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Summary Judgment Granted in Case Involving a Tractor Trailer Crash

July 15, 2020

Senior Partner John Barbera, Partners Ruth Ragan and Michael Bastone’s motion for summary judgment on behalf of our client Hospital, Emergency Room physician and Trauma Surgeon was granted in Suffolk County action dismissing all claims. This case was brought by the estate a 46 year old man who was injured when his tractor trailer crashed into a toll both at a high rate of speed. It was reported that the man was unrestrained in his vehicle at the time of the accident. The plaintiff alleged the physicians failed to timely diagnose an embolic stroke following his arrival at the Emergency Department, and that the stroke, once discovered, was improperly treated. Defendants argued through a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician that there were no initial signs of stroke upon arrival to the Hospital, and that the patient was properly evaluated and treated as a trauma patient. The patient’s airway was secured and he was stabilized for further diagnostic work up, which ultimately revealed the stroke. Defendants further supported the motion with a Board Certified Neuroradiologist who opined that the prevailing standard of care at the time dictated that tPA administration was contraindicated in patients with suspected trauma due to the risk of internal bleeding. She opined that the imaging studies revealed objective evidence of significant trauma to the patient’s face and torso in the form of facial fractures and contusions of the lungs, and therefore treatment with tPA was not medically indicated at that time. She further opined that the imaging of the stroke itself demonstrated that it was a devastating event that had already progressed beyond any available treatment including invasive clot extraction. Plaintiff countered defendants’ motion with three separate experts in the fields of emergency medicine, neurology, and neuroradiology. Despite this extensive opposition, the Court held that defendants’ experts establish that all the medical care provided was within the standard of care, and that the plaintiff’s expert opinions to the contrary were speculative and failed to raise a question of fact. The action was dismissed in its entirety.

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