THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2017, 2:54 PM

$20 Million Personal Injury Settlement: Synopsis of the Physical, Psychological and Psychiatric Injuries Suffered

As a result of his workplace injury claimant Paulo Suarez alleged that he suffered multiple facial fractures; respiratory failure; a coma; a severe traumatic brain injury with subarachnoid hemorrhage and a diffuse axonal injury; all of which resulted in residual, permanent cognitive, memory, and behavioral (psychological and psychiatric) impairments, including but not limited to an adjustment disorder and bi-polar mood disorder, with manic and psychotic features secondary to traumatic brain injury and exacerbated by the side effects of necessary mood stabilizing medications, left-sided weakness and generalized slowing.

Claimant-plaintiff Paulo Suarez asserted at his damage trial that as a result of the workplace accident on July 13, 2011, he suffered a several traumatic brain injury as well as other permanent physical, psychological, social, and occupational impairments including upper extremity tremors, impaired speech quality, and impaired memory and cognition. Claimant-plaintiff further asserted that he still requires and will continue to require medical and nursing care, rehabilitation therapy and psychiatric and psychological therapy.  Further, as a result of his injuries claimant-plaintiff has become permanently disabled and unable to work, and has sustained a substantially diminished quality of life and will need constant supervision and assistance from a therapeutic aide and/or his family, and will require appropriate care and treatment throughout his life expectancy of some 50+ more years (approximately age 74). Claimant-plaintiff sought compensation for past and future pain and suffering; impairment of earning capacity; and past and future medical expenses.Claimant was hospitalized at the Westchester Medical Center from July 13, 2011 through August 8, 2011.  He was discharged to Helen Hayes Hospital from August 8, 2011 through December 30, 2011.  From January 2012 through August 2012 he received out-patient therapy at Burke Rehabilitation Center.  From February 2013 to the present date Paulo has received and continues to receive transitional rehabilitation therapy at Helen Hayes in the day program, Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There have been two separate occasions when Paulo was hospitalized for depression.  He was first hospitalized for depression on 3/7/16 at Montefiore Mt. Vernon Hospital, and was discharged on 3/11/16.  He was more recently hospitalized from October 13, 2016 through November 2, 2016 at the Westchester Medical Center Psychiatric Department.

As a result of his workplace injury claimant alleged at his damage trial  he suffered respiratory failure; a coma; a severe traumatic brain injury with subarachnoid hemorrhage and a diffuse axonal injury; all of which resulted in residual, permanent cognitive, memory, and behavioral (psychological and psychiatric) impairments, including but not limited to an adjustment disorder and  bi-polar mood disorder, with manic and psychotic features secondary to traumatic brain injury and exacerbated by the side effects of necessary mood stabilizing medications, left-sided weakness and generalized slowing; ventilator associated pneumonia; dysphagia; multi-facial trauma including a comminuted right mastoid fracture; a right mandible fracture with right parasymphyseal fracture requiring jaw wiring; a resultant right facial droop and facial deformity; an avulsion fracture which nearly took off his ear; a temporal bone fracture; Achilles lengthening procedure; spastic right hemiparesis; spasticity of the right upper and lower extremities; a permanent, resultant right hemiparetic gait; botox injections for spasticity; persistent and often incapacitating tremors of the upper and lower extremities, and a urinary tract infection.


Claimant argued that the record supports the conclusion that Paulo does not verbalize physical pain often even when the he appears to be in obvious pain to the treatment staff. On the other hand, the caregivers always tried to stay ahead of the pain, and he was consistently on morphine (and acetaminophen) throughout his stay at Westchester Medical Center. And when he was admitted to Helen Hayes Hospital on 8/08/11 after being discharged from Westchester Medical Center, the morphine was discontinued and Tylenol was instituted for mild to moderate  pain and oxycontin was substituted for morphine via Helen Hayes protocol for severe pain. Paulo remained on oxycontin after he was discharged home after leaving Helen Hayes. Indeed when Paulo saw Dr. Seliger in his first clinic visit after he had started Burke in January 2012, he was still on oxycontin and was trying to taper off at home.


Paulo‚Äôs current treatment includes regular visits with his neurologist, psychiatrist, therapist and attending a traumatic brain injury day program at Helen Hayes Hospital.  Paulo has a personal care aide and needs transportation to and from all of his program and appointments. 


Click here for more information on the $20 million Suarez settlement

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