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Radiologist Vindicated By Rockland County Jury On Claimed Failure To Detect Fractured Catheter Lodged In Heart

A Rockland County radiologist interpreted chest CT scans in August 2012 and April 2014 that were performed as part of a cancer surveillance protocol for a patient who had been successfully treated for ovarian cancer. Between 2010 and 2011 the patient underwent chemotherapy delivered through a Med-A-Port catheter inserted in the subclavian vein. A fractured catheter lodged in the patient's heart was discovered by another radiologist in June 2015, but allegedly could not be extracted because it had become fibrosed and adherent to the wall of the heart chamber. The patient's radiology expert testified that the fractured catheter was clearly visible on the "scout" images obtained during both CT scans in August 2012 and April 2014 and that the delay in discovering the fractured catheter now required an open heart surgery for the extraction. This same expert told the jury that the presence of the catheter in the heart caused premature ventricular contractions and an irregular heartbeat placing the patient at risk for sudden death due to a fatal arrhythmia.

Defense counsel, Louis E. Jakub, of Garson & Jakub, cross examined the patient on her non-compliant decision to discontinue beta blocker medication prescribed by her cardiologist for her alleged life threatening cardiac condition caused by the fractured catheter. Mr. Jakub also successfully established that the patient's claimed life threatening cardiac condition was not even believed by the patient herself, since she had stopped treating with her cardiologist for three years and only returned on the eve of filing her malpractice suit.

The defense expert radiologist testified that the "scout" image is not part of the CT scan, and that it is not interpreted by the radiologist. The jury agreed and also accepted the defense that the "scout" image is only utilized by the technician who performs the CT scan. Moreover, the defendant radiologist and his expert explained that the CT scan images did not reveal the presence of the fractured catheter because the contrast administered as part of the procedure obscured its presence which could only be appreciated with the benefit of hindsight.

On October 24, 2018 the jury deliberated for 45 minutes before returning a defense verdict for the radiologist on the April 2014 CT scan, as the Court had dismissed all claims for the August 2012 scan which was beyond the statute of limitations. Mennillo v. Elliot Handler,M.D. - Rockland County Supreme Court, Index No. 32233/16

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts of 2011" and "Top New York Settlements of 2012." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He is a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!

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