Defense Verdict in Richmond County

Michael Sullivan obtained a defense verdict in a Supreme Court, Richmond County medical malpractice case on October 20, 2017. 

Plaintiff’s decedent was 71 years old when he was admitted to the defendant hospital for colon cancer surgery.  Post-operatively, the decedent became hemodynamically unstable in the post anesthesia care unit and he had an introducer sheath and a Swan Ganz catheter placed through his right internal jugular vein to monitor his cardiac function.  Three days later in the surgical intensive care unit, the Swan Ganz catheter and introducer were removed by a resident physician without complication.  Approximately one hour later, the decedent suffered a cardiac arrest.  He was successfully resuscitated but remained intubated in the SICU, and he developed pneumonia, clostridium difficile colitis requiring further surgeries, and multi-organ failure.  The patient died in the hospital five weeks after his cardiac arrest.  It was claimed that the decedent’s cardiac arrest was caused by an air embolism that resulted from negligent removal of the Swan Ganz catheter and introducer sheath.  It was also claimed that the cardiac arrest caused the decedent’s subsequent conditions and death.

Mr. Sullivan established through the testimony of plaintiff and his sister, who were both present at the time of the treatment at issue, the resident physician who removed the Swan Ganz catheter and introducer, the nurse who was present for this treatment, and a critical care expert, that proper technique was used to remove the devices without any difficulty.  It was also established that the time lapse between removal of the lines and the cardiac arrest was inconsistent with an air embolism which would have caused symptoms instantaneously. 

After six days of testimony before the Honorable Alan C. Marin, the jury rendered a defense verdict after one hour of deliberations.