Testimonial for Russell Kussman from Erin Hernandez
Faith in God and Attorney
Erin Hernandez has strong faith in God. Religious faith sustains her when coping with 2-1/2 year-old son Alex, who became afflicted with cerebral palsy, due to loss of oxygen in the hospital delivery room. Expecting a normal vaginal birth as she had experienced some 9 years earlier with her second child, Thomas, Erin, instead, underwent an emergency Cesarean section. This confusing change of procedure led to infant Alex losing oxygen for about 12 minutes.
An optimist by nature, Erin prayed fervently for the 10 percent chance that Alex would turn out fine after 18 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Unfortunately, that depravation permanently damaged his brain.
Fortunately, however, Erin retained the services Attorney Russell Kussman, M.D., whose firm, Kussman and Whitehill, helped her and husband Louie receive an arbitration settlement of $2.25 million from a large health maintenance organization (HMO). That sum pays for Alex's ongoing therapy and will help him lead as normal a life as possible as he grows to adulthood.
The Hernandez family initially engaged the services of another attorney - one who was unfamiliar with cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. In October 2001, they became uneasy that the attorney - however well intentioned - lacked the necessary experience to obtain a fair settlement.
Since Erin worked as a legal secretary, she began asking colleagues about attorneys who specialize in plaintiff medical malpractice. A senior partner at her office referred her to the Kussman and Whitehill firm in Los Angeles. Ironically, Erin had seen Russell Kussman's name numerous times on the Internet regarding birth injury cases. She and Louie are very grateful they found him.
Their two older children, 13-year-old Amber and 11-year-old Thomas lovingly help take care of their brother, easing the pressure on their parents.
Says Erin with her characteristic faith: "It's awful when mistakes happen, but they do happen. We're still with that HMO, and we dwell on the positive side of life."
TESTIMONIAL FROM A GRATEFUL CLIENT
A Father's Love; An Attorney's Skill
A loving father and an astute attorney have given a young lady hope, strength and courage even though her life will never be the same again. Thanks to her father - we will call him Jim -- and Attorney Russell Kussman, the 20-year-old brain-damaged woman now has an oasis of opportunity: a seven-figure settlement to help her live as normal a life as possible despite the tragedy.
The young lady - we will call her Anne-Marie - became brain damaged from an overdose of anesthesia at a Southern California abortion clinic. When she developed pulmonary cardiac arrest on the operating table, clinic staff called paramedics, who restarted her heart and rushed her to a major medical center. For several weeks, she could not speak, eat, drink, or walk. She also became incontinent.
After several weeks of hospitalization, Anne-Marie was transferred to a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility where she gradually relearned basic life skills. Her memory, however, remains impaired and she cannot hold down a regular job.
"She has a permanent disability," says Jim. "The frontal lobe of her brain was affected, and she has difficulty processing information as well as short term memory lapses."
When the devastating incident occurred, Jim, a financial analyst, sought the advice of his friend, a chief executive officer at a medical group practice. The CEO referred Jim to an attorney who defends doctors and hospitals against medical malpractice claims. "Who are you afraid of going up against in court, and who would you choose if you were in my situation?" asked Jim. "Russell Kussman," the attorney replied with a mixture of trepidation and respect. Jim soon met with Russell and asked him to review his case.
Jim was pleased to learn that while Dr. Kussman was tough with his opponents, he was tender with clients. "Russ was always there for us," recalls Jim. "He was very organized, structured, and thorough; he never missed any deadlines. He was always available when I had questions. Also, he poured through medical records like a pro; after all, he is a doctor. Perhaps best of all, he is a masterful negotiator."
Now, Jim watches proudly as Anne-Marie rebuilds her life. She is attending classes to learn how to better cope with her limitations. She has purchased a condominium, so she can live independently, and she plans to volunteer at a senior citizen center.
"Thanks to Russ she has a secure financial future", says Jim. "She isn't the same as before the injury, but she learning how to cope with her disability. She's happy, she's alive, and we're grateful."