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Medical Malpractice Defense Verdict

After a five-and-a-half day trial, the jury deliberated for approximately 90 minutes and returned a defense verdict.

Plaintiff’s decedent, a 5-year-old male with history of chronic severe obstructive sleep apnea, underwent a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery (T&A) to seek relief from the ongoing obstructions in the airway. The patient tolerated the procedure well and was discharged after appropriate post-anesthesia care unit observation and evaluation. Several hours later, the plaintiff, decedent’s mother, found him unresponsive on the family room couch and 911 was called. Despite significant resuscitative efforts, the decedent was pronounced dead at the hospital. The medical examiner found that the decedent died of a cardiac arrhythmia of unknown etiology.

Plaintiff filed suit in the Fairfax County Circuit Court, alleging that the decedent was not an appropriate patient for outpatient T&A because he had severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Defense standard of care experts testified that the defendant physician’s care and plan for the T&A surgery were appropriate and reasonable for the patient in that case. A defense causation expert testified that genetic testing from DNA samples kept by the medical examiner’s office found gene mutations that show the decedent had a rare inheritable cardiac conduction disorder called Brugada Syndrome, which is known to cause sudden cardiac death.

After a five-and-a-half day trial, the jury deliberated for approximately 90 minutes and returned a defense verdict.

Defense team:

Richard L. Nagle
Richard L. Nagle
James N. Knaack
James N. Knaack