Defense Verdict in the Bronx

On July 1, 2010, Charles L. Bach, Jr., received a defense verdict on behalf of a major metropolitan area medical center in the Supreme Court, Bronx County in a medical malpractice action.

Plaintiff claimed that she developed serious injuries to her right arm, including Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), cellulitis thrombophlebitis, loss of range in motion and an ulnar neuropathy, due to a piece of an IV catheter that was allegedly left in her arm during her hospitalization for labor and delivery.  Plaintiff called experts in radiology, neurology, nursing care and rehabilitation medicine to support her claims.  Plaintiff, who is right-handed, claimed that a portion of an IV catheter broke off when removed by a hospital nurse and became lodged in her right forearm.  Plaintiff also alleged that the hospital staff failed to take an x-ray of her arm despite her complaints of pain.

Three weeks after discharge, plaintiff complained of a “painful IV site since hospital discharge”.  Plaintiff’s right forearm was examined, and superficial phlebitis was noted.  She was referred to the Surgery Clinic but went elsewhere.  A notation in the chart of another hospital documented that an x-ray revealed a mass “consistent with foreign body.”  Plaintiff was also referred for surgery but she instead moved to North Carolina.  She testified she was afraid to undergo surgery to remove the mass and also could not afford it.

Mr. Bach argued that the alleged foreign body was a calcification and not a piece of catheter, which is flexible and a different size and shape than the mass seen on the x-ray.  Moreover, the hospital records for the subject admission were devoid of any evidence that plaintiff complained of pain following removal of the catheter.

Mr. Bach successfully argued that the plaintiff had not developed RSD or any permanent damage.  Additionally, he established that plaintiff underwent other surgical procedures at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, rendering not credible her reasons for not consulting the surgery clinic regarding this “mass” in her forearm.

Following two weeks of trial, a Bronx County jury returned a unanimous defense verdict after 45 minutes of deliberation.