In March 2019, attorneys Virgil Pryor and Priscilla DeGois obtained a unanimous defense verdict in favor of a urologist in a case involving a traumatic injury which resulted in necrotizing fasciitis and over twenty therapeutic and reconstructive surgeries. The plaintiff in the case fell from a ladder onto an upright shovel handle, impaling himself from his scrotum to his ribs. He presented to the hospital on three consecutive days with complaints of pain in the groin and upper abdomen.
Plaintiff claimed that his healthcare providers were negligent in failing to appreciate that his history and presentation, including a CT scan that showed air tracking from the scrotum to the ribs, strongly suggested an impalement injury and required immediate surgical intervention to prevent necrotizing fasciitis. Plaintiff sued the hospital, radiologists, emergency physicians, general surgeon, and the urologist, alleging over $3,000,000 in damages. Prior to trial, all the other parties were either dismissed or settled with plaintiff.
Plaintiff continued to pursue his action against the urologist, alleging that the urologist should have recognized that the shovel handle had impaled plaintiff’s scrotum, traveled to his abdomen, and broke his ribs from penetrating trauma. With the assistance of experienced experts in urology, general/trauma surgery, and radiology, Virgil and Priscilla convinced the jury that the urologist complied with the standard of care and could not have predicted the actual nature of this bizarre injury.
The urologist thoroughly examined plaintiff, considered all the data available to him at the time, and exercised reasonable clinical judgment in treating plaintiff. Plaintiff’s clinical presentation, including lab results, physical examination, and imaging studies, were wholly consistent with injuries limited solely to a scrotal laceration and rib fractures. The urologist was not duty bound to disregard objective medical data and plaintiff’s own account to multiple healthcare providers that the handle did not penetrate his body. After five weeks of evidence, the jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict in favor of the urologist.