From $100 Million to $5 Million – A Brain Surgery Malpractice Lawsuit

As originally reported by John Hochfelder, March 12, 2002 was a fateful day for Thomas Dockery. Dockery was a Verizon employee and generally healthy 34 year old.   Sadly, while sleeping one night, he suffered from a grand mal seizure and was hurried to the hospital.   According to Hochfelder:       “At the hospital, a CT scan was interpreted as normal. An MRI two days later, though, was interpreted as showing a lesion that seemed to be a glioma (a central nervous system tumor) and Dockery was immediately referred to M. Chris Overby, M.D., a neurosurgeon, who concurred. A second opinion from Philip Gutin, M.D. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan corroborated Dr. Overby’s diagnosis and surgery was set for March 25th.       A pre-surgical MRI on March 24th, though, indicated an inconsistent massive edema of the brain and Dockery underwent a craniotomy the next day during which pus in the lesion area was removed and found to be a non-tumorous abscess that had grown rapidly during the prior several days and caused an edema that produced herniation of the brain.”   Unfortunately, despite the treatment, Mr. Dockery suffered from severe aphasia which damaged his comprehension of language and ability to retain memory.   Dockery sued the two doctors who were responsible for his treatment, men by the names of Dr. Overby and Dr. Gutin.   Throughout a complicated trial process, an original finding of over $100 million dollars was eventuall reduced to just over $5 million. The general consensus was that Mr. Dockery’s injuries warranted compensation, but that some of the original monetary values were grossly inflated.   One of the large takeaways from this case is the unpredictability of brain surgery, and the difficulties faced by both patients and doctors throughout these procedures. * * * If you’d like to learn more about the legal aspects of brain surgery, or if you need a representative, consult The Brain Injury Defense Attorneys at Dolan Legal.

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