Securing a medical malpractice defense verdict by putting clinical judgment in context
Our Client's Challenge
A family practice physician in Alabama was at the center of a medical malpractice suit after a patient developed paraplegia and died due to an undiagnosed thoracic hematoma. The lawsuit filed by the patient’s estate alleged that our client, the doctor, failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of spinal cord compression and did not take steps to arrange for the appropriate specialist to consult in the patient’s care and treatment.
Clinical judgment is all about context. The practice of medicine is not performed in a vacuum, but instead, a physician must apply his or her clinical judgment to form a diagnosis and treatment approach that is reasonable in light of the totality of the circumstances presented.
The Lightfoot team vigorously defended the case and showed the jury that the physician’s clinical judgment was reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. By detailing the facts available to the physician at each stage of treatment, we were able to put our client’s thought process in context and show that his decision-making was sound and appropriate under all applicable medical standards.
After a little more than an hour of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of our client.