When the Infotech Consulting team was asked to provide services for a pediatric cancer case against the University of New Mexico, it presented new challenges that ultimately increased our opportunities for collaboration and innovation – two of the things our team loves most about the work they do.
For nearly two decades, litigation surrounding this tragic case has been ongoing. Plaintiffs consisting of patients, parents and surviving siblings of pediatric cancer patients who presented for treatment at UNMH alleged the hospital’s negligence in failing to maintain adequate protocols and allowing improper treatment protocols to be administered to pediatric cancer patients for 20 years. They claimed this negligence led to children losing their best chance for survival or a better outcome.
Dr. Jim McClave and Infotech Consulting were hired by plaintiffs to collaborate with two well-known experts, Dr. W. Kip Viscusi and Dr. M. Brian McDonald, to calculate damages caused by UNMH’s failure to use the proper protocol; an amount intended to provide some compensation for the loss suffered by these families.
Unlike many malpractice suits that focus on compensating the victim for losses and injuries incurred or reasonably likely to occur in the future, the Infotech Consulting team used the data to evaluate the lost chance of a better outcome due to the negligent cancer treatment children received.
Over five years (2014-2019), Dr. McClave wrote three expert reports and sat for two depositions. Ultimately, in concert with Dr. Viscusi’s lost chance of survival calculations and Dr. McDonald’s measures of the value of statistical life, Dr. McClave presented three methodologies to calculate class damages.
In August 2020, the surviving family members of the deceased plaintiffs reached a settlement agreement with the hospital for $38 million. Just four months later, the Court certified two classes: a medical monitoring class and a damages class. The case is still pending.
Working on a case of this nature and magnitude was far from easy for our team, who took the gravity of the outcomes to heart and mind. But the opportunity for collaboration and innovation with our fellow experts in the field helped to bring this case one step closer to resolution for all of those impacted.
Maria Cummings, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Shaun Michael Chavez, et al v. Board of Regents of The University of New Mexico, et al (2001 N.M 2nd Dist. Ct.)