May 25 2018

Trial Verdict 2018-23: Morrison Mahoney Partner Mike Racette

Morrison Mahoney Partner Michael Racette obtained a “no negligence” defense verdict after a five + week wrongful death medical malpractice trial in Brockton Superior Court before Judge Greg Pasquale.

The plaintiff alleged that our client, a critical care unit attending physician, committed negligence by failing to timely diagnose a cerebellar stroke in a thirty-eight year old man and by performing a lumbar puncture (“spinal tap”) procedure on him, which the plaintiff alleged was the cause of his subsequent brain herniation into his spinal canal several hours later, because it lowered the pressure within the spinal canal.   The plaintiff alleged that our client first should have ordered a repeat CT scan of the brain (an earlier one, done 28 hours earlier upon admission, was negative), which would have revealed the cerebellar stroke and consequent elevated intracranial pressure, both of which would have been contraindications for performing the lumbar puncture.  The plaintiff wife and their two minor children (one of whom was severely autistic) asserted consortium claims.  The defense countered, that when the patient was transferred to the critical care unit, the patient’s history and clinical presentation were inconsistent with a stroke and instead were very consistent with the life-threatening condition of meningitis, which demanded immediate evaluation by lumbar puncture.  Nineteen witnesses, including eight experts, testified.

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