Animation in Med Mal Case Helps Net Large Confidential Settlement

Carpal Tunnel surgery is a fairly straightforward and common surgery. Delicate, for sure, given the nerves in the area, but there exist safety devices specifically to protect the nerves during this surgery. When a surgeon doesn’t use them correctly, however, that is medical malpractice, not a lack of an optimal result. 

This is the situation that Laurence Huttman of Farah and Farah faced when a client came to him with the complaint. Every patient is explained the risks and knows that a surgery may not provide perfect results, but when the result is an injury caused by the surgeon, worse than what required the surgery in the first place, that’s a problem. In Mr. Huttman’s client’s case, the surgeon failed to make the cut to the carpal ligament in one pass, during which the median nerve had overlapped the protective sled. The surgeon did not reposition the protective device in the proper location to protect the client’s median nerve and he ended up slicing into it when he completed the carpal ligament cut. The surgeon noted that this occurred, but neglected to provide specific follow-up care or a referral to a specialist. Larry immediately located a board-certified hand specialist who personally had completed over 1000 hand surgeries in the past year, trains residents on these procedures, and regularly attends conferences. His credentials were impeccable, and upon reviewing the client’s case, agreed that this was a deviation from the standard of care. 

Prior to engaging Huttman’s firm, the offers to the client were not nearly enough to cover what he had lost, both monetarily and emotionally. Once involved, Huttman requested a speedy trial due to his client’s age and pulled out all of the stops to secure a fair settlement for his client, and was willing to take it to trial if a settlement could not be reached. As they waited, the impact on the client’s daily life grew as he realized the things he could no longer enjoy in his life – he had to sell his boat, couldn’t complete projects around his house, and had to miss important moments with his family. What he would have accepted previously was no longer enough and the demand grew. Huttman was preparing for trial and came to Focus Graphics to create a medical animation showing the right way/wrong way for the surgery – how it should have been done compared to how it was actually done. The expert consulted on this animation to ensure everything was done correctly and that he could use it to explain to a jury what happened during the surgery. This animation was key in settling the case for a satisfactory confidential amount for the client.

The issue in any medical malpractice case is that it’s always the ‘chicken or the egg’ so to speak. One of the defenses they attempted was that it just wasn’t an optimal result, which would be considered normal. This kind of procedure can be done right and still not be effective. We had to prove that he had a different medical issue after the procedure than going in, which was the high-grade median nerve tear. The fact that my client only had 6.5k in medical bills didn’t scare our team away, however. I felt compelled because every case has value and could benefit someone’s life. The animation created by Focus Graphics definitely settled our case this year and I hope to work with them again on bigger ones in the future!”

Attorney Laurence Huttman

~Laurence Huttman, Esq., Jacksonville, FL | Farah & Farah


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