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NY: esophagus perforated during heart surgery: court affirmed summary judgment for defendants.

CASE FACTS: Moises Cordero as Representative of the Estate of Isabel Matos brought suit against Drs. Guy Salomon, Konstadinos Plestis and Mt. Sinai Medical C enter for medical malpractice and lack of informed consent in the treatment of Isabel Matos. The estate alleged that the defendants negligently perforated Isabel's esophagus while using a transesophogeal echocardiogram probe (TEE) or a nasogastric tube to aid in the performance of emergency heart surgery and subsequently failed to timely detect the perforation while Isabel was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Dr. Plestis performed the surgery. Dr. Salomon was the anesthesiologist. Mt. Sinai Medical Center was sued both for its individual acts involving treatment in the ICU and on the basis of vicarious liability for Drs. Plestis and Salomon. The defendants maintained that there were no issues of fact to be resolved since their treatment comported with the applicable standards of care and were not the cause of Isabel's death Accordingly, they filed motions for summary judgment which were granted by the trial court. The estate appealed.

COURT'S OPINION: The Supreme Court, New York County affirmed the judgment entered by the lower court. The court held, inter alia, that since the defendants provided testimony of board-certified medical experts who maintained that there was no evidence that the defendants failed to act in accordance with the applicable standards of care. The court noted that Dr. Eugene Grossi, a board certified cardiothoracic surgeon gave evidence that Dr. Plestis, in performing the emergency heart surgery on Isabel could not be held liable for the perforated esophagus because it was "not in any way near or involved in" the emergency heart surgery. He further gave evidence that Dr. Plestis was not involved in either the placement of the TEE or the NG tube. Further. Dr. Grossi gave evidence that the perforation was timely diagnosed and treated. Dr. Manual Forbes, a board certified anesthesiologist, provided further affirmation of Dr. Grosses evidence. He acknowledged that while perforations are rare, they are known complications of the use of the devices and asserted that there was no evidence whatsoever that the devices inserted in the course of the procedure were placed with excessive force. He further maintained that a perforation can occur even with the most gentle of efforts in place the instruments involved. He too asserted that the perforation was timely diagnosed and the perforation could not have been diagnosed any sooner, since the patient was hemodynamically stable. Accordingly, the court concluded that the defendants had met the necessary burden for the trial court to have granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Cordero v. Salomon, 211-32029 NYMISC (7/20/2011)-NY
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Title Annotation:Medical Law Cases of Note
Publication:Medical Law's Regan Report
Article Type:Case overview
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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