Client Centered.
Results Driven.

Photo of attorneys Jeffrey Cooper and Agustin Sevillano

Client Centered.
Results Driven.

Photo of attorneys Jeffrey Cooper and Agustin Sevillano

Mr. Thomas – A $4,200,000 Verdict Case

On Sept. 21, 2015, a 53-year-old African American male with a history of brain stroke  underwent surgical excision of an anal skin lesion under monitored anesthesia care by colon and rectal surgeon Steven Hirshorn, M.D. at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.  In the immediate post-operative period, Mr. Thomas woke up with left arm and leg paralysis and facial droop and was diagnosed with perioperative stroke believed to be ischemic in nature.

Following an initial stroke in 2000, Thomas took blood-thinning medication so that blood could properly flow to his brain through a deformed, narrowed carotid artery in his neck.  At trial, Thomas claimed that the stroke was due to Hirshorn’s negligent order to have him discontinue his anti-clotting medication five days before the operation without consulting the prescribing physician first.

Thomas’ expert in colon and rectal surgery testified that Hirshorn knew of Thomas’ history of stroke, that he had done well with Coumadin for many years (no recurrent stroke) and was under the care of a neurologist who managed his prescription.  At the very least, according to the expert, Hirshorn should have consulted with Thomas’ neurologist regarding the management of his medication prior to the surgery.  According to Thomas’ treating neurologist, the lack of blood-thinning products in Mr. Thomas’ blood during surgery decreased the flow through the narrowed artery in his neck leading to the stroke.

In defense, Hirshorn claimed that it was well within his discretion as a surgeon to have Thomas stop taking the anti-coagulant five days prior to the operation and that failure to have done so would have drastically and unreasonably increased the risk of bleeding.

The defense also disputed the plaintiff’s theory of causation relating to the stroke. The defense’s expert in neurology testified that it was not the lack of an anti-coagulant that caused Thomas’ intraoperative stroke, but a drop in his blood pressure — a common occurrence brought on by the use anesthesia drugs — during the surgery.

Prior to trial, Hirshorn made no offers to settle and the Thomas’ last demand was $1,000,000.  After a two week trial in which the Thomas’ proved that the defense obtained surveillance video of the wrong man, and after three days of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Thomas for $750,000 in future medical costs and $2,450,000 in non-economic damages, and in favor of Mrs. Thomas for $1,000,000 in loss of consortium damages.  The total verdict was $4,200,000.