Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case

Ken BurkeKara Burke, and Nathan Perlmutter obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death medical negligence case filed in St. Clair County, Illinois. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant neurosurgeon negligently injured the vertebral artery during an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, resulting in a stroke and death of the patient. Client surgeon performed an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) on plaintiff’s decedent who was 73 years old at the time. During the surgery, the left vertebral artery was injured, a known complication of the procedure. The patient lost 4 liters of blood. As a result, decedent sustained a stroke and passed a week later. Plaintiff (daughter) brought a wrongful death claim against the surgeon. At trial, the allegations of negligence were: 1) performed unnecessary surgery at C5-6 where the perforation occurred; 2) improperly drilled the uncinate process resulting in the vertebral artery perforation; 3) failed to abort the surgery after the bleeding was controlled; 4) failed to order immediate post-op imaging in the form of an MRI, MRA or CTA; and 5) failed to timely transfer. The plaintiff sought $4.3 million at trial, but the jury returned a defense verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.