Kenneth S. Oliver, one of the firm’s senior medical malpractice defense trial attorneys, received a unanimous jury verdict in Supreme Court, Kings County, on April 27, 2016, on behalf of one of two internists alleged to have departed from accepted standards of medical practice by prescribing and continuing antibiotics for a patient on anticoagulant therapy (Coumadin) for many years due to a metallic mitral valve replacement, resulting in a large subdural hematoma which required two surgical evacuations. Plaintiff, in her mid-30’s, contended that she presented to the defendant physicians with signs and symptoms of a viral illness, and that the antibiotics, prescribed to treat suspected bacterial sinusitis, were contraindicated due to the risk of interference with clotting factors and the potentiation of Coumadin. The named internists saw the plaintiff over the course of one week before the hematoma was diagnosed. Mr. Oliver called an infectious disease expert to establish that bacterial sinusitis was an appropriate clinical diagnosis based on history, signs, symptoms and physical findings, and that the antibiotics provided appropriate coverage for it. Moreover, he argued that the antibiotics were not contraindicated for a patient on Coumadin as long as there was close monitoring of coagulation levels in the blood, which the defendants had recommended, and that the treatment was appropriate to prevent possible endocarditis given plaintiff’s history of an artificial mitral valve replacement. In addition, Mr. Oliver called a neuro-radiologist who reviewed and reported a brain CT scan when the subdural hematoma was diagnosed, who opined that the bleed was primarily subacute and chronic, supporting an argument that the bleed was a spontaneous hemorrhage due to anticoagulation.
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