Cincinnati Office Secures Defense Verdict on Behalf of Anesthesiologist in Wrongful Death Matter

Cincinnati, Ohio (February 8, 2023) - Cincinnati Managing Partner Judd Uhl recently obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an anesthesiologist in a high-exposure, wrongful death matter. In this case, the plaintiff’s father underwent an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). On the morning of the procedure, he told the gastroenterologist that he was experiencing chest pain and acid reflux. The gastroenterologist, however, did not inform Lewis Brisbois’ client, who was administering anesthesia for the procedure. The plaintiff’s father aspirated during the EGD, which led to aspiration pneumonia and ultimately his death – less than 24 hours after the procedure. The plaintiff sued his father’s gastroenterologist, later amending the complaint to include the anesthesiologist.

With respect to the claim against Lewis Brisbois’ anesthesiologist client, the plaintiff contended that the anesthesiologist should have seen in the patient’s records that he had pre-existing conditions that increased his aspiration risk. The plaintiff further argued that the anesthesiologist should have spoken to the gastroenterologist to obtain more information about the risk before the EGD began.

During trial, Mr. Uhl presented an anesthesiology expert who opined that, based on the patient’s presentation the day of the EGD, Lewis Brisbois’ client was not required to review the patient’s medical records or to speak to the gastroenterologist about potential risk factors. In addition, Mr. Uhl argued there was nothing in the records that would have made the anesthesiologist cancel the EGD or change his sedation approach.

Following a nine-day trial, the plaintiff asked the jury to award seven figures against all defendants for the family’s loss of companionship, consortium, care, guidance, and assistance. The plaintiff also sought past medical expenses in the five-figure range and six figures for conscious pain and suffering. After deliberating for five hours, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Lewis Brisbois’ client, finding that the anesthesiologist was not negligent.

The jury determined, however, that the gastroenterologist was negligent because he departed from the standard of care when he failed to tell Lewis Brisbois’ client that the patient was having chest pains and acid reflux on the day of the procedure. The jury also determined that this negligence was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s father’s death. The jury awarded the estate an amount in the seven-figure range as against the gastroenterologist.

Mr. Uhl, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA), specializes in the defense of catastrophic injury and death claims. He has obtained successful results and verdicts throughout the United States in dozens of cases involving wrongful death, products liability, premises liability, trucking, bad faith, long-term care, and malpractice. He is also the managing partner of Lewis Brisbois' Lexington, Kentucky office. For more information on this matter, contact Mr. Uhl directly.

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