In February of 2013 the Court of Appeals of Kentucky heard a case involving a Kentucky medical malpractice claim. (See Sargent v. Shaffer, M.D., 2013 WL 375541 (Ct. App. Ky.)) in this Kentucky medical malpractice case the issue revolved around an informed consent matter. Id. The plaintiff in this Kentucky medical malpractice case had two surgeries to her back. In 2009 Plaintiff had another surgery to deal with herniated discs in her back. The doctor agreed to perform a lumbar laminectomy and decompression procedure requiring removal of bone and scar tissue. The surgery was performed on February 18, 2009. The surgery did not go well and as a result Plaintiff eventually experienced paralyses and lost use of her bowel and bladder functions. The Kentucky medical malpractice lawsuit was filed on February 5, 2010.
Plaintiff in this Kentucky medical malpractice surgery alleged that she was not informed that a known risk to her surgery was complete paralyses and loss of bowel and bladder function. Id. The doctor said he told her and also that such risks were listed on the consent form that plaintiff had signed.
At this Kentucky medical malpractice trial the issue at hand had to do with the jury instructions and whether the court gave the right one. It is well known that “Kentucky law mandates the use of “bare bones” jury instructions in all civil cases.” (cites omitted). In the case at hand, this appellate court upheld the lower court’s jury instructions stating that they properly reflected the applicable law and was not erroneous. “If counsel believes the instructions being used need more elaboration, they can be fleshed out by counsel in closing arguments.” (cites omitted).
Also at trial was the issue of the doctor’s demonstrative use of a skeleton. The model used by the doctor was large and could have the pieces of the spine easily removed. Id. The benefits of demonstrative evidence are encouraged. A demonstrative item usually helps to clarify issues and give the jury a clearer comprehension of the physical facts. Id.
Plaintiff tried to argue that she was surprised by the doctor’s use of such a spinal model, but the court did not agree stating that the doctor listed a spine model on his exhibit list. Though plaintiff’s counsel in this Kentucky medical malpractice case also tried to argue that she had not seen it prior to trial, that argument also fell on deaf ears as the court stated that she should have filed a motion to compel if she really needed to see it prior to the trial.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky medical malpractice case, please call and speak to a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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