$6M Settlement: Animating Failure to Examine and Treat Malignant Melanoma

Robert Phillips, Esq., McGowan, Hood & Felder, Rock Hill, SC

After a doctor removed a mole from a patient’s chest, he failed to send the tissue to a pathology lab - despite reporting in his notes “biopsy to be sent out today” and “no news is good news.”

A year later - after the mole had grown to twice the size of the original - a biopsy determined it to be a malignant melanoma. The untreated tumor had grown deep into the patient’s skin, entered his lymph nodes, and spread to his lungs, liver, spleen, and brain. After undergoing a year of aggressive treatment’s with ferociously painful side effects, the patient died.

Robert Phillps, Esq., needed a visual presentation that would help his audience understand how the tumor spread throughout his client’s body, and how the delay in treatment resulted in the patient undergoing painfully aggressive medications that would exacerbate his pain and suffering for a year before he died.

We worked with Mr. Phillips and Christina Hedges, RN CEN, to build the following animations. The visual presentation helped Mr. Phillips return his client’s family a $6M settlement, which is believed to be one of, if not the, largest non-economic damage medical malpractice settlements in the history of South Carolina.

Robert Phillips, Esq., and Christina Hedges, RN CEN, explain what it’s like to work with High Impact.

Robert Phillips, Esq., McGowan, Hood & Felder, Rock Hill, SC
The animation that I showed the Defense made such an impact, they came with multi-seven-figure settlement authority for a non-economic case in South Carolina, and the mediator said, 'They hated your presentation and they know they've got a problem, and they know they didn't bring enough money.' I don't have any doubt in my mind that this animation was the kick to the gut that sent them back to get more authority on this case.
Robert Phillips, Esq., McGowan, Hood & Felder, Rock Hill, SC

Exhibit A: How the Melanoma Spread to Vital Organs

The first animation demonstrates how the untreated tumor grew deep into the hypodermis layer of the patient’s skin, where cancerous cells penetrated lymph nodes and spread throughout his circulatory system to vital organs. If the melanoma had been treated before it reached these lymphatic vessels, cancer could have been prevented from reaching vital organs.

This animation shows how the untreated melanoma spread to vital organs.

The animation concludes with a series of colorized CT Scans and MRI’s that highlight exactly where cancer formed in his spleen, kidney, lungs, and brain. Anchoring the audience’s understanding of where these tumors were located helped reinforce the gravity of damages the patient suffered before death, as a direct result of gross negligence.

Christina Hedges, RN CEN, President of ADROIT Medical Litigation Resource, Inc.
The quality of High Impact is paramount. When you work with other companies, and I have, the quality is not the same; the accuracy is not there. At the end of the day, if you want a quality product it's High Impact.
Christina Hedges, RN CEN, President of ADROIT Medical Litigation Resource, Inc.

Exhibit B: How Aggressive Treatments Intensified Suffering

After demonstrating how the untreated melanoma advanced to damage the patient’s organs, the next animation shows the aggressive treatments he would need to undergo while outlining the painful side effects each medication caused for the patient throughout his body.

This animation outlines the painful side effects of the patient’s aggressive treatments.

In light of the rapid progression of cancer, his treatment was changed several times to different combinations of drugs that would cause double-vision, muscle pain, joint pains, fever, sharp stinging pain, and problems tasting food. He was eventually put on an experimental research drug that caused nausea, mouth inflammation, and hand and foot syndrome. He was taken off the drug after he became profoundly symptomatic.

Despite the aggressive treatments, the patient’s melanoma continued to advance until the patient died one year after being diagnosed with cancer.

Robert Phillips, Esq., McGowan, Hood & Felder, Rock Hill, SC
I was very pleased working with you guys that we had such interaction. Talking with our experts, you guys were very responsive at making changes so that it accurately reflected what the medical records said.
Robert Phillips, Esq., McGowan, Hood & Felder, Rock Hill, SC

High Impact’s team of visual strategists, artists and developers can build and customize your digital presentation for any case involving personal injury, medical malpractice, birth trauma - or any subject involving complex information.

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