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Doc's inaction allowed permanent injury, patient alleged

Amount:

$6,000,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

New York

Venue:

Orange County

Court:

Orange Supreme

Injury Type(s):

other-external sphincter urological-incontinence mental/psychological-anxiety mental/psychological-emotional distress

Case Type:

Medical Malpractice - OB-GYN, Failure to Refer, Failure to Treat, Delayed Treatment, Prescription and Medication

Case Name:

Lisa Ranieri v. Community OB/GYN Associates; etal

Date:

June 19, 2013

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Lisa Ranieri (Female, 26 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Mark L. Bodner; Mark L. Bodner, P.C.; New York, NY, for Lisa Ranieri ■ Charles E. Luceno; trial counsel, Mark L. Bodner, P.C.; New York, NY, for Lisa Ranieri

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Mark Madis ; OB-GYN; Goshen, NY called by: Lisa Ranieri

Defendant(s):

James A. Shanahan, 

Community OB/GYN Associates

Defense Attorney(s):

Richard J. Nealon; Meiselman, Packman, Nealon, Scialabba & Baker P.C.; White Plains, NY, for James A. Shanahan, Community OB/GYN Associates

Defendent Expert(s):

Robert Dropkin OB-GYN; Albany, NY for James A. Shanahan, Community OB/GYN Associates

Facts:

In September 2006, plaintiff Lisa Ranieri, 26, a dancer, underwent the delivery of a child. The procedure was performed by obstetrician Dr. James Shanahan. The delivery was facilitated by Shanahan's creation of an episiotomy, which is an incision of the skin that separates the anus and the lower portion of the vagina. The incision was repaired after the delivery had been completed, and Shanahan prescribed Ranieri's use of Colace, which is a product that softens the patient's stools. Shanahan advised that the medication could have been abandoned after Ranieri had passed one stool. In October 2006, Ranieri was examined by Shanahan. Ranieri reported that she was experiencing external leakage of fecal matter. Shanahan determined that the condition was a residual product of the episiotomy that he created, and he opined that it did not require immediate attention. The condition did not improve, and another doctor subsequently determined that Ranieri was suffering a significant defect of her anus's sphincter. Ranieri underwent a sphincteroplasty, which involved the reconstruction of her damaged sphincter. The procedure produced minor improvement. A subsequent reparative surgery failed, and Ranieri's incontinence persists. Ranieri sued Shanahan and his practice, Community OB/GYN Associates. Ranieri alleged that Shanahan failed to properly manage the healing of her episiotomy, that his failure constituted malpractice and that Community OB/GYN Associates was vicariously liable for Shanahan's actions. Ranieri's counsel claimed that Shanahan did not prescribe adequate treatment of Ranieri's episiotomy. They suggested that the doctor should have prescribed a 10-day-long regimen of Colace. They also suggested that the doctor should have prescribed a diet that would have reduced the frequency of Ranieri's defecation. Ranieri's treating gynecologist opined that Shanahan did not promptly address the ineffectiveness of the treatment that he had prescribed. The expert claimed that Ranieri's incontinence should have prompted an immediate referral to a surgeon who could have addressed Ranieri's condition. He opined that prompt intervention could have improved the outcome of the remedial procedures that Ranieri underwent. He contended that Shanahan's inaction constituted a departure from an accepted standard of medical care. The defense's expert obstetrician opined that Ranieri's incontinence did not require prompt surgical intervention. He claimed that a sphincteroplasty can be delayed until less-invasive methods have been exhausted. He further claimed that a one-year-long delay is a standard, preferred course of treatment. Defense counsel also claimed that Shanahan prescribed an appropriate method of addressing the healing of the episiotomy. He claimed that permanent incontinence is a known, accepted result of an episiotomy.

Injury:

In October 2006, Ranieri began to experience external leakage of fecal matter. The condition was a result of damage of her anus's sphincter. In October 2008, she underwent a sphincteroplasty. The procedure produced merely minor improvement. In August 2009, Ranieri underwent a second reparative surgery, but the procedure was not successful. Her incontinence persists. Ranieri claimed that her incontinence quickly forced a change of careers. She also claimed that her condition causes anxiety and embarrassment. She sought recovery of $900,000 for past pain and suffering, and she sought unspecified damages for future pain and suffering. Defense counsel claimed that Ranieri exaggerated the extent of the effect of her incontinence. He suggested that the condition has not affected her lifestyle.

Result:

The jury found that Shanahan departed from an accepted standard of medical care. It determined that Ranieri's damages totaled $6 million.

Lisa Ranieri$100,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering$5,900,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering

Trial Information:

Judge:

Paul I. Marx

Trial Length:

6  days

Trial Deliberations:

4  hours

Jury Vote:

6-0

Jury Composition:

3 male/ 3 female

Post Trial:

Defense counsel has expressed an intention to file a motion.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.