Brian Burge and Ryan Niehaus Obtain Jury Verdict
Brian Burge and Ryan Niehaus recently obtained a jury verdict fully in favor of a local surgeon accused of medical malpractice. The matter was tried in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri – Independence over the course of one week. During laparoscopic surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder, the plaintiff-patient alleged that the surgeon negligently lacerated the patient’s right portal vein in the liver, leading to massive blood loss. The surgeon converted the laparoscopy to an open procedure, called for additional surgical assistance and initiated emergency blood transfusion protocols. The injury was successfully repaired and the gallbladder removal completed. The patient was transferred to the ICU and remained in the hospital for five days before being discharged in good condition. No liver dysfunction or other abnormalities were ever encountered after the patient was discharged. Plaintiff filed suit seeking medical expenses of $150,000 for his extended hospital stay, as well as damages for associated pain, suffering and mental anguish due to the patient’s 9-inch abdominal scar. The patient’s wife also filed a loss of consortium claim based on her husband’s injuries. The defense argued that the surgeon was following the most appropriate and safest surgical technique at the time of the patient’s injury and that an unknown anatomical variation in the patient significantly contributed to the portal vein injury. After approximately one hour of deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of the surgeon and awarded no damages to the plaintiffs.