November 7, 1997

During a bypass surgery, a Louisville thoracic surgeon noticed a lesion on an elderly patient’s lung.  He removed the lesion in an altogether uneventful surgery, but a year later the patient died of terminal cancer.  In this suit, the Plaintiff alleged the surgeon should have done more to follow up the cancer treatment, both during the bypass surgery and afterwards.  Donald Brown, representing the doctor, presented multiple lines of defense.  He argued that the cancer was already terminal and the estate should be thankful the patient didn’t have to undergo any futile chemotherapy.  Furthermore, Don maintained that there was no proof the patient would have lived any longer if the surgeon had cut further during the surgery.  Finally, the defense pointed out that if the surgeon had explored the cancer more during the operation, he quite possibly could have killed the patient, a lose-lose situation for the physician from a liability standpoint.  In the end, it took only an hour for the Jefferson County jury to return a unanimous verdict for the doctor.

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