News Brief

Friedberg Wins Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case

July 17, 2013

Alan B. Friedberg (Partner-White Plains) obtained a defense verdict in Supreme Court, Bronx County, in a medical malpractice case alleging plastic surgical malpractice against a plastic surgeon.

The plaintiff, a then 35-year-old woman and mother of two, went to the firm’s client, a plastic surgeon, to undergo a “tummy tuck” to address issues related to previous surgeries – a Cesarean section and an appendectomy.

The plaintiff underwent surgery in May 2002 and unfortunately suffered an infection that compromised the wound and the area around her bellybutton, causing a large indentation in the abdomen and severe scarring. The defendant plastic surgeon agreed to perform an additional surgery to correct these unexpected results. The plaintiff was not satisfied with the revision operation, and hence filed suit against the doctor.

At trial, the plaintiff’s expert claimed that the initial incision performed for the tummy tuck was placed too high resulting in the area of scarring and indentation being too high on the abdomen to be easily concealed.  Further, he claimed that the defendant did not provide informed consent regarding how the scar would appear as a result of the revision operation.

On cross-examination by Alan, the plaintiff conceded that while she claimed not to have received informed consent for the revision operation and that she was not aware of all of the risks related to the scarring, she agreed that in light of the significant improvement of the indentation that the revision surgery corrected, she still would have undergone the procedure, notwithstanding the appearance of the scar. Accordingly, the judge dismissed the claim for a lack of informed consent. 

The case went to the jury on the issue of placement of the abdominal incision during the initial tummy tuck, which resulted in the excessive scarring and pain in an elevated area on the abdomen. The jury found no departure on behalf of the plastic surgeon.

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