Surgeon Wins Again in Lawsuit Appeal; More

Wayne J. Guglielmo, MA

Disclosures

April 16, 2019

In This Article

Surgeon Wins Again in Lawsuit Appeal

A New York State appeals court has decided in favor of a surgeon who was accused of mismanaging his patient's postoperative medication, reports a story in the New York Law Journal.[1]

Bariatric surgeon Elliot Goodman, MD, performed a gastric bypass procedure on Lee Green at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. Following surgery, Green developed certain complications and was placed in a medically induced coma. In his lawsuit, Green claimed that, while recovering in the ICU, the medication he had been taking to manage his anxiety was stopped.

Blaming Goodman for the lapse, the plaintiff alleged that, as a result of his medication withdrawal, he became so agitated that the staff was forced to secure his wrists with restraints. Because of this, Green said, he developed a permanent bilateral wrist drop, a type of neuropathy.

Last year, Justice Douglas McKeon of the Bronx Supreme Court granted Goodman's motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against him prior to a trial. Green appealed the decision to a state appellate court.

In ruling to uphold the lower court decision, the appeals panel said that "to reach any discussion about deviation from accepted medical practice, it is necessary first to establish the existence of a duty." Given the "particular circumstances" of the present case, however, "defendant, as the patient's surgeon, did not owe patient a duty to manage his medication in the ICU."

Goodman, the panel said, "properly relied on the ICU staff and other specialists to treat and manage the patient's nonsurgical issues." The appeals court's decision didn't affect the other multiple defendants in the case.

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