FKB’s Jennifer Y. Gutterman Wins Summary Judgment in Hospital Medical Malpractice Suit

FKB’s Jennifer Y. Gutterman wins summary judgment in a medical malpractice action involving claims of improper performance of a supraclavicular peripheral nerve block allegedly resulting in nerve dysfunction, denervation of muscles, claw deformity, loss of use of hand, neurologic deficits of the upper extremity, wasting and weakness of hand muscles, allodynia and hypoalgesia.

FKB represented a hospital in a case in which plaintiff sued the hospital and co-defendant non-employee anesthesiologist and certified registered nurse anesthetist.  Plaintiff claimed, inter alia, that defendants were negligent in administering excessive sedation preceding the administration of a nerve block injection which prevented plaintiff from alerting the physicians of direct trauma from the needle and/or intra-neuronal injection; performed the nerve block too quickly; administered a peripheral nerve block in the wrong segment of the brachial plexus nerve, and; improperly positioned of the plaintiff.  Plaintiff claimed specifically as to the hospital (1) failure to properly train the employed nurse in injection techniques, and (2) failure on the part of the employed nurse to recognize and report resistance during the injection.

On behalf of the hospital, FKB successfully demonstrated that the hospital’s employed nurse was not charged with the duty of determining the dosage of the sedatives, that she did not position the nerve block syringe needle, that she did not recall administering the syringe as she was charged with monitoring the vital signs, and that plaintiff’s contention that the nurse should have or would have felt the patient’s resistance to the syringe needle if the patient was not over-sedated was purely speculative.  The court granted the hospital’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety.

If you have any questions about this decision, or the defense of medical practitioners in general, please contact Jennifer Y. Gutterman.