Gilman obtains med-mal defense verdict

BOSTON (Nov. 16, 2011) – Pamela S. Gilman recently persuaded a Massachusetts jury to reject a woman’s claim of medical malpractice against an anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist related to facial scarring that resulted from a prolonged spinal surgery.

After deliberating less than three hours, the Superior Court jury returned a verdict dismissing the woman’s lawsuit.

The 23-year-old woman underwent the complex 14-hour surgery to correct an abnormal curvature of her spine. During the second phase of the procedure, she was put in a prone position to give the surgeon better access in order to fuse the woman’s spinal discs and insert a metal rod to hold her spine in place.

While in the prone position, the woman’s forehead was placed on a seven-inch thick foam pad to distribute the weight of her head over the largest possible surface area. Despite the foam pad, after the surgery concluded, it was discovered that the woman had developed a pressure ulcer on her forehead, which resulted in a permanent and disfiguring scar. She alleged in her lawsuit that the scar on her forehead could have been avoided if her position had been changed more frequently by the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist.

However, an expert witness for the defendants testified that moving the woman’s head would have increased the risk of serious complications, including death or paralysis. He also testified that pressure sores are a known risk of lengthy surgeries.

“I am pleased that the jury found on behalf of my clients, who followed the appropriate standard of care in monitoring the patient during her prolonged surgery and provided her with exemplary care,” Gilman said. “Even though the woman developed a pressure ulcer, there was nothing that they could have done to avoid the injury.”

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm four consecutive years as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work (2008–2011).