, the most important specialist for my legs to find out what happened.”
After that I go to a specialist. Thank God that this doctor was good. He said they needed to do a big operation. You want to see my leg? I had to have 4 operations! Look at that, look at that…. 9 months I can’t walk.
Steve: You have a metal rod in…
Maria: I have a metal rod, yes, all this for nothing. They just made a big mistake with me. This destroyed my life because I am a very nice person. I work, I dance, I love my family… I love my grandchild who was born the same month when they did the big operation on me. I mean and after that…what I suffered at the hospital…infections, a lot of things happened to me…what happens to me now?
Steve: Elizabeth, how have you seen your mom’s life change over this period of time?
Elizabeth: Drastically. She’s always been a woman who takes very good care of herself. She goes to the doctor, checks up…and if this would have been dealt with appropriately from the beginning…
Steve: … it wouldn’t have been this bad.
Elizabeth: …we wouldn’t have had any of this happen. It would have been treated as a pre-cancerous cell usually gets treated and she would have continued living a normal life but due to this mistake by the laboratory its changed our lives completely. I mean I was pregnant 5 months when this started. My son was born and like she mentioned she had surgery a week later and it was just downhill from there. Five surgeries later she got an infection at the hospital. You know what it is to sit in a chair for nine months with one leg up. I mean we had to fly family in from Italy to help us take care of her because it was too much. Her sister took turns. The expenses have been astronomical. And the whole tradition of our family has changed. She is no longer able to be that mother who made Sunday lunches for the family anymore. She can’t go anywhere without the walker, wheelchair, or some sort of electrical device to help her.
Steve: You have to use this walker all of the time, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss most about your life before?
Maria: My life before, like my daughter said, family…I love to dance. I can’t dance anymore. I had a normal life, beautiful. I was just a happy person, many friends; we’d go out. I used to have a boyfriend but after this I said, no more. I can’t give satisfaction to a man.
Elizabeth: Her self-esteem is low.
Maria: My self-esteem is down completely.
Steve: What do you see as justice for your case?
Elizabeth: At this point, I mean…
Steve: You have huge medical bills, don’t you?
Elizabeth: …medical bills, her lifestyle has changed…
Steve: You can’t work anymore.
Maria: No, no work. I can’t, I can’t. I have a lot of debts now.
Elizabeth: Now we’re full of debt. We all have help with the light bill and the mortgage…some sort of relief…
Steve: What has been the response of Quest Diagnostics for this whole thing?
Elizabeth: Absolutely none.
Steve: …because on their website it says, ‘we really care about our patients.’ Do you believe that?
Maria: I don’t believe anything, nothing. They’re liars, big liars!
Steve: This question is for the both of you: If you had a message to send to the people who made this mistake, Quest Diagnostics, what would that message be?
Elizabeth: Get your infrastructure in order and don’t make these kinds of mistakes because you ruin lives every time you do.
Maria: Every time they make a big mistake…you can never trust no doctor and no laboratory. Try to test 3 times at the laboratory. Try 3 different times because they can make big mistakes! I’m not alone. Many people are down from the mistakes made by this laboratory. Big mistake!
Steve: I want to thank you both for being on this show. This message is going to get out and it’s our best wishes for you.
Well, when you hear it from the horse’s mouth Maria really says what she means. This is a terrible case. How are you pursuing this case? What are you doing to win this case? What’s your strategy?
Stewart: We’re trying to show how this administrative error took place. We’ve taken the deposition of the president of the local Quest lab who really had no idea how the operation even works. Now we’re trying to…the court has given us permission to film how they process over 15,000 samples a night and they’ve appealed it. So once we win that appeal we’re going to go in and show how this error had occurred.
Steve: Because once you have that information, you can…because it’s a national laboratory, they process a large amount of biopsies and all kinds of tests and there is bound to be some errors. But some of these errors can be fatal, near fatal.
Stewart: And this one could have been. This is not a mistake where the doctor misread a slide, this was a mistake where somebody took a sample and put the wrong name on it and the wrong number on it.
Steve: Now you haven’t been able to get that other incorrect biopsy. Or you have the incorrect biopsy but you don’t know who it belongs to, do you?
Stewart: No, we don’t.
Steve: And they won’t give you that information. In other words, they’re not being helpful to try and correct the mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: …which goes against their website theme which is ‘we care about our patients’ and all this other good stuff, right?
Mark: Yes, absolutely, and that’s something that we’re willing to address and that’s what we’re doing that now. We’re going to look under every stone and pursue this however we need to prove that really what happened here was really just a preventable mistake, really not a medical negligence mistake. It was an administrative error that should have never of taken place.
Steve: Just own up to it and take care of their medical bills, right?
Stewart: …and pay her for her lost wages.
Steve: …because she can’t work.
Stewart: …and her pain and suffering. You could see that she’s going back to doctors every six months. She’s got a fear of this sarcoma spreading and killing her. Her whole life has changed. She needs modifications done to her home. She can’t get up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub is a chore. There are many things that need to be changed in her life and her home as a result of this.
Steve: You know in the medical industry there are misdiagnosis all of the time. How do they normally occur?
Mark: There can be several causes. Usually it’s plain and simple carelessness. The vast majority of medical mistakes that we’ve encountered in our personal practice and our professional practice are just very preventable types of things: not reviewing patient histories, not reading labs correctly, simple mistakes that really unfortunately can have tragic effects on their patients, our clients.
Steve: Well, thank God you’re representing Maria and I want to thank both of you for being on the program today. You’re doing a terrific job.
Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Schoolteacher shares her story of survival after horrific crash- Miami Hwy Crashes- PT. 4

Michelle Cardenas Transcripts
Title: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michelle Cardenas Story
Steve Murphy: On September 27, 2007 at 4 in the afternoon, 27 year old Michelle Cardenas, a popular middle school teacher was driving home in her Honda Civic on a four lane rural major highway entering Hialeah, fl. Parked on the right shoulder was an 18-wheeler truck driven by Rigoberto Machado hauling a load of plants from South Miami to various Walmarts. Machado, without warning, illegaly did the unbelievable. He pulled a U-Turn across the divided, double-lane highway causing Michelle’s car to unavoidably smash into the undercarriage of his 18-wheeler ripping the entire car’s roof off its hinges. Today, the Insider Exclusive presents the true story of the miraculous courage of Michelle Cardenas and how her lawyers Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone got justice for Michelle by clearly proving the discrepancies in the truck driver’s testimony and by demonstrating the correct and safe driving procedures for turning 18-wheelers around. Its earned them the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike as one of the best plaintiff trial lawyers in Florida and in the nation. They have seen many innocent, hardworking people suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help those who have been harmed by the negligent actions of others. Their goal: not only to get justice for Michelle but to make America’s highways safer and trucking companies and their insurance companies much more accountable.

Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider’s Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE OF VIDEO: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michele Cardenas Story
Steve Murphy:
It is my great privilege to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg/ Mark Stone: Thank you Steve.
Steve Murphy: Tell us a little bit about your firm.
Stewart: Our firm handles catastrophic, personal injury claims where people have either been injured or have lost a loved one through the negligence of another whether it be a trucking accident, whether it be a medical malpractice case, an airplane disaster, a motorcycle accident, car crash, cruise accident, things of that nature.
Steven Murphy: Basically, little guy against big guy, right...the David and Goliath kind of cases. Now, today we’re going to be talking about a rather horrific case; an 18-wheeler case with Michelle Cardenas. Tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: This is a tragedy. We represent a very young lady in her mid-twenties who was a school teacher on her way home from school on a Friday afternoon, minding her own business, doing nothing wrong, when an 18-wheeler decided to make U-turn across a 4-lane divided highway and her car went underneath the back of the trailer, came out the other side with its top ripped off. She was airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Ryder Trauma Center…
Steven Murphy: She was knocked out in that accident.
Stewart: She was unconscious and she had a glass glaucoma scale of 7. Which 15 is normal. 7’s survivability is probably under 20%-25%.
Steve Murphy: Explain to our audience what that means.
Stewart: The paramedics and doctors have certain tests they do on someone in the field and in the hospital to see about how alert they are neurologically and a 7 is a very low score on that scale and as a result she’s got permanent brain damage.
Steve: What has been the result of pursuing this case?
Mark: Well, in terms of the results of the client, fortunately we were able to reach a settlement on her behalf which should enable Michelle to get a great deal of her life back. Unfortunately, she has a diffuse axonal injury which is an injury to the axons which is structures, microscopic structures, between the gray and the white matter. Once their ripped or torn they don’t repair themselves. So, we feel fortunate that we were able to get her a sum of money which is going to allow her to regain some normalcy in her life.
Steve Murphy: Right. As a result of this accident she can no longer teach.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve Murphy: Will she have the capability of teaching?
Stewart: She probably, according to our experts, is really unemployable. She can only handle very menial tasks, right now, she helps out with the family business but her ability to stay focused…her executive functions have severely been compromised.
Steve: We have with us today both her, as well as her dad, in the studio and I’d like to bring out her dad first so we can talk a little bit about the challenges that they as a family face and her. So, let’s do that right now.
Steve: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Gabriel Cardenas, the father of Michelle. Welcome to the show.
Gabriel Cardenas: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day, when you first heard that your daughter was involved in this horrible accident and had been airlifted to the hospital. What were your thoughts as a father?
Gabriel: It was very painful because in this case we did not know what had happened. The hospital could not reach us until about 10 o’clock at night and the phone rang in the neighbor’s house; he came over to our house and knocked on the door really loud, like in a panic. We did not know what had happened or if something was wrong with him. As it turned out, he just said that Jackson Hospital had called and that Michelle was there and we needed to go there immediately because Michelle was involved in an accident but they won’t tell you anymore on the phone or anything. So when we went into the Emergency, actually it wasn’t the Emergency, it was the Life Resuscitation area where she was. We saw her there all strapped with all kinds of wires. It was very painful. She was in a coma, completely. She was gone several times. But we were lucky that she came out of it little by little. That was the beginning…
Steve: How long did it take so that she was kind of conscious?
Gabriel: No, it took several days before she was conscious. And even then she seemed to be conscious but she didn’t remember anything in the hospital which was like 3 ½ weeks but she was in this resuscitation area for close to 36 hours I believe
Steve: When you say she didn’t remember anything in the hospital what are the things she didn’t remember?
Gabriel: Nothing. It’s hard for her to remember…
Steve: Did she remember who she was?
Gabriel: Well, when she was in the hospital they would ask her the requirements necessary so that she could be moved out of the resuscitation area into emergency then into the brain injury wing, was that she had to respond to her name: What’s your name? Also, to try to remember what day it was. It took her like 3 days before she could guess what day it was, where she was. Of course, she was sleeping or knocked out for the first few hours.
Steve: As a father, not being able to do anything it must be very painful, excruciatingly painful.
Gabriel: It’s very, very difficult to go through that pain. You see your dream, your daughter there… very difficult…that some nut went around and did some stupid thing, carelessly, and has ruined her life. And you sit there and you can’t do anything about it. You know and these people didn’t call to see how she was. Never! Not in the hospital or at home, during these 3 years. Never! How’s Michelle? Never! Very sad…
Steve: Stewart was the extent of her brain injuries?
Stewart: The doctors consider them moderate to severe and Michelle has been remarkable. She’s worked very, very hard with her Mom, with her dad, with her sister, and with her brother to get back as much function as possible. But she’ll never be the same, unfortunately. This has changed her life forever.
Steve: She was a middle school teacher.
Gabriel: Yes, she was a specialist in literature, English Literature.
Steve: She loves literature. I was talking to her before the show and she was saying her favorite author was Virginia Wolfe.
Gabriel: She loves writing poems.
Steve: Now she cannot teach anymore but she works with your family business?
Gabriel: Well, she helps a little bit…she doesn’t really work a lot because she still has a lot of problems due to her brain injury. One of the problems she has is short-term memory loss. So, she’ll forget things that happened yesterday or things that happened a few hours ago. She’ll keep asking me how to do something that she’d do every day.
Steve: Is she able to go places by herself?
Gabriel: Right now, we drive her around ourselves. We don’t want to her to drive yet. She can function partially well. The main thing is some of the problems she has with her brain is she has problems with concentration. It’s hard for her to concentrate.
Steve: We have her with us in the studio and we’re going to bring her on right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Michelle. Welcome to the show, Michelle.
Michelle: Thank you.
Steve: What an ordeal. Your dad was talking about how he felt as a father. I could understand perfectly what he was saying. Take us back to that day, the day of the accident. Do you remember anything about it?
Michelle: Absolutely nothing.
Steve: Nothing. You don’t even remember approaching the truck or anything?
Michelle: No.
Steve: And what are your first remembrances as you were in the hospital.
Michelle: I was in the hospital for about a month and I only slightly remember about the last two days and that’s very, very vague.
Steve: Did you know why you were in the hospital?
Michelle: From what they told me that I was in an accident. Only from what people were telling me, I don’t remember anything that happened.
Steve: Now that you realize what had happened to you, what do you understand about what happened to you as a result of this accident?
Michelle: As the result of this accident I have brain trauma.
Steve: And what does that mean exactly to you?
Michelle: What do you mean, exactly?
Steve: I mean how has it affected you?
Michelle: In so many ways, I mean I don’t even know where to begin.
Steve: Okay, you were a middle school teacher before, in literature, right?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: I think some of your kids sent you cards like this one. You want to hold this up for the camera. It reads “We miss you, Ms. C,” is that right?
Michelle: Yeah.
Steve: You remember teaching?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss about it?
Michelle: That’s like when they told me that I couldn’t teach…that was the worst thing they could have told me, ever. That was just the worst thing ever. It wasn’t necessarily what I had gone to school for. I had gotten a degree in English Literature. The first job that was offered to me was this teaching job. I was in the process of getting certified but it was definitely my vocation. I loved it and when they told me that it was something I couldn’t do because of the brain trauma that was something that really struck me. It was horrible, horrible.
Steve: What was the best thing you liked about teaching?
Michelle: It was just being able to reaching young minds.
Steve: Open them up to good literature…
Michelle: Exactly, yes, and I guess because I am so young I had a connection with them and they were able to learn in different ways. Just the fact that I can’t do that now is just the worst.
Steve: Do you sometimes think that maybe in the future you might be able to do this?
Michelle: I hope so. There are a lot of people that defy…
Steve: Right, you are a miracle, aren’t you?
Michelle: Right.
Steve: I think your dad was saying it’s truly amazing what happened. We’ve seen the pictures and our audience have too of what happened to your car and the roof… was gone, totally gone.
Gabriel: Yes.
Steve: Your lawyers recently settled the case. What’s your opinion of your lawyers?
Michelle: The best!
Steve: Yeah, you know because no one wants to take responsibility here, do they? The trucking company, like you said, hasn’t called in 3 years. I watched the deposition of the truck driver and at one time he broke down and I couldn’t figure out if it was because he had lost his job or because he caused this accident, you know?
Gabriel: He was very unconcerned.
Steve: You look like you’re thinking. What are you thinking about?
Michelle: Oh, I was just thinking about this man who had totally changed my life and he never even once thought...
Steve: Rigoberto Machado. Never thought at all… did you watch those depositions?
Michelle: No, but I was there, for my depositions I mean. Like at the mediation, he was there, and…
Gabriel: We spare her the pain of watching some of this. Even the car pictures; she hasn’t seen those, at all.
Michelle: No, thank God.
Gabriel: We’ve kept them away from her and the lawyers have them.
Steve: Well, you are an amazing individual. I’m glad you were able to spend some time with us today. You inspire other people, no matter what happens to them they know they’ll always have a shot. And I want to thank you very much for spending your time with us.
They’re amazing clients, aren’t they?
Stewart: They are.
Steve: She is an amazing individual and I can understand that she inspired you to win this case. Tell us how you won the case.
Stewart: We won it with a lot of hardwork. We really won it because of her. We won it by getting the best experts, by doing animations, by interviewing witnesses, and by forensically showing how this accident happened.
Steve: Now, the key person in this was the truck driver on the defense’s side and fortunately you did a lot of video depositions. We’re going to show a few of them. For example, he admits that he made an illegal turn.
Stewart: What does it say about making right turns from the right shoulder or making U-turns from the right shoulder of the road?
Rigoberto Machado(Translator): Well, that’s illegal.
Stewart: So, the move that you were making was illegal.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): It can be done but you shouldn’t do it.
Steve: Also, I was amazed when you asked him in this deposition whose fault it was and he said what?
Stewart: He blamed my client. He blamed Michelle.
Steve: And we have a certain segment of that and we’ll show that right now.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): I myself don’t consider myself to be at fault for this accident.
Stewart: Who do you consider to be the cause for this accident?
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): The girl who crashed.
Steve: They’re position from the beginning was that it was her fault. Wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: How did they figure that? Was that just their position because they didn’t want to pay or what was the rationale?
Mark: Well, Steve, yeah I think they didn’t want to pay but ultimately I think what it came down to was that she was so badly injured that she had no recollection of the accident. And I think at the end of the day they wanted to use that against her. In other words, she wasn’t able to explain what she did to avoid the accident and that’s what they were going to try to rely on and fortunately it didn’t work.
Steve: Now this case was settled.
Stewart: Correct, on the eve of trial.
Steve: On the eve of trial. And how long had the preparation been from the date you got the case to the date of trial?
Stewart: It was exactly 3 years from the date of the accident. We didn’t get the case for a month. The parents were too concerned about their daughter than to even hire a lawyer. We had two trial dates previously and at the last moment the defense got emergency continuances. So we would have been ready to go 18 months after the accident but we were put off that long.
Steve: Now, that seems a little unfair to your client where they get continuances that extend it, 18 months?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: Well, why does the judge go along with that program?
Mark: Well, unfortunately, it’s delay, delay, delay.
Steve: But how many times can they delay it? You’re smiling…
Stewart: As many as they can, as often as they can.
Steve: Doesn’t a judge step up or something and say you know something, this is too many delays?
Stewart: Well, understand that judges have over a thousand cases. They have just with the foreclosure crisis in Miami-Dade County some 6,000 cases. Their calendars are booked and we try to fight for trial dates, actually. In this case, we claimed we had a 3-week trial with a lot of witnesses and we needed to go.
Steve: So, the foreclosure crisis is causing a crisis for getting other cases heard.
Mark: Sure, it’s just caused an influx of cases of litigation into the court system.
Steve: The insurance companies know that…
Mark: Sure, and they use that to delay and put off settlements.
Steve: Now you said it was settled on the eve of trial. Tell us that day what happened.
Stewart: I got a call from an adjustor Friday afternoon and basically we spoke all weekend long and on Sunday we finally resolved the case.
Steve: They came back with an initial lowball offer.
Stewart: They lowballed this case literally till 11:59pm.
Steve: On Sunday evening.
Stewart: On Sunday evening.
Mark: It was the day before trial.
Steve: And on 11:59pm you were talking to the lawyers on the other side.
Stewart: Just about, yeah.
Steve: Okay, now, words have been exchanged on the telephone, how do you know the next morning you’re going to wake up and they’re going to recall the conversation or they’re going to disclaim they never said it. When do you get things in writing?
Stewart: We went in front of the judge the next morning and went on the record and asked for the settlement, how much, and the terms of the settlement.
Steve: And this is a confidential settlement.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: And so the judge gives you how long to draw it up so our audience understands…
Stewart: We drew it up that day.
Steve: And part of the settlement is that they have to pay within a certain period of time.
Stewart: Correct. That’s part of terms of the settlement agreement.
Steve: And obviously they paid.
Stewart: They paid and our client has been funded.
Steve: But there are people who write up settlements that don’t pay within that period of time.
Stewart: We’ve had it this year. We’ve had to go to court a number of times to enforce settlements where we get attorney fees, costs and interest, for making them pass.
Steve: Yeah, well you guys did an outstanding job and I’m glad you did because Michelle’s a great person so is her dad. And thank you very much for being on the program.
Stewart: Thank you for having us.
Mark: Nice to be here.
Steve: Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Should I report my leaky roof to my Miami property insurance company?

Florida Homeowners Insurance Claims

Absolutely! Every single occurrence whether it be a leak, a broken tile, a fire has to be reported immediately to your insurance company. Almost every single insurance policy has a requirement hat the claim be reporting immediately so that they have an opportunity to investigate the claim. So please do not hesitate, along with contacting the insurance company, contact a public adjuster or an attorney to have someone on your side to represent you on the claim.
Thank you for watching our Florida Homeowners Insurance Claims series.
Should you need any further information or legal advice contact a lawyer at:

Greenberg Stone and Alvarez, P.A.
11440 N. Kendall Drive
Suite 400
Miami, FL 33176
Phone: (888) 499-9700

The Hidden Truth About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits. Lab Mistakes-Pt.1

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Mark Twain once said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure…” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the American Medical Association know how to make figures lie by falsely promoting untrue facts:
ON-SCREEN TEXT: “Skyrocketing Health Care and Related Malpractice lawsuits increase insurance premiums.”
“Doctors are abandoning their practices.”
“Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine.”
“Too many frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries.”
Steve Murphy (Voiceover): But the AMA’s own award-winning Journal of the American Medical Association published an article with the real story, the real facts on healthcare related and medical malpractice lawsuits and they’re shocking:
“106,000 patients die each year from the negative effects of medication.”
“Another 80,000 patients die each year due to complications from infections incurred in hospitals.”
“20,000 deaths per year occur from Lab Misdiagnosis mistakes and other hospital errors.”
“12,000 people die each year as a result of unnecessary surgery.”
“7,000 medical malpractice deaths per year are attributed to medication errors in hospitals.”
That’s, “225,000 deaths each year… due to medical negligence of some nature and Healthcare Related Mistakes,” and the number is growing.
Today, the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to examine how one well-known, national laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, made a near fatal mistake by mixing up a biopsy sample with that of another patient. That major mistake caused an 8-month delay in receiving life-saving treatment for Maria Rapio for a deadly cancer, a high grade sarcoma, which is a malignant and aggressive tumor. The lab’s inexcusable error changed the once vibrant, active Maria forever. During that critical 8-month delay her infection spread to the bone so the doctor had to put in a metal rod in her leg. She suffered from an infection from this procedure and was hospitalized for over a month. Now her leg has been left severely deformed and she has to constantly go for check-ups to make sure her tumor has not spread. Had the correct diagnosis originally been given she would have saved these precious 8 months which for this type of tumor, could be life altering.
Today the Insider Exclusive shows how Maria’s lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone, are getting justice for Maria. They have seen many patients suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help people who have been harmed by incompetent and negligent healthcare professionals. Their goal: not only to get justice for Maria but to make medicine safer and more accountable just like Quest Diagnostics publicly state on their website “Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our corporate philosophy…we strive to do the right thing when it comes to caring for our patients.”
Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE: The Insider Exclusive presents- Quest Diagnostics: DEADLY Errors
Steve Murphy: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg: Thank you, Steve.
Mark Stone: Nice to see you.
Steve: Tell us a little bit about your firm. What type of practices does your firm get involved in?
Stewart: We handle cases of people who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones from the negligence of others.
Steve: …like catastrophic cases and this sort of thing?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: You have 6 offices in Florida, don’t you? Where are they?
Stewart: We have offices in south Florida, central Florida, and in the panhandle.
Steve: I always ask this of every lawyer that we have on the show…why did you become a lawyer, Mark?
Mark: I became a lawyer… my father was a judge, and was one of the youngest judges appointed by the governor at that time to become a juvenile court judge. So, he made his mark in the law and I had an older brother who went to law school and I thought that would be something that would be challenging and rewarding.
Steve: How about you Stewart?
Stewart: I like working with people and in our practice we get to spend a lot of time with our clients over many years…and over 31 years we still have relationships.
Steve: The case we’re going to discuss today is kind of an unusual case because it’s a misdiagnosis case not necessarily by a doctor or a hospital but by a lab.
Stewart: Correct, a national lab…
Steve: Can you tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: Sure. We represent a lovely 60 year-old lady who you’ll get to meet and she had a small little bump on her leg. She went to the doctor and the doctor decided to excise it, to remove it…sent it out to Quest Laboratories locally here in South Florida. It came back that it was fine. That was in October in 2007. In May of 2008, she was called by the doctor and told, ‘listen, the lab thinks they made a mistake and they mixed up your specimen with someone else’s and they had to take another sample from her leg and she came back having a very, very aggressive form of sarcoma, cancer.
Steve: How would they have known that they had misplaced, or mixed it up?
Stewart: It’s interesting you asked that. We’re trying to find that out now through discovery. Probably, what happened was the other patient who was told she had cancer was eventually rechecked where they found no cancer. We don’t know who that patient is. We don’t know if she understands the whole mix-up or not.
Steve: You don’t know because they won’t tell you?
Stewart: They won’t tell us. That’s correct.
Steve: It would seem to me that they would want to clear this up, right?
Stewart: Well, it would seem to anybody that they would want to clear it up. What they’re trying to do is hide the ball.
Steve: Yeah, they’re trying to hide their mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: So she had another biopsy done and what happened?
Stewart: As a result of that, unfortunately, she had to get major surgery in her leg where they actually inserted a steel rod in her leg because of the extent of the injuries from the cancer. That became infected then she later spent a month in the hospital and she has a resulting, horrible scar. She’s in pain. She’s at risk for cancer for the rest of her life where she wouldn’t have been otherwise. She can’t work any longer so she’s really incapacitated. She uses a walker.
Steve: The 8 months where she thought she didn’t have a cancer in her leg, her leg was gradually getting worse, wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes it was.
Steve: …and as a result of this delay of 8 months, what is the damage that is done to her?
Stewart: Had this been removed properly and diagnosed properly then she probably would have never needed the insertion of the steel rod. She would have never had the infection. Her risk of future cancer would have been much, much, much lower. And she would probably be back at work and being a grandma and a mom and enjoying life.
Steve: Mark, tell us a little bit about Maria. What kind of women was she prior to this horrible incident?
Mark: Maria was, and still is, a very unique woman. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s got a zest for life that really is uncommon. I don’t see that in a lot of people. She’s self-made. She’s a beautician. She runs her own business. She is a successful person. Unfortunately, this injury which was completely preventable has taken just a tremendous toll on her life from a physical toll to an emotional standpoint. She was a woman who would go out, she would socialize…she loved life. That has been literally ripped away from her at this point.
Steve: I understand Stewart that she raised four kids.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: Basically, by herself. Is that correct?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: She originally came from Italy. As a result of this she can’t work now, can’t she?
Stewart: She can’t work and she really has trouble taking care of herself. She needs help.
Steve: Let’s bring on Maria and her daughter right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Maria and Elizabeth to the show. Welcome to the show.
Maria/Elizabeth: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day Maria when you learned…well, when you initially discovered there was a bump on your leg. You went to your dermatologist, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...and your dermatologist took a biopsy, correct?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...sent it to the lab.
Maria: Yes.
Steve: The results came back soon thereafter.
Maria: …everything is good…everything is fine…no problem.
Steve: …but, then what happened?
Maria: What happened was that still after that it was still growing. So, I go to my doctor and he says not to worry about it- that everything is fine. Okay, I don’t worry. So, after 7 months they call me saying it’s urgent…
Steve: Had your leg been looking worse and worse?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: Had you been not able to walk as much?
Maria: No, no, yes I could walk. The doctor says everything’s fine…it’s just some pimple there that will go away. So when they call me, saying it was an emergency, to see the doctor, I go. He tells me, ‘…listen, we have to do another biopsy…’
Steve: Here’s my question: Why did they call you in if they didn’t know anything at that time?
Maria: …because the laboratory told them that they had made a mistake. After that, everything became like a dream. I go Saturday to see the doctor where they draw out my blood. After, they send me to the specialist for the legs and then the doctor took a…radiografia?
Elizabeth: X-ray.
Maria: And they said that tomorrow I have to go to the hospital because we have to open and see what happened there…I never expected what would happen to me!
Steve: Did you ask the doctors what was going on?
Maria: Yes! They said don’t worry, looks good.
Steve: Did you go with her?
Maria: No, go with my friend, a very good friend. So, that happened Saturday. Monday, I go to the doctor and Tuesday they operate on me. Oh my God, terrible…
Elizabeth: From one day to the next…
Steve: But they told you that you need an operation, why?
Maria: …because they wanted to see what was there but they never told me that a big mistake was made in the laboratory.
Steve: They haven’t told you yet.
Maria: Nothing! It didn’t even cross my mind.
Steve: It seems kind of odd that the doctor would say that he needs to operate without giving you any reason why.
Maria: Why? They said nothing to me. Only that there was some mistake or something…they cover each other, you know?
Steve: Yeah.
Maria: So, I go to see the doctor that operated on me and he said to go see him after 7 days. I go but the doctor didn’t see him. I saw the assistant and they tell me that everything looks fine. They said that in case we call you 3 days from now, because they need like 14 days to resend samples to the laboratory to check if everything is fine…and if don’t call you then everything is fine. But if we call you come right away. They called me.
And when I went there, I never expected in my life to hear what they said to me. When I go to the doctor, he sits me down, doesn’t even prepare me…I go with my friend because she’s with me all the time, and I sit there and ask, “what happened doctor, is everything ok?” He says, “No, you have cancer,” like that.
After that, I said, “What!” My friend starts to cry and I start to cry and I ask the doctor what had happened, why do I have cancer now? They took these little samples from me like 7-8 months ago and now you say I have cancer. He says, “Yes, but I cannot tell you anything else. You have to go to a specialist now. I don’t know the name in English for cancer specialists…so they send me to another doctor. When I go to the doctor at Mercy hospital he doesn’t make an operation…again, I went with my friend because she’s married to a doctor and she knows all of these things I don’t understand. When I sit there, I asked so what do I do now? He says, “Yeah, you have cancer, you’re lucky…because they gave your test to another person so you didn’t have to suffer for 7 months.”
I said, “Doctor, you’re telling me now that I’m lucky. I have cancer and I don’t know what is happening with my leg now…I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to see a specialist, the most important specialist for my legs to find out what happened.”
After that I go to a specialist. Thank God that this doctor was good. He said they needed to do a big operation. You want to see my leg? I had to have 4 operations! Look at that, look at that…. 9 months I can’t walk.
Steve: You have a metal rod in…
Maria: I have a metal rod, yes, all this for nothing. They just made a big mistake with me. This destroyed my life because I am a very nice person. I work, I dance, I love my family… I love my grandchild who was born the same month when they did the big operation on me. I mean and after that…what I suffered at the hospital…infections, a lot of things happened to me…what happens to me now?
Steve: Elizabeth, how have you seen your mom’s life change over this period of time?
Elizabeth: Drastically. She’s always been a woman who takes very good care of herself. She goes to the doctor, checks up…and if this would have been dealt with appropriately from the beginning…
Steve: … it wouldn’t have been this bad.
Elizabeth: …we wouldn’t have had any of this happen. It would have been treated as a pre-cancerous cell usually gets treated and she would have continued living a normal life but due to this mistake by the laboratory its changed our lives completely. I mean I was pregnant 5 months when this started. My son was born and like she mentioned she had surgery a week later and it was just downhill from there. Five surgeries later she got an infection at the hospital. You know what it is to sit in a chair for nine months with one leg up. I mean we had to fly family in from Italy to help us take care of her because it was too much. Her sister took turns. The expenses have been astronomical. And the whole tradition of our family has changed. She is no longer able to be that mother who made Sunday lunches for the family anymore. She can’t go anywhere without the walker, wheelchair, or some sort of electrical device to help her.
Steve: You have to use this walker all of the time, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss most about your life before?
Maria: My life before, like my daughter said, family…I love to dance. I can’t dance anymore. I had a normal life, beautiful. I was just a happy person, many friends; we’d go out. I used to have a boyfriend but after this I said, no more. I can’t give satisfaction to a man.
Elizabeth: Her self-esteem is low.
Maria: My self-esteem is down completely.
Steve: What do you see as justice for your case?
Elizabeth: At this point, I mean…
Steve: You have huge medical bills, don’t you?
Elizabeth: …medical bills, her lifestyle has changed…
Steve: You can’t work anymore.
Maria: No, no work. I can’t, I can’t. I have a lot of debts now.
Elizabeth: Now we’re full of debt. We all have help with the light bill and the mortgage…some sort of relief…
Steve: What has been the response of Quest Diagnostics for this whole thing?
Elizabeth: Absolutely none.
Steve: …because on their website it says, ‘we really care about our patients.’ Do you believe that?
Maria: I don’t believe anything, nothing. They’re liars, big liars!
Steve: This question is for the both of you: If you had a message to send to the people who made this mistake, Quest Diagnostics, what would that message be?
Elizabeth: Get your infrastructure in order and don’t make these kinds of mistakes because you ruin lives every time you do.
Maria: Every time they make a big mistake…you can never trust no doctor and no laboratory. Try to test 3 times at the laboratory. Try 3 different times because they can make big mistakes! I’m not alone. Many people are down from the mistakes made by this laboratory. Big mistake!
Steve: I want to thank you both for being on this show. This message is going to get out and it’s our best wishes for you.
Well, when you hear it from the horse’s mouth Maria really says what she means. This is a terrible case. How are you pursuing this case? What are you doing to win this case? What’s your strategy?
Stewart: We’re trying to show how this administrative error took place. We’ve taken the deposition of the president of the local Quest lab who really had no idea how the operation even works. Now we’re trying to…the court has given us permission to film how they process over 15,000 samples a night and they’ve appealed it. So once we win that appeal we’re going to go in and show how this error had occurred.
Steve: Because once you have that information, you can…because it’s a national laboratory, they process a large amount of biopsies and all kinds of tests and there is bound to be some errors. But some of these errors can be fatal, near fatal.
Stewart: And this one could have been. This is not a mistake where the doctor misread a slide, this was a mistake where somebody took a sample and put the wrong name on it and the wrong number on it.
Steve: Now you haven’t been able to get that other incorrect biopsy. Or you have the incorrect biopsy but you don’t know who it belongs to, do you?
Stewart: No, we don’t.
Steve: And they won’t give you that information. In other words, they’re not being helpful to try and correct the mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: …which goes against their website theme which is ‘we care about our patients’ and all this other good stuff, right?
Mark: Yes, absolutely, and that’s something that we’re willing to address and that’s what we’re doing that now. We’re going to look under every stone and pursue this however we need to prove that really what happened here was really just a preventable mistake, really not a medical negligence mistake. It was an administrative error that should have never of taken place.
Steve: Just own up to it and take care of their medical bills, right?
Stewart: …and pay her for her lost wages.
Steve: …because she can’t work.
Stewart: …and her pain and suffering. You could see that she’s going back to doctors every six months. She’s got a fear of this sarcoma spreading and killing her. Her whole life has changed. She needs modifications done to her home. She can’t get up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub is a chore. There are many things that need to be changed in her life and her home as a result of this.
Steve: You know in the medical industry there are misdiagnosis all of the time. How do they normally occur?
Mark: There can be several causes. Usually it’s plain and simple carelessness. The vast majority of medical mistakes that we’ve encountered in our personal practice and our professional practice are just very preventable types of things: not reviewing patient histories, not reading labs correctly, simple mistakes that really unfortunately can have tragic effects on their patients, our clients.
Steve: Well, thank God you’re representing Maria and I want to thank both of you for being on the program today. You’re doing a terrific job.
Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Truck Accident Lawyer Stewart Greenberg urges victims to choose experience in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale

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What do I do if I am unhappy with my Miami property insurance settlement?

If you are not happy with your insurance settlement unless you've signed the release you could always resubmit a claim for additional money. The only time you are prohibited from pursuing additional monies from your settlement is if you actually signed a release provided by the insurance company absolving them of anymore legal responsibility,otherwise, it's an open claim that can be adjusted on a continuing basis. If you have a legitimate reason to submit an additional claim arising after your first payment from the insurance company, by all means, contact an attorney or public adjuster to help you and they will be more than happy and we will be more than happy to pursue that claim for you.

Thank you for watching our Miami Homeowners Insurance Claims series. Should you need any further information or legal advice contact a lawyer Greenberg Stone and Alvarez, P.A.:

Miami Office
11440 N. Kendall Drive
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Phone: (888) 499-9700

Why did Mark and I become Lawyers? Lab Mistakes-Pt.2

Steve Murphy (Voiceover): Mark Twain once said that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure…” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the American Medical Association know how to make figures lie by falsely promoting untrue facts:
ON-SCREEN TEXT: “Skyrocketing Health Care and Related Malpractice lawsuits increase insurance premiums.”
“Doctors are abandoning their practices.”
“Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine.”
“Too many frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries.”
Steve Murphy (Voiceover): But the AMA’s own award-winning Journal of the American Medical Association published an article with the real story, the real facts on healthcare related and medical malpractice lawsuits and they’re shocking:
“106,000 patients die each year from the negative effects of medication.”
“Another 80,000 patients die each year due to complications from infections incurred in hospitals.”
“20,000 deaths per year occur from Lab Misdiagnosis mistakes and other hospital errors.”
“12,000 people die each year as a result of unnecessary surgery.”
“7,000 medical malpractice deaths per year are attributed to medication errors in hospitals.”
That’s, “225,000 deaths each year… due to medical negligence of some nature and Healthcare Related Mistakes,” and the number is growing.
Today, the Insider Exclusive goes behind the headlines to examine how one well-known, national laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, made a near fatal mistake by mixing up a biopsy sample with that of another patient. That major mistake caused an 8-month delay in receiving life-saving treatment for Maria Rapio for a deadly cancer, a high grade sarcoma, which is a malignant and aggressive tumor. The lab’s inexcusable error changed the once vibrant, active Maria forever. During that critical 8-month delay her infection spread to the bone so the doctor had to put in a metal rod in her leg. She suffered from an infection from this procedure and was hospitalized for over a month. Now her leg has been left severely deformed and she has to constantly go for check-ups to make sure her tumor has not spread. Had the correct diagnosis originally been given she would have saved these precious 8 months which for this type of tumor, could be life altering.
Today the Insider Exclusive shows how Maria’s lawyers, Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone, are getting justice for Maria. They have seen many patients suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help people who have been harmed by incompetent and negligent healthcare professionals. Their goal: not only to get justice for Maria but to make medicine safer and more accountable just like Quest Diagnostics publicly state on their website “Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of our corporate philosophy…we strive to do the right thing when it comes to caring for our patients.”
Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.
TITLE: The Insider Exclusive presents- Quest Diagnostics: DEADLY Errors
Steve Murphy: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg: Thank you, Steve.
Mark Stone: Nice to see you.
Steve: Tell us a little bit about your firm. What type of practices does your firm get involved in?
Stewart: We handle cases of people who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones from the negligence of others.
Steve: …like catastrophic cases and this sort of thing?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: You have 6 offices in Florida, don’t you? Where are they?
Stewart: We have offices in south Florida, central Florida, and in the panhandle.
Steve: I always ask this of every lawyer that we have on the show…why did you become a lawyer, Mark?
Mark: I became a lawyer… my father was a judge, and was one of the youngest judges appointed by the governor at that time to become a juvenile court judge. So, he made his mark in the law and I had an older brother who went to law school and I thought that would be something that would be challenging and rewarding.
Steve: How about you Stewart?
Stewart: I like working with people and in our practice we get to spend a lot of time with our clients over many years…and over 31 years we still have relationships.
Steve: The case we’re going to discuss today is kind of an unusual case because it’s a misdiagnosis case not necessarily by a doctor or a hospital but by a lab.
Stewart: Correct, a national lab…
Steve: Can you tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: Sure. We represent a lovely 60 year-old lady who you’ll get to meet and she had a small little bump on her leg. She went to the doctor and the doctor decided to excise it, to remove it…sent it out to Quest Laboratories locally here in South Florida. It came back that it was fine. That was in October in 2007. In May of 2008, she was called by the doctor and told, ‘listen, the lab thinks they made a mistake and they mixed up your specimen with someone else’s and they had to take another sample from her leg and she came back having a very, very aggressive form of sarcoma, cancer.
Steve: How would they have known that they had misplaced, or mixed it up?
Stewart: It’s interesting you asked that. We’re trying to find that out now through discovery. Probably, what happened was the other patient who was told she had cancer was eventually rechecked where they found no cancer. We don’t know who that patient is. We don’t know if she understands the whole mix-up or not.
Steve: You don’t know because they won’t tell you?
Stewart: They won’t tell us. That’s correct.
Steve: It would seem to me that they would want to clear this up, right?
Stewart: Well, it would seem to anybody that they would want to clear it up. What they’re trying to do is hide the ball.
Steve: Yeah, they’re trying to hide their mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: So she had another biopsy done and what happened?
Stewart: As a result of that, unfortunately, she had to get major surgery in her leg where they actually inserted a steel rod in her leg because of the extent of the injuries from the cancer. That became infected then she later spent a month in the hospital and she has a resulting, horrible scar. She’s in pain. She’s at risk for cancer for the rest of her life where she wouldn’t have been otherwise. She can’t work any longer so she’s really incapacitated. She uses a walker.
Steve: The 8 months where she thought she didn’t have a cancer in her leg, her leg was gradually getting worse, wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes it was.
Steve: …and as a result of this delay of 8 months, what is the damage that is done to her?
Stewart: Had this been removed properly and diagnosed properly then she probably would have never needed the insertion of the steel rod. She would have never had the infection. Her risk of future cancer would have been much, much, much lower. And she would probably be back at work and being a grandma and a mom and enjoying life.
Steve: Mark, tell us a little bit about Maria. What kind of women was she prior to this horrible incident?
Mark: Maria was, and still is, a very unique woman. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s got a zest for life that really is uncommon. I don’t see that in a lot of people. She’s self-made. She’s a beautician. She runs her own business. She is a successful person. Unfortunately, this injury which was completely preventable has taken just a tremendous toll on her life from a physical toll to an emotional standpoint. She was a woman who would go out, she would socialize…she loved life. That has been literally ripped away from her at this point.
Steve: I understand Stewart that she raised four kids.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: Basically, by herself. Is that correct?
Stewart: Correct.
Steve: She originally came from Italy. As a result of this she can’t work now, can’t she?
Stewart: She can’t work and she really has trouble taking care of herself. She needs help.
Steve: Let’s bring on Maria and her daughter right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Maria and Elizabeth to the show. Welcome to the show.
Maria/Elizabeth: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day Maria when you learned…well, when you initially discovered there was a bump on your leg. You went to your dermatologist, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...and your dermatologist took a biopsy, correct?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: ...sent it to the lab.
Maria: Yes.
Steve: The results came back soon thereafter.
Maria: …everything is good…everything is fine…no problem.
Steve: …but, then what happened?
Maria: What happened was that still after that it was still growing. So, I go to my doctor and he says not to worry about it- that everything is fine. Okay, I don’t worry. So, after 7 months they call me saying it’s urgent…
Steve: Had your leg been looking worse and worse?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: Had you been not able to walk as much?
Maria: No, no, yes I could walk. The doctor says everything’s fine…it’s just some pimple there that will go away. So when they call me, saying it was an emergency, to see the doctor, I go. He tells me, ‘…listen, we have to do another biopsy…’
Steve: Here’s my question: Why did they call you in if they didn’t know anything at that time?
Maria: …because the laboratory told them that they had made a mistake. After that, everything became like a dream. I go Saturday to see the doctor where they draw out my blood. After, they send me to the specialist for the legs and then the doctor took a…radiografia?
Elizabeth: X-ray.
Maria: And they said that tomorrow I have to go to the hospital because we have to open and see what happened there…I never expected what would happen to me!
Steve: Did you ask the doctors what was going on?
Maria: Yes! They said don’t worry, looks good.
Steve: Did you go with her?
Maria: No, go with my friend, a very good friend. So, that happened Saturday. Monday, I go to the doctor and Tuesday they operate on me. Oh my God, terrible…
Elizabeth: From one day to the next…
Steve: But they told you that you need an operation, why?
Maria: …because they wanted to see what was there but they never told me that a big mistake was made in the laboratory.
Steve: They haven’t told you yet.
Maria: Nothing! It didn’t even cross my mind.
Steve: It seems kind of odd that the doctor would say that he needs to operate without giving you any reason why.
Maria: Why? They said nothing to me. Only that there was some mistake or something…they cover each other, you know?
Steve: Yeah.
Maria: So, I go to see the doctor that operated on me and he said to go see him after 7 days. I go but the doctor didn’t see him. I saw the assistant and they tell me that everything looks fine. They said that in case we call you 3 days from now, because they need like 14 days to resend samples to the laboratory to check if everything is fine…and if don’t call you then everything is fine. But if we call you come right away. They called me.
And when I went there, I never expected in my life to hear what they said to me. When I go to the doctor, he sits me down, doesn’t even prepare me…I go with my friend because she’s with me all the time, and I sit there and ask, “what happened doctor, is everything ok?” He says, “No, you have cancer,” like that.
After that, I said, “What!” My friend starts to cry and I start to cry and I ask the doctor what had happened, why do I have cancer now? They took these little samples from me like 7-8 months ago and now you say I have cancer. He says, “Yes, but I cannot tell you anything else. You have to go to a specialist now. I don’t know the name in English for cancer specialists…so they send me to another doctor. When I go to the doctor at Mercy hospital he doesn’t make an operation…again, I went with my friend because she’s married to a doctor and she knows all of these things I don’t understand. When I sit there, I asked so what do I do now? He says, “Yeah, you have cancer, you’re lucky…because they gave your test to another person so you didn’t have to suffer for 7 months.”
I said, “Doctor, you’re telling me now that I’m lucky. I have cancer and I don’t know what is happening with my leg now…I don’t want to see you anymore. I want to see a specialist, the most important specialist for my legs to find out what happened.”
After that I go to a specialist. Thank God that this doctor was good. He said they needed to do a big operation. You want to see my leg? I had to have 4 operations! Look at that, look at that…. 9 months I can’t walk.
Steve: You have a metal rod in…
Maria: I have a metal rod, yes, all this for nothing. They just made a big mistake with me. This destroyed my life because I am a very nice person. I work, I dance, I love my family… I love my grandchild who was born the same month when they did the big operation on me. I mean and after that…what I suffered at the hospital…infections, a lot of things happened to me…what happens to me now?
Steve: Elizabeth, how have you seen your mom’s life change over this period of time?
Elizabeth: Drastically. She’s always been a woman who takes very good care of herself. She goes to the doctor, checks up…and if this would have been dealt with appropriately from the beginning…
Steve: … it wouldn’t have been this bad.
Elizabeth: …we wouldn’t have had any of this happen. It would have been treated as a pre-cancerous cell usually gets treated and she would have continued living a normal life but due to this mistake by the laboratory its changed our lives completely. I mean I was pregnant 5 months when this started. My son was born and like she mentioned she had surgery a week later and it was just downhill from there. Five surgeries later she got an infection at the hospital. You know what it is to sit in a chair for nine months with one leg up. I mean we had to fly family in from Italy to help us take care of her because it was too much. Her sister took turns. The expenses have been astronomical. And the whole tradition of our family has changed. She is no longer able to be that mother who made Sunday lunches for the family anymore. She can’t go anywhere without the walker, wheelchair, or some sort of electrical device to help her.
Steve: You have to use this walker all of the time, right?
Maria: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss most about your life before?
Maria: My life before, like my daughter said, family…I love to dance. I can’t dance anymore. I had a normal life, beautiful. I was just a happy person, many friends; we’d go out. I used to have a boyfriend but after this I said, no more. I can’t give satisfaction to a man.
Elizabeth: Her self-esteem is low.
Maria: My self-esteem is down completely.
Steve: What do you see as justice for your case?
Elizabeth: At this point, I mean…
Steve: You have huge medical bills, don’t you?
Elizabeth: …medical bills, her lifestyle has changed…
Steve: You can’t work anymore.
Maria: No, no work. I can’t, I can’t. I have a lot of debts now.
Elizabeth: Now we’re full of debt. We all have help with the light bill and the mortgage…some sort of relief…
Steve: What has been the response of Quest Diagnostics for this whole thing?
Elizabeth: Absolutely none.
Steve: …because on their website it says, ‘we really care about our patients.’ Do you believe that?
Maria: I don’t believe anything, nothing. They’re liars, big liars!
Steve: This question is for the both of you: If you had a message to send to the people who made this mistake, Quest Diagnostics, what would that message be?
Elizabeth: Get your infrastructure in order and don’t make these kinds of mistakes because you ruin lives every time you do.
Maria: Every time they make a big mistake…you can never trust no doctor and no laboratory. Try to test 3 times at the laboratory. Try 3 different times because they can make big mistakes! I’m not alone. Many people are down from the mistakes made by this laboratory. Big mistake!
Steve: I want to thank you both for being on this show. This message is going to get out and it’s our best wishes for you.
Well, when you hear it from the horse’s mouth Maria really says what she means. This is a terrible case. How are you pursuing this case? What are you doing to win this case? What’s your strategy?
Stewart: We’re trying to show how this administrative error took place. We’ve taken the deposition of the president of the local Quest lab who really had no idea how the operation even works. Now we’re trying to…the court has given us permission to film how they process over 15,000 samples a night and they’ve appealed it. So once we win that appeal we’re going to go in and show how this error had occurred.
Steve: Because once you have that information, you can…because it’s a national laboratory, they process a large amount of biopsies and all kinds of tests and there is bound to be some errors. But some of these errors can be fatal, near fatal.
Stewart: And this one could have been. This is not a mistake where the doctor misread a slide, this was a mistake where somebody took a sample and put the wrong name on it and the wrong number on it.
Steve: Now you haven’t been able to get that other incorrect biopsy. Or you have the incorrect biopsy but you don’t know who it belongs to, do you?
Stewart: No, we don’t.
Steve: And they won’t give you that information. In other words, they’re not being helpful to try and correct the mistake.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: …which goes against their website theme which is ‘we care about our patients’ and all this other good stuff, right?
Mark: Yes, absolutely, and that’s something that we’re willing to address and that’s what we’re doing that now. We’re going to look under every stone and pursue this however we need to prove that really what happened here was really just a preventable mistake, really not a medical negligence mistake. It was an administrative error that should have never of taken place.
Steve: Just own up to it and take care of their medical bills, right?
Stewart: …and pay her for her lost wages.
Steve: …because she can’t work.
Stewart: …and her pain and suffering. You could see that she’s going back to doctors every six months. She’s got a fear of this sarcoma spreading and killing her. Her whole life has changed. She needs modifications done to her home. She can’t get up and down the stairs and getting in and out of the tub is a chore. There are many things that need to be changed in her life and her home as a result of this.
Steve: You know in the medical industry there are misdiagnosis all of the time. How do they normally occur?
Mark: There can be several causes. Usually it’s plain and simple carelessness. The vast majority of medical mistakes that we’ve encountered in our personal practice and our professional practice are just very preventable types of things: not reviewing patient histories, not reading labs correctly, simple mistakes that really unfortunately can have tragic effects on their patients, our clients.
Steve: Well, thank God you’re representing Maria and I want to thank both of you for being on the program today. You’re doing a terrific job.
Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.
End.

Young School Teacher Survives a Horrific Car and Trucking Accident in Miami. Highway Crashes- PT. 1

Title: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michelle Cardenas Story

Steve Murphy: On September 27, 2007 at 4 in the afternoon, 27 year old Michelle Cardenas, a popular middle school teacher was driving home in her Honda Civic on a four lane rural major highway entering Hialeah, fl. Parked on the right shoulder was an 18-wheeler truck driven by Rigoberto Machado hauling a load of plants from South Miami to various Walmarts. Machado, without warning, illegaly did the unbelievable. He pulled a U-Turn across the divided, double-lane highway causing Michelle’s car to unavoidably smash into the undercarriage of his 18-wheeler ripping the entire car’s roof off its hinges. Today, the Insider Exclusive presents the true story of the miraculous courage of Michelle Cardenas and how her lawyers Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone, partners at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone got justice for Michelle by clearly proving the discrepancies in the truck driver’s testimony and by demonstrating the correct and safe driving procedures for turning 18-wheelers around. Its earned them the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike as one of the best plaintiff trial lawyers in Florida and in the nation. They have seen many innocent, hardworking people suffer needless injury and because of that they are driven to help those who have been harmed by the negligent actions of others. Their goal: not only to get justice for Michelle but to make America’s highways safer and trucking companies and their insurance companies much more accountable.

Hi, I’m Steve Murphy and this is the Insider’s Exclusive live from Miami, Florida at the law firm of Greenberg and Stone.

TITLE OF VIDEO: Highway Accidents- Florida- The Michele Cardenas Story

Steve Murphy:
It is my great privilege to introduce Stewart Greenberg and Mark Stone to the show. Welcome to the show.
Stewart Greenberg/ Mark Stone: Thank you Steve.
Steve Murphy: Tell us a little bit about your firm.
Stewart: Our firm handles catastrophic, personal injury claims where people have either been injured or have lost a loved one through the negligence of another whether it be a trucking accident, whether it be a medical malpractice case, an airplane disaster, a motorcycle accident, car crash, cruise accident, things of that nature.
Steven Murphy: Basically, little guy against big guy, right...the David and Goliath kind of cases. Now, today we’re going to be talking about a rather horrific case; an 18-wheeler case with Michelle Cardenas. Tell us a little bit about this case?
Stewart: This is a tragedy. We represent a very young lady in her mid-twenties who was a school teacher on her way home from school on a Friday afternoon, minding her own business, doing nothing wrong, when an 18-wheeler decided to make U-turn across a 4-lane divided highway and her car went underneath the back of the trailer, came out the other side with its top ripped off. She was airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Ryder Trauma Center…
Steven Murphy: She was knocked out in that accident.
Stewart: She was unconscious and she had a glass glaucoma scale of 7. Which 15 is normal. 7’s survivability is probably under 20%-25%.
Steve Murphy: Explain to our audience what that means.
Stewart: The paramedics and doctors have certain tests they do on someone in the field and in the hospital to see about how alert they are neurologically and a 7 is a very low score on that scale and as a result she’s got permanent brain damage.
Steve: What has been the result of pursuing this case?
Mark: Well, in terms of the results of the client, fortunately we were able to reach a settlement on her behalf which should enable Michelle to get a great deal of her life back. Unfortunately, she has a diffuse axonal injury which is an injury to the axons which is structures, microscopic structures, between the gray and the white matter. Once their ripped or torn they don’t repair themselves. So, we feel fortunate that we were able to get her a sum of money which is going to allow her to regain some normalcy in her life.
Steve Murphy: Right. As a result of this accident she can no longer teach.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve Murphy: Will she have the capability of teaching?
Stewart: She probably, according to our experts, is really unemployable. She can only handle very menial tasks, right now, she helps out with the family business but her ability to stay focused…her executive functions have severely been compromised.
Steve: We have with us today both her, as well as her dad, in the studio and I’d like to bring out her dad first so we can talk a little bit about the challenges that they as a family face and her. So, let’s do that right now.
Steve: It’s my great pleasure to introduce Gabriel Cardenas, the father of Michelle. Welcome to the show.
Gabriel Cardenas: Thank you.
Steve: Take us back to that day, when you first heard that your daughter was involved in this horrible accident and had been airlifted to the hospital. What were your thoughts as a father?
Gabriel: It was very painful because in this case we did not know what had happened. The hospital could not reach us until about 10 o’clock at night and the phone rang in the neighbor’s house; he came over to our house and knocked on the door really loud, like in a panic. We did not know what had happened or if something was wrong with him. As it turned out, he just said that Jackson Hospital had called and that Michelle was there and we needed to go there immediately because Michelle was involved in an accident but they won’t tell you anymore on the phone or anything. So when we went into the Emergency, actually it wasn’t the Emergency, it was the Life Resuscitation area where she was. We saw her there all strapped with all kinds of wires. It was very painful. She was in a coma, completely. She was gone several times. But we were lucky that she came out of it little by little. That was the beginning…
Steve: How long did it take so that she was kind of conscious?
Gabriel: No, it took several days before she was conscious. And even then she seemed to be conscious but she didn’t remember anything in the hospital which was like 3 ½ weeks but she was in this resuscitation area for close to 36 hours I believe
Steve: When you say she didn’t remember anything in the hospital what are the things she didn’t remember?
Gabriel: Nothing. It’s hard for her to remember…
Steve: Did she remember who she was?
Gabriel: Well, when she was in the hospital they would ask her the requirements necessary so that she could be moved out of the resuscitation area into emergency then into the brain injury wing, was that she had to respond to her name: What’s your name? Also, to try to remember what day it was. It took her like 3 days before she could guess what day it was, where she was. Of course, she was sleeping or knocked out for the first few hours.
Steve: As a father, not being able to do anything it must be very painful, excruciatingly painful.
Gabriel: It’s very, very difficult to go through that pain. You see your dream, your daughter there… very difficult…that some nut went around and did some stupid thing, carelessly, and has ruined her life. And you sit there and you can’t do anything about it. You know and these people didn’t call to see how she was. Never! Not in the hospital or at home, during these 3 years. Never! How’s Michelle? Never! Very sad…
Steve: Stewart was the extent of her brain injuries?
Stewart: The doctors consider them moderate to severe and Michelle has been remarkable. She’s worked very, very hard with her Mom, with her dad, with her sister, and with her brother to get back as much function as possible. But she’ll never be the same, unfortunately. This has changed her life forever.
Steve: She was a middle school teacher.
Gabriel: Yes, she was a specialist in literature, English Literature.
Steve: She loves literature. I was talking to her before the show and she was saying her favorite author was Virginia Wolfe.
Gabriel: She loves writing poems.
Steve: Now she cannot teach anymore but she works with your family business?
Gabriel: Well, she helps a little bit…she doesn’t really work a lot because she still has a lot of problems due to her brain injury. One of the problems she has is short-term memory loss. So, she’ll forget things that happened yesterday or things that happened a few hours ago. She’ll keep asking me how to do something that she’d do every day.
Steve: Is she able to go places by herself?
Gabriel: Right now, we drive her around ourselves. We don’t want to her to drive yet. She can function partially well. The main thing is some of the problems she has with her brain is she has problems with concentration. It’s hard for her to concentrate.
Steve: We have her with us in the studio and we’re going to bring her on right now.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Michelle. Welcome to the show, Michelle.
Michelle: Thank you.
Steve: What an ordeal. Your dad was talking about how he felt as a father. I could understand perfectly what he was saying. Take us back to that day, the day of the accident. Do you remember anything about it?
Michelle: Absolutely nothing.
Steve: Nothing. You don’t even remember approaching the truck or anything?
Michelle: No.
Steve: And what are your first remembrances as you were in the hospital.
Michelle: I was in the hospital for about a month and I only slightly remember about the last two days and that’s very, very vague.
Steve: Did you know why you were in the hospital?
Michelle: From what they told me that I was in an accident. Only from what people were telling me, I don’t remember anything that happened.
Steve: Now that you realize what had happened to you, what do you understand about what happened to you as a result of this accident?
Michelle: As the result of this accident I have brain trauma.
Steve: And what does that mean exactly to you?
Michelle: What do you mean, exactly?
Steve: I mean how has it affected you?
Michelle: In so many ways, I mean I don’t even know where to begin.
Steve: Okay, you were a middle school teacher before, in literature, right?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: I think some of your kids sent you cards like this one. You want to hold this up for the camera. It reads “We miss you, Ms. C,” is that right?
Michelle: Yeah.
Steve: You remember teaching?
Michelle: Yes.
Steve: What do you miss about it?
Michelle: That’s like when they told me that I couldn’t teach…that was the worst thing they could have told me, ever. That was just the worst thing ever. It wasn’t necessarily what I had gone to school for. I had gotten a degree in English Literature. The first job that was offered to me was this teaching job. I was in the process of getting certified but it was definitely my vocation. I loved it and when they told me that it was something I couldn’t do because of the brain trauma that was something that really struck me. It was horrible, horrible.
Steve: What was the best thing you liked about teaching?
Michelle: It was just being able to reaching young minds.
Steve: Open them up to good literature…
Michelle: Exactly, yes, and I guess because I am so young I had a connection with them and they were able to learn in different ways. Just the fact that I can’t do that now is just the worst.
Steve: Do you sometimes think that maybe in the future you might be able to do this?
Michelle: I hope so. There are a lot of people that defy…
Steve: Right, you are a miracle, aren’t you?
Michelle: Right.
Steve: I think your dad was saying it’s truly amazing what happened. We’ve seen the pictures and our audience have too of what happened to your car and the roof… was gone, totally gone.
Gabriel: Yes.
Steve: Your lawyers recently settled the case. What’s your opinion of your lawyers?
Michelle: The best!
Steve: Yeah, you know because no one wants to take responsibility here, do they? The trucking company, like you said, hasn’t called in 3 years. I watched the deposition of the truck driver and at one time he broke down and I couldn’t figure out if it was because he had lost his job or because he caused this accident, you know?
Gabriel: He was very unconcerned.
Steve: You look like you’re thinking. What are you thinking about?
Michelle: Oh, I was just thinking about this man who had totally changed my life and he never even once thought...
Steve: Rigoberto Machado. Never thought at all… did you watch those depositions?
Michelle: No, but I was there, for my depositions I mean. Like at the mediation, he was there, and…
Gabriel: We spare her the pain of watching some of this. Even the car pictures; she hasn’t seen those, at all.
Michelle: No, thank God.
Gabriel: We’ve kept them away from her and the lawyers have them.
Steve: Well, you are an amazing individual. I’m glad you were able to spend some time with us today. You inspire other people, no matter what happens to them they know they’ll always have a shot. And I want to thank you very much for spending your time with us.
They’re amazing clients, aren’t they?
Stewart: They are.
Steve: She is an amazing individual and I can understand that she inspired you to win this case. Tell us how you won the case.
Stewart: We won it with a lot of hardwork. We really won it because of her. We won it by getting the best experts, by doing animations, by interviewing witnesses, and by forensically showing how this accident happened.
Steve: Now, the key person in this was the truck driver on the defense’s side and fortunately you did a lot of video depositions. We’re going to show a few of them. For example, he admits that he made an illegal turn.
Stewart: What does it say about making right turns from the right shoulder or making U-turns from the right shoulder of the road?
Rigoberto Machado(Translator): Well, that’s illegal.
Stewart: So, the move that you were making was illegal.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): It can be done but you shouldn’t do it.
Steve: Also, I was amazed when you asked him in this deposition whose fault it was and he said what?
Stewart: He blamed my client. He blamed Michelle.
Steve: And we have a certain segment of that and we’ll show that right now.
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): I myself don’t consider myself to be at fault for this accident.
Stewart: Who do you consider to be the cause for this accident?
Rigoberto Machado (Translator): The girl who crashed.
Steve: They’re position from the beginning was that it was her fault. Wasn’t it?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: How did they figure that? Was that just their position because they didn’t want to pay or what was the rationale?
Mark: Well, Steve, yeah I think they didn’t want to pay but ultimately I think what it came down to was that she was so badly injured that she had no recollection of the accident. And I think at the end of the day they wanted to use that against her. In other words, she wasn’t able to explain what she did to avoid the accident and that’s what they were going to try to rely on and fortunately it didn’t work.
Steve: Now this case was settled.
Stewart: Correct, on the eve of trial.
Steve: On the eve of trial. And how long had the preparation been from the date you got the case to the date of trial?
Stewart: It was exactly 3 years from the date of the accident. We didn’t get the case for a month. The parents were too concerned about their daughter than to even hire a lawyer. We had two trial dates previously and at the last moment the defense got emergency continuances. So we would have been ready to go 18 months after the accident but we were put off that long.
Steve: Now, that seems a little unfair to your client where they get continuances that extend it, 18 months?
Stewart: Yes.
Steve: Well, why does the judge go along with that program?
Mark: Well, unfortunately, it’s delay, delay, delay.
Steve: But how many times can they delay it? You’re smiling…
Stewart: As many as they can, as often as they can.
Steve: Doesn’t a judge step up or something and say you know something, this is too many delays?
Stewart: Well, understand that judges have over a thousand cases. They have just with the foreclosure crisis in Miami-Dade County some 6,000 cases. Their calendars are booked and we try to fight for trial dates, actually. In this case, we claimed we had a 3-week trial with a lot of witnesses and we needed to go.
Steve: So, the foreclosure crisis is causing a crisis for getting other cases heard.
Mark: Sure, it’s just caused an influx of cases of litigation into the court system.
Steve: The insurance companies know that…
Mark: Sure, and they use that to delay and put off settlements.
Steve: Now you said it was settled on the eve of trial. Tell us that day what happened.
Stewart: I got a call from an adjustor Friday afternoon and basically we spoke all weekend long and on Sunday we finally resolved the case.
Steve: They came back with an initial lowball offer.
Stewart: They lowballed this case literally till 11:59pm.
Steve: On Sunday evening.
Stewart: On Sunday evening.
Mark: It was the day before trial.
Steve: And on 11:59pm you were talking to the lawyers on the other side.
Stewart: Just about, yeah.
Steve: Okay, now, words have been exchanged on the telephone, how do you know the next morning you’re going to wake up and they’re going to recall the conversation or they’re going to disclaim they never said it. When do you get things in writing?
Stewart: We went in front of the judge the next morning and went on the record and asked for the settlement, how much, and the terms of the settlement.
Steve: And this is a confidential settlement.
Stewart: That’s correct.
Steve: And so the judge gives you how long to draw it up so our audience understands…
Stewart: We drew it up that day.
Steve: And part of the settlement is that they have to pay within a certain period of time.
Stewart: Correct. That’s part of terms of the settlement agreement.
Steve: And obviously they paid.
Stewart: They paid and our client has been funded.
Steve: But there are people who write up settlements that don’t pay within that period of time.
Stewart: We’ve had it this year. We’ve had to go to court a number of times to enforce settlements where we get attorney fees, costs and interest, for making them pass.
Steve: Yeah, well you guys did an outstanding job and I’m glad you did because Michelle’s a great person so is her dad. And thank you very much for being on the program.
Stewart: Thank you for having us.
Mark: Nice to be here.
Steve: Thanks for joining us. You can find more information about our guest and the issues at InsiderExclusive.com.

To Schedule a Free Consultation with Greenberg and Stone, call 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400. You can visit us at www.sgglaw.com.

End.





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