January 22, 2001
Gerald Toner successfully defended a Louisville neurosurgeon from allegations of negligence after a series of complications strung out over three surgeries killed a man. The first surgery was a disc fusion, and second was a complicated three-level anterior disc fusion. The third surgery removed a dislodged screw used in the bone grafts of the second surgery. Complications arose from this last surgery two months later, the man being stricken with quadriplegia before dying six days later. The Plaintiff alleged the neurosurgeon deviated from the standard of care during the first two surgeries, bringing about the need for the third, which in turn caused the fatal spinal cord infection. The defendant claimed that the complications which arose from the second surgery were caused by a fracture that was no fault of the defendant, and that the surgeries, while proper, were not without significant risk. The Jefferson County jury found in favor of the defense, awarding no damages.