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$1,950,000 Awarded in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit to Man Injured During Surgery

The plaintiff was having surgery to remove a tumor which was compressing his optic nerve. During the surgery, our client suffered a stroke as a result of the actions of the surgeon. Our client was left with partial paralysis on his left side.

Court and County
Supreme Court, Bronx County

Description of Plaintiff
At the time of the incident, Plaintiff was a 27-year-old unemployed truck driver who had lived in the Bronx his entire life.

Description of Case
Our client began to experience headaches and blurry vision in his left eye. When he went to see an ophthalmologist, he was told that he had swelling of the brain. Eventually, it was discovered that our client was suffering from a benign, non-cancerous tumor in his brain. The tumor was pushing against our client’s optic nerves and causing a loss of vision in both eyes, but primarily the left eye. As our client’s eyesight worsened due to the growing tumor, he discussed undergoing a surgery to remove the tumor, which would relieve the pressure on his optic nerves and reduce the pressure being placed on the brain.

Our client underwent a surgery to attempt to remove the tumor. This operation was unsuccessful, and the tumor continued to put pressure on the optic nerve. The only option was for our client to undergo a second surgery. During the second surgery, the surgeons decided it best to perform a craniotomy to get better access to the non-cancerous tumor. A craniotomy is a surgery in which the surgeon temporarily removes a part of the skull bone to have access to the brain. This would give the surgeon a better angle to deal with the tumor.

Unfortunately, the surgeons were not careful and made many errors before and during the surgery. Before the surgery even took place, the surgeons failed to conduct an arteriogram or an angiogram. An arteriogram is a procedure that produces an image of your arteries and an angiogram is a diagnostic test that uses X-rays to take pictures of your blood vessels. The idea behind both of these tests is to give the surgeons a clear picture of the brain and allow them to carefully avoid the blood vessels and arteries during the surgery. These two procedures were considered a necessity for an area of the brain that is highly vascular in nature. This failure became extremely costly during the surgery.

Additional mistakes were made during the surgery as well. The surgeons’ goal in performing the craniotomy was to stop the compression on the optic nerve to give sight back to our client, not to remove the entire tumor. During the surgery, the surgeons achieved their goal of alleviating the pressure and had removed the core of the tumor, but one noticed adhesions to parts of the brain. The surgeon thought it would be best to remove those harmless adhesions on the far side of the brain. The issue was that the surgeon did not have a clear view of those adhesions and made an error.

During the operation, and as a result of the surgical error, a bleed occurred from the anterior choroidal artery, causing our client to suffer an intra-operative stroke. When our client awoke in the operating room, he could not feel the entire left side of his body, as it had been paralyzed, and he had no vision in his left eye.

Injuries and Damages
As a result of the procedure our client was left with partial paralysis on the left side of his body, no vision in his left eye, and no useful movement of his left arm. He cannot voluntarily open or close his left hand and he needs to use a cane to walk.

Settlement and Verdict Amount
Plaintiff was awarded a settlement of $1,950,000 from the primary surgeon. At trial, Plaintiff received a verdict of $9,800,000 against the assistant surgeon.

Handling Attorneys
This case was handled by Partners Daniel P. O’Toole and S. Joseph Donahue.

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