February 16, 2007
David Strite and Mark Hammond were successful in defending a Henderson County family practice physician in this medical malpractice action in Henderson, KY. Plaintiff alleged that the physician negligently allowed a patient with hypothyroidism to undergo a laparoscopic cholecystectomy without testing the patient’s thyrotropin. According to the Plaintiff, removal of the patient’s gallbladder caused myxedema coma and resulting encephalopathy. Plaintiff’s allegations were supported by a internist associated with Harvard Medical School. Plaintiff’s counsel requested the jury return with a verdict for more than $16 million against the defendant physician. Strite and Hammond defended by submitting proof that there was no reason to test the patient’s thyrotropin, as patient’s TSH level had been tested some thirteen days prior to the surgical procedure. The patient had utilized synthroid, a thyroid replacement drug, since that time. The experts retained by the defense expressed to the jury that the patient actually suffers from Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome, a degenerative brain disorder caused by the body’s lack of thiamine. The Wernicke Korsakoff encephalopathy could not be diagnosed by the defendant physician, who otherwise appropriately recommended removal of the patient’s acute gallbladder. The Henderson Circuit Court jury agreed and returned with a unanimous defense verdict for the defendant in approximately forty-five minutes.