On September 14, 2022 an appellate court agreed with a Queens County jury that awarded $800,000 for past pain and suffering to a patient of a vascular surgeon. The patient was admitted to North Shore University Hospital and underwent a CT scan which revealed a large mass in her chest. A biopsy of the mass proved it was lymphoma which required chemotherapy for treatment. A mediport was surgically implanted in the patient's chest and connected by a catheter to the subclavian vein to allow for the injection of the medications, including Adriamycin which can be caustic and burn surrounding tissues. Unfortunately, the "Huber" needle used to administer the medications became displaced and Adriamycin was infused into the surrounding tissues causing the plaintiff's injuries.
The jury specifically found that the vascular surgeon departed from accepted standards of care "by failing to send the plaintiff to interventional radiology once the mediport was accessed in order to confirm that the Huber needle was adequately positioned"- which would have avoided the injury to plaintiff. The vascular surgeon's motion to set aside the verdict was denied by the trial court in 2017 and the appellate court agreed. It was emphasized that the jury fairly considered the conflicting experts testimony and reasonably accepted plaintiff's expert opinion. Apparently the vascular surgeon also argued that displacement of the needle could have occurred anyway, even if interventional radiology confirmed the original placement (The classic physician's "So What" causation defense).The Second Department held: the failure to interventional radiology to confirm the original placement of the needle "diminished the plaintiff's chance of a better outcome." Grullon v Eric Presser, M.D., 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 05154