After a five-day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict after five hours.
The plaintiff, 48, was a cabinet finisher. He previously underwent triple bypass surgery. During routine follow-up after the bypass surgery, plaintiff’s treating cardiologist diagnosed an atrial septal defect – a hole in the atrial septum. The cardiologist referred plaintiff to the defendant interventional cardiologist, who had experience treating these defects. The defendant physician sought to close the hole with device known as an atrial septal occlude. During the closure procedure, the device slipped out of place, ultimately requiring open-heart surgery to retrieve
the occluder and close the defect.
Following open-heart surgery to remove the device, the plaintiff had an embolic stroke, which he attributed to the ASO blocking the left ventricular outflow tract.
The plaintiff’s expert in essence opined that the device must have been too small, causing it to embolize. The opposing experts offered conflicting theories and analysis of the measurement of the size of the device and the reasons why the device came out of position and could not be readily retrieved.
The defense argued that the defendant physician accurately sized the hole, but variations in the anatomy and heart tissue were such that the device did not stay in place. The trial lasted five days. After getting an Allen charge, the jury returned a defense verdict after five hours.