Doctor error damages patient’s vocal chords

The patient, a security worker, underwent surgery that addressed an aneurysm of his aorta. The procedure was performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon, at Presbyterian Hospital,During the surgery, the patient sustained damage of his left recurrent laryngeal nerve. The damage causes paralysis of some of his vocal cords. The patient sued the doctor and alleged that he failed to properly perform the surgery.He further alleged that the doctor’s failure constituted malpractice. As a Maryland medical malpractice attorney I personally review all cases alleging medical malpratice and consult with professionals to determine if a cause of action exists.

Plaintiff that the aorta and the left recurrent laryngeal nerve share the same anatomical space. They claimed that the doctor’s records indicated that the doctor initially identified the location of the nerve, but that he subsequently lost awareness of the nerve’s location. They further claimed that the records did not indicate that the doctor demonstrated any resultant degree of extra caution.

The defense’s expert cardiothoracic surgeon contended that neurological damage is a frequent result of surgeries that address the aorta, and he claimed that such damage is most likely when the surgeon is addressing the aortic arch. He contended that the aortic arch was the site of the surgery that the doctor performed. The expert further opined that neurological damage is very likely during surgeries that involve aneurysms of the aorta. He estimated that some 30 percent result in neurological injuries that do not lead to allegations of malpractice.

In response, the patient’s expert cardiothoracic surgeon contended that the surgery addressed the patient’s descending aorta, and he said that complications are a relatively less likely result of a surgery that addresses that particular region of the aorta. He also said that the defense’s expert cardiothoracic surgeon exaggerated the frequency of injuries that occur during surgeries that involve the aorta. He contended that the expert’s estimations were derived from broad data that included surgeries in which the aorta was cancerous and/or inflicted by some other type of disease.

The patient sustained damage of his left recurrent laryngeal nerve. The damage causes paralysis of some of his vocal cords. He underwent surgery that included the installation of materials that were intended to reduce the gap that separated his mobile and immobile vocal cords. The procedure was not successful.

The plaintiff cannot enunciate; he cannot sing or loudly speak; and he cannot easily eat or swallow. He claimed that he previously enjoyed singing, but that he cannot resume that activity. He also claimed that his disability impairs his communication. He contended that additional medical treatment is necessary.

He sought recovery of $15,500 for his future medical expenses, $450,000 for his past pain and suffering, and $750,000 for his future pain and suffering. His wife sought recovery of damages for her loss of consortium. Defense counsel contended that the plaintiff’s residual condition does not significantly affect his life.Defense counsel also contested the plaintiff’s wife’s alleged loss of consortium. He argued that they were separated during much of the time that followed his surgeries. The jury found that the doctor departed from an accepted standard of medical care. It determined that Plaintiff’s damages totaled $965,500.

If you or a loved one has been subjected to a medical error or hospital negligence call me at 1-800-320-0080 for an initial free consultation at my Baltimore or Rockville offices. There is no fee if there is no recovery.