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Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Trial

Posted June 8, 2015 in News

A Cherokee County jury was able to put aside the fact a patient died following a relatively simple surgical procedure and returned a defense verdict after an eight day trial.  Rolfe Martin and Mark Meliski successfully defended a general surgeon in this death case in which the decedent was a popular local law enforcement officer, military veteran and Sunday school teacher.  The Plaintiff asked for damages of nearly $5 million after presenting a very sympathetic case.

The case involved the placement of a feeding tube following radiation treatment to treat throat cancer.  It was alleged that the choice to perform jejunostomy rather than gastrostomy led to ischemic bowel and abdominal compartment syndrome which caused a fatal cardiorespiratory arrest.

Using the medical records, Mr. Martin was able to show the ischemic bowel was a result of hypoperfusion during the arrest rather than its cause.  The arrest was related to aspiration which was a known risk in the situation and the healthcare team did everything possible to avoid that risk.  After the verdict, the jury reported that defense counsels’ obvious preparation, ability to support its arguments with the medical record and credibility were key to its decision to return a defense verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.