Plaintiff claimed that our client failed to order imaging a few days post procedure despite increased drainage and decreased appetite. That he failed to note abnormal blood test results, abnormal imaging tests and failed to order repeat imaging following stent placement. Plaintiff’s expert testified this allowed the bile to spread causing permanent nerve damage to her internal organs and chronic pain.
Plaintiff’s surgical expert maintained that when our client saw the plaintiff 3 days post-op he failed to appreciate signs of the bile leak and should have ordered imaging and placed a stent. Mr. Dondes got him to admit that bile leak is a known complication of the procedure which can often resolve without treatment. An admission was also obtained that plaintiff’s expert never had a patient suffer permanent nerve damage from a bile leak. He also contradicted plaintiff’s prior expert that the migration of bile occurred only after our client’s consult. He further admitted that the leak would only have been avoided with the placing of a stent, which was important since codefendant testified that even if a scan had detected a leak, he would not have placed a stent at that time. This allowed Mr. Dondes to argue that plaintiff could not establish proximate cause.
On Mr. Dondes’ direct exam our client explained that the drainage was not particularly unusual nor was the plaintiff’s tenderness and decreased appetite unusual given she just had abdominal surgery. Our client adamantly maintained he observed no bile at the time of his initial visit despite the observations of several other physicians on prior exams.
Mr. Dondes put on a surgical expert who opined the assured’s judgment that plaintiff was not suffering a bile leak was reasonable under the circumstances and otherwise acted appropriately and maintained that bile does not cause permanent nerve damage only transient symptoms.
Plaintiff’s treating pain management physician testified that plaintiff suffers from chronic abdominal nerve pain and was not successful controlling her pain with medications, injections and spinal stimulation. He testified she was incapable of working and her condition was permanent. However, on cross-examination he came across as a pill-pusher, with no regard for the plaintiff’s opioid dependence.
Plaintiff testified over the course of three days and was continually exposed as a liar including lying about her lost earnings when in fact she had been paid a full salary. While she claimed not to have a social life her social networking websites reflected otherwise. Post-verdict discussions with jurors revealed they believed her complaints of chronic pain in the absence of any apparent medical cause were related to her addiction to pain medication.
The jury returned a defense verdict on behalf of all defendants. In speaking with jurors post-verdict, they believed that the doctors acted appropriately in all respects and that plaintiff suffered no permanent injuries. They believed that an injustice was being done by her pain management physician and that plaintiff was opioid dependent.