Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Appeals Court Delays Recovery in Med Mal Case

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Sep 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Medical malpractice cases can take a long time. There are multiple parties involved, as doctors, surgeons, and hospitals figure out who was not involved in the negligent care. The discovery process involves going through thousands of pages of medical records, testimony, and expert reports. All of this can take 2 or 3 years, or more, before a case goes to trial. 

When an injury victim's case finally gets to trial and the jury finds in their favor, awarding them money for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, it can be a great relief. Unfortunately, when the negligent doctor appeals the decision, it can further drag out the case.  

Appeals Court Delays Victim's Recovery

Victoria Little, of Belcamp, underwent an aortobifemoral bypass surgery. The procedure was intended to repair a blocked aorta by using a graft to connect the aorta to the femoral artery, bypassing the blocked portion of the aorta. 

During the procedure, the surgeons were unable to complete the bypass as planned and changed the procedure to an axillobifemoral bypass. The surgeons claimed they had to change the procedure because of the diseased condition of the aorta. 

After the surgery, Little suffered injuries to her kidney, liver, heart, lounge, and spinal cord. Little was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down, without normal bowel or bladder control. She filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeons involved. 

After the trial, the jury found in favor or Little, awarding her over $2.8 million in damages. The jury found the surgery was performed improperly and Little suffered harm as a result. After the verdict, the doctor appealed the decision, delaying Little's chance to put this tragedy even behind her. 

As part of the appeal, the doctor argued the court was wrong in prohibiting CAT scan evidence and allowing the jury to hear that the doctor was not board-certified in vascular surgery. The appellate court agreed with the doctor, returning the case for a re-trial. 

CAT Scan Evidence and Board Certification

The doctor argued that the CAT scan should have been admissible because it would have determined the size of the chosen graft. However, Little's lawyer argued that the CAT scan was not even brought up during discovery and was not provided until just before the trial began. 

The doctor also did not want the jury to hear that he was not board certified. The doctor complained that when he began practicing medicine, vascular surgery was not a separate board. However, when certification for vascular surgery was created, the doctor never sought to be certified. 

Recovering Damages After a Medical Error

Damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit should include any losses or costs associated with the injury. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The doctors and hospitals responsible for causing the injury should be responsible for paying the price of their actions. 

If you have questions about a negligent medical procedure that caused an injury, contact Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation. Fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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