Smiley & Smiley, LLP

$9.1 million medical malpractice award goes to surgical patient

Surgical error continues to be a leading cause of medical negligence claims, both in New York and other states. When surgery leads to an unanticipated catastrophic result, with no explanation other than the negligence of the surgeon or anesthesiologist, there is a likelihood that the medical malpractice claim will prevail. When a jury enters the final verdict in a case that could not be settled, it is generally based on the whole array of evidence indicating surgical error, including the testimony of prominent medical experts on behalf of the plaintiff.

That expert testimony will not only support the plaintiff's theory of the doctor's negligence committed in the procedure, but will also verify that the doctor's negligence was a substantial cause of the plaintiff's injuries. Recently, a jury in another state awarded a 51-year-old man $9.1 million against his anesthesiologist after a trial on the issue of improper handling of the pre-surgery protocol. That negligence resulted in spinal cord injury to the plaintiff and what appears to be permanent paralysis of both legs.

The doctors were set to perform surgery for a perforated bowel. It was alleged that the  defendant anesthesiologist wrongly ceased treating the plaintiff for dehydration prior to the surgery, while starting him on anesthesia an hour before the surgery. This allegedly caused the blood pressure to drop and cut off the adequate flow of blood to the spinal cord, which resulted in traumatic paralysis of the spinal cord area related to the legs.  

The plaintiff's attorney stated after the verdict that the award would allow the plaintiff to re-start his therapy, which had been cut off due to lack of funds. He stated that the plaintiff would now have the resources to live a relatively independent life. Medical malpractice in New York and elsewhere is proved by showing that the defendant's treatment provided fell below the minimum standard of care required by the anesthesiology profession under similar circumstances.

Source: bradenton.com, "Mechanic wins $9.1 million in medical malpractice lawsuit", Oct. 17, 2015

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