Legal Case: M. Louis
We have always believed that, as diagnosing physicians, ENTs play a key role in AN patients' cases; see our discussion here. The case below underscores this point, by putting the responsibility for a late diagnosis on the ENT's shoulders.
Note: the case presented here is a matter of public record.
Verdict on November 8, 2002 New York Supreme Court
|Judge:||Donna M. Mills|
|Verdict:||$2,000,000 for M. Louis (6/0).|
|Breakdown:|| $1,250,000 for past pain and suffering;
$750,000 for future pain and suffering;
$200,000 for R. Ebin, all for loss of services (6/0).
|Jury:||one male, five female.|
|Plaintiff's Attorneys:|| April L. Strang-Kutay of Goldberg, Katzman, and Shipman, P.C.
James E. Colleran of the Law Offices of James E. Colleran, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|Defendant's Attorney:||Lewis Rosenberg of Shapiro, Beilly, Rosenberg, Aronowitz, Levy and Fox, L.L.P., Manhattan|
On 12/28/94, Plaintiff, a 44-year old attorney, presented to defendant doctor at his Manhattan Office complaining of hearing loss, constant ringing, and occasional pain in her right ear. Defendants conducted tests and confirmed that she had suffered a hearing loss in her right ear. Plaintiff returned to Defendant's office on 4/8/97, and was informed, after tests, that her hearing loss had worsened. Defendant also ordered an MRI which was performed on 5/22/97. The MRI revealed an acoustic neuroma. Due to the configuration of the tumor, as well as the association of pronounced, very painful trigeminal symptoms, it was impractical to remove the tumor non-invasively, such that micro-surgical excision was undertaken, causing permanent hearing loss in Plaintiff's right ear, as well as new onset balance/vertigo disturbance, exacerbation of pre-existing tinnitus, as well as the complication known as the ”sub-occipital headache syndrome". Plaintiff claimed that had Defendant diagnosed the acoustic neuroma in 1994, when she first presented to him with symptoms characteristic of this tumor, the lesion could have been treated without causing hearing loss, and the further complications associated with invasive brain surgery could have been avoided. She claimed that if the acoustic neuroma had been diagnosed in 1994, it could have been removed via Gamma Knife, a non-surgical, non-invasive, procedure that would not have caused her the complained of injuries. Defendant denied Plaintiff's allegation and claimed that her injuries were the result of her choosing not to seek treatment. Defendant contended that he recommended that Plaintiff get an MRI in 1994 and she refused. Plaintiff denied this contention. Plaintiff complained that she suffered a permanent hearing loss in her right ear, continuous roaring in her head, headaches, imbalance in walking and vertigo, as well as general pain and suffering. Defendant conceded that Plaintiff suffered a hearing loss, but contended that there was no medical proof that the acoustic neuroma had caused her other injuries.
Anatomical chart showing the inner ear;
anatomical model of the inner ear;
audiograms and enlarged audiograms;
Defendant's office records;
Jury Deliberation: Seven hours over two days.
It is clear from the award in this case that the jury became convinced throughout the presentation of expert testimony that had the Plaintiff been able to choose Gamma Knife treatment to address her tumor, the outcome of her treatment would have been far superior to that which she sustained undergoing conventional micro-surgery. The jurors appeared to appreciate the quality of life issues presented, and seem to have been empathetic to the difficulties encountered in being rendered a unilateral listener, as well as to suffer the refractory medical problem of severe tinnitus, accompanied by post-operative headache, which symptoms require life-long dependence on medications to control.
Last Edited: Monday, November 17, 2003