Defense Verdict in Nassau County

On February 4, 2010, Anthony M. Heller received a defense verdict in Nassau County Supreme Court in a podiatry case.

Plaintiff claimed an infection of the right foot; development of an ulceration and gangrene requiring the amputation of the plaintiff’s right 5th toe; hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics; and another hospitalization to amputate the 5th metatarsal.  Plaintiff also claimed that as a result of the treatment by the defendant he underwent amputation of the remaining toes on the right foot, a transmetatarsal amputation and further surgery as well.

Plaintiff’s claims included failure to timely refer the plaintiff to the proper specialists; failure to timely administer antibiotics; improper injection to the plaintiff’s right 5th toe with a steroid, failure to perform proper vascular examinations to rule peripheral arterial obstructive disease. Allegations that the insured ignored the plaintiff’s diabetic condition and failed to perform appropriate testing for vascular deficiency.

Mr. Heller was able to show the jury that in the opinion of the subsequent treating physicians at a wound care center and hospital, the patient underwent sequential amputations because of age, progressive peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes first diagnosed well after he left the care of our client.  Through experts in infectious disease and podiatry we were able to show that neither the injection of a steroid nor any failure in diagnosis lead to the amputations and other surgeries, as these procedures were necessitated by steadily progressive disease.  Moreover, the precipitation of accelerating ischemia in the lower extremity was caused by blunt trauma and not the injection of Dexamethasone.  This was a key argument to counter the plaintiff’s claim that the injection caused infection and that the presence of a steroid diminished the patient’s immune response and lead to an osteomyelitic infection, necessitating amputations.

The jury verdict was unanimous in finding no departure from acceptable practice.