Partner Jamie Boock Obtains $940,800 Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case
In December 2018, a St. Charles County jury returned a verdict in favor of Rossiter & Boock client Nancy Graham on her claim for medical malpractice against Dr. Subbaro Polineni, a hand, and upper extremity specialist.
Partner Jamie Boock represented Ms. Graham in her claim. Mr. Boock argued Dr. Polineni was negligent when he ordered a third upper arteriogram for Ms. Graham in July 2014 for further evaluation of her prior diagnosis of Raynaud’s Phenomenon. During the third arteriogram, which was performed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital-St. Peters, the client suffered a stroke, which is a known, but rare complication of the procedure. The stroke left Ms. Graham with permanent left-side weakness and mild cognitive deficits that prevented her from returning to her job as a flight attendant.
Mr. Boock argued the arteriogram was medically unnecessary as his client had previously been diagnosed by Dr. Polineni with Raynaud’s Phenomenon in September 2003 and additional arteriograms provided no additional information with regard to the treatment or evaluation of her condition. As such, since the arteriogram was an invasive study that carried with it a risk of harm, Mr. Boock argued it should not have been performed as any progression of her disease could have and should have been evaluated clinically based upon her signs and symptoms or utilizing safer, non-invasive studies such as Doppler Ultrasound.
The defendant argued that it was appropriate to order the third arteriogram as it had been five years since the prior study and eleven years since the first arteriogram had been performed. Defendant also argued the study could have been used for pre-operative planning, in the event, Ms. Graham desired to undergo a digital sympathectomy to surgically treat her Raynaud’s. Defendant further argued that the third arteriogram was necessary as Ms. Graham’s complaints had increased significantly prior to the July 2014 office visit. Defendant also argued that the treating radiologist, Dr. Courtois, independently verified that a third arteriogram was appropriate under the circumstances or she would not have performed the procedure given its risks. Finally, the Defendant argued that any cognitive deficits Plaintiff was left with were the result of depression as opposed to a neurological injury due to the stroke.
In response, Mr. Boock argued at trial that Dr. Polineni was unfamiliar with the medical management of a patient with Raynaud’s as ninety-five percent of his patients were sent to him for surgery. Plaintiff further argued that Dr. Courtois did not make an independent judgment as to the appropriateness of the procedure as she assumed the ordering physician had a valid reason for ordering the study.
In trial closing, Mr. Boock requested $480,400.00 in past and future economic damages for his client’s lost wages from being unable to return to her position as a flight attendant. He requested an additional $480,400.00 in past and future non-economic damages for her loss of ability to enjoy life and the cognitive deficits she was left with as a result of the stroke. The jury, in a 10-2 decision, awarded these exact amounts for a total verdict for the firm’s client of $940,800.00.