Kakos v. Defendant ENT/Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

  • Circuit Court of Cook County (Judge Donald Suriano)04/23/2014
    Counsel: Sherri M. Arrigo
    Client: Defendant ENT/Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
    Outcome: Verdict in Favor of Defendant

Synopsis:

On April 23, 2014, DBMS obtained a defense verdict for an ENT/Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon.

The plaintiff underwent a revision rhinoplasty surgery due to collapse of her nasal airway in November 2008.  The surgeon harvested rib cartilage to rebuild nasal structures and banked leftover cartilage for possible future use in a pocket created behind the plaintiff's right ear.  The plaintiff immediately developed "excruciating" pain in her head and the surgeon removed the banked cartilage in January 2009. When she still complained of pain, the surgeon injected anti-inflammatory medication.  

At the next and last office visit, no complaints were noted.  Subsequently the plaintiff was diagnosed with occipital neuritis, which she claims caused chronic pain syndrome that has altered her life. Her treating physicians attributed the problem to the banking surgery.  Ultimately she underwent surgery to remove part of the occipital nerve, leaving a large area of numbness and unpleasant sensations in her head and neck.  Pathology revealed that cartilage remained in her head and was "suggestive but not diagnostic" of a traumatic neuroma to the occipital nerve.

The plaintiff alleged that she never consented to the banking procedures and that the defendant surgeon negligently failed to remove all of the cartilage at the subsequent procedures, causing compression on the occipital nerve and leading to her occipital neuritis and chronic pain syndrome.  

The defense contended that the plaintiff consented to banking cartilage after being informed of the risks and benefits of the procedure and that the surgeon appropriately removed all visible and palpable cartilage in the pocket when the plaintiff complained of pain.  The defense further argued that no scientific evidence has linked banking cartilage with the plaintiff's claimed injuries. At trial, the reviewing pathologist acknowledged that, contrary to the pathology report, the occipital nerve removed was normal.  

After three hours of thoughtful deliberation, the jury returned a verdict for the defendant.