Plaintiff v. Defendant Surgeon

Synopsis:

DBMS successfully defended a cardiovascular surgeon and his surgical group in a case involving aortic valve surgery, which resulted in the patient’s death immediately following the procedure.

The decedent was a 70-year-old woman diagnosed with a rare, benign cardiac tumor on her aortic valve. The defendant surgeon performed open heart surgery to remove the tumor. Near the end of surgery, profuse bleeding was encountered and identified to be emanating from a large venous vessel in the posterior of the heart, the coronary sinus. This is a known complication of this type of surgery, but it is a dreaded one, as the location makes repair difficult. 

The plaintiff contended that the defendant surgeon was negligent in his strategy of repair – that he should have used a technique that would have enhanced his vision and stabilized the heart while repairs were attempted.

The defense contended that repairing the heart while in motion does not affect the ability to visualize and perform repair but that the location made it difficult to fully close the ruptured vessel. 

The plaintiff asked for $5 million.

The jury deliberated only one hour and fifteen minutes before returning a defense verdict.