North Dakota State Jury Awards Patient $3.5 Million In Medical Malpractice Action Claiming Unnecessary Cardiothoracic Surgery And Cutting Of Major Vessel Caused Stroke, Brain Damage
On June 6, 2012, seven days after the birth of her fourth child, 30-year-old plaintiff Chenille Cordon underwent surgery by Dr. Michael Booth to rule out cancer in lymph nodes in her chest. Within minutes of starting the procedure—a mediastinoscopy—Dr. Booth cut into a major vessel, the right innominate, in plaintiff's neck. During repair attempts, Dr. Booth and a second surgeon, Boyd Marts, M.D., clamped three major vessels in the area, which deprived plaintiff of blood supply to the brain. Plaintiff was transferred to the ICU in critical condition. It was subsequently determined that she had developed a clot fully occluding blood flow in her right common carotid artery. The stroke destroyed large portions of brain tissue in the right side of her brain. Plaintiff claimed that she continues to suffer from stroke-related partial paralysis of her left arm and leg; has limited functional use of her left arm; inadequate function of her left leg and foot results in frequent trips and falls; significant loss of executive functioning of the brain; and critical loss of IQ.
Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action against defendant St. Alexius Medical Center, Dr. Booth, and Dr. Marts in the District Court, County of Burleigh, South Central Judicial District, North Dakota. Plaintiff claimed that the surgery was not necessary because lab tests showed that her enlarged lymph nodes were caused by a fungal infection, not cancer, and were treatable with medication. Plaintiff's expert witness in cardiothoracic surgery opined that Dr. Booth was negligent in telling plaintiff that she needed the surgery, not providing reasonable alternatives, and in overstating her risk for cancer; performing the surgery by not locating the innominate artery before dissecting anywhere close to it; first trying to repair the innominate artery on his own, without any help from anyone else, and without performing a sternotomy; and clamping plaintiff's major vessels without administering Heparin.
Defendants claimed that the mediastinoscopy was medically-indicated and necessary; that it was properly performed; and that the injured vessel was properly repaired. The claims against Dr. Booth and St. Alexius proceeded to a jury trial.
The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff on April 28, 2017, awarding $3,500,000, including $265,000 in past economic loss; $1,735,000 in future economic loss; $150,000 in past non-economic loss; and $1,350,000 in future non-economic loss.
Plaintiff was represented by Tom Conlin and Stacy Deery Stennes of Conlin Law Firm and Robert Bolinske, Jr., of Bolinske Law Firm.
View the full summary on Lexis Advance here: Chenille Cordon v. St. Alexius Medical Center, Allen Michael Booth, M.D., and Boyd Marts, M.D; 2017 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 1177
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