Johnson & Bell, Ltd. shareholders, Edward W. Hearn, Sharon L. Stanzione and Scott A. Mueller, recently secured a defense verdict in a medical malpractice dispute in Lake Superior Court (IN). In this case, plaintiffs alleged Johnson & Bell’s client, a physician assistant practicing at a local hospital, failed to diagnose and treat an occlusion in the left leg of a 72-year-old male patient. The plaintiffs included the patient and his wife, who claimed a loss of companionship. Plaintiff claimed the physician assistant failed to consider other diagnoses when a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was ruled out and discharged him. Two days later, plaintiff went to another hospital, where he was admitted and diagnosed with an occluded left lower leg. Following two surgeries, plaintiff underwent a below the knee amputation of the left leg. Making the case more complicated for the defense team, the Indiana Medical Review Panel opined that the defendant physician assistant breached the standard of care – but also said that her conduct did not cause the plaintiff’s injury.
The defense argued that the physician assistant properly examined plaintiff, found positive pedal pulses, ruled out DVT through a venous Doppler ultrasound, and instructed plaintiff to follow up with his primary care physician within two days, or return to the emergency department if his symptoms persisted. Furthermore, when plaintiff presented to another hospital two days later, his left leg was discolored and his pain had worsened.
After a one-week trial, plaintiff demanded $4.9 million in damages. The Lake County jury returned with a verdict in favor of the physician assistant after 30 minutes of deliberation.