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Chuck Eppolito Obtains Defense Verdict in Arbitration Proceeding in Medical Malpractice and Informed Consent Case

August 18, 2010

Chuck Eppolito obtained a defense verdict in an arbitration proceeding in a medical malpractice and informed consent case in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The plaintiff was a 25-year-old who underwent oral surgery for removal of three impacted molars. The surgery was performed under general anesthesia utilizing naso-tracheal intubation. Following surgery, upon awakening from anesthesia, the patient experienced significant nasal pain and bleeding as well as right-sided nasal obstruction. He was later diagnosed with a damaged turbinate (soft tissue projections on the side wall of the nose), and required two additional surgeries to repair the injury. 

The plaintiff criticized the performance of the nasal intubation and also alleged that the defendants never informed him of certain risks, specifically the risk of damage to a turbinate. The plaintiff sued to recover for his pain and suffering, the need for additional surgery and treatment, related medical bills, lost earnings due to inability to work, and loss of life’s pleasures. The plaintiff submitted reports from an expert anesthesiologist who asserted that the defendants used excessive and undue force in inserting the nasotracheal tube, which was improper and negligent, resulting in the claimed injuries and damages. The plaintiff also provided a report from an ENT physician relating to the injuries/damages caused. 

The defendants countered with reports from an ENT expert and an anesthesiology expert. Both defense experts supported and defended the care and treatment provided, including the decision to perform the intubation with the nasotracheal tube, the manner and technique of intubation, and the administration of anesthesia and related preparation. These defense experts also addressed and defended the opinions of the plaintiff’s experts relating to causation and damages, establishing that nothing the defendants did (or allegedly failed to do) caused the claimed injuries or damages.

The case was tried before three arbitrators in Montgomery County, who found in favor of both defendants on all issues and claims, in less than 15 minutes. 

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