Congratulations to Senior Trial Partner Mark McAndrew, Esq. and Partner Micah Friedberg, Esq. for their March 2020 medical malpractice defense verdict in Supreme Court, following a two-week jury trial before the Honorable Richard Mott in Ulster County.
In the case, Plaintiff, a 65 year-old metal worker, underwent exploratory hand surgery to remove a foreign body and repair tendon damage after sustaining a work-related injury. Our client, the anesthesiologist for the procedure, administered a left supraclavicular nerve block under ultrasonic guidance without complication. However, approximately five weeks later, the plaintiff returned to the surgery center complaining of left hand, arm, and shoulder pain and approximately two weeks after that, Plaintiff presented to his orthopedic surgeon with “significant winging of the left scapula” and “some winging of his right scapula,” which the physician related to the subject nerve block. Over the next four years, Plaintiff was examined by multiple orthopedic surgeons, all of whom attributed the scapula winging to an injury to the long thoracic nerved caused by our client during the block. During that time, Plaintiff also underwent four separate EMGs and nerve conduction studies, all of which demonstrated polyneuropathy, including bilateral median and ulnar nerve, left femoral nerve, and left long thoracic nerve involvement. Plaintiff’s counsel asked for $1.3 million during summation.
The defense countered the overwhelming documentation of an iatrogenic injury using digital demonstrative exhibits, including a custom animation, to demonstrate that the long thoracic nerve is so anatomically remote from the location of the block that it would be virtually, if not entirely, impossible to contact the long thoracic nerve with the block needle. The defense called a Board-certified regional anesthesia expert to explain the brachial plexus anatomy to the jury and a double Board-certified neurology/neurophysiology expert to offer an alternative explanation for the plaintiff’s symptoms, to wit, idiopathic brachial neuritis, or Parsonage-Turner syndrome.
After two weeks of testimony, the jury returned a defense verdict in March 2020. Our client was pleased, stating that “Mark and Micah’s attention to detail, and careful, consistent, experienced presentation of the material was incredible – I honestly do not know how they slept during the trial period AND kept on top of EVERY detail”.