On June 19, 2019, an appellate court ruled that a neurosurgeon was not entitled to dismiss a wrongful death - medical malpractice case without a jury trial. The neurosurgeon performed microvascular decompression surgery on the plaintiff's decedent to treat trigeminal neuralgia and discharged him from the hospital two days later. The patient began complaining of a headache and saw the neurosurgeon at his office one week after the surgery. The neurosurgeon prescribed a steroid and the following morning the patient was found dead on the kitchen floor.
The plaintiff's expert neurologist stated that there were were several departures from accepted standards: performing the surgery without first exhausting available medication treatments to treat trigeminal neuralgia; manipulating the posterior fossa veins and vascular sinuses during surgery which caused a venous thrombosis and cerebellar infarction; and, failure to refer the patient visiting his office complaining of a constant post-op headache to an emergency room for an MRI. The plaintiff's expert swore that any one or all of these departures were the proximate cause of the patient's death. The court noted that even the issue of whether the patient had been informed of the medical options to treat rather than surgery should be decided by a jury. Lampe v James G. Brisman, M.D., 2019 WL 2518853