$100K Offer Turns into a $2.4M Verdict in CRPS Case

Rules, especially in medical environments, exist for a reason, and when those rules aren’t followed, communication is key. In the case of Taylor Asen’s 65-year old female client, the proper positioning for a medical procedure wasn’t followed, but there was no communication and it was disastrous for her. She was undergoing a routine endoscopic procedure at a hospital in Bangor, Maine. According to testimony of hospital employees in the fluoroscopy room where the procedure was performed, it was uncomfortable for the patient to put her left arm down by her side. Therefore, unbeknownst to everyone in the room except for the CRNA, the patient’s left arm was left, unsecured, up by the patient’s head. During the procedure, the table moves back and forth and up and down. At some point, the patient’s arm moved, and was crushed between the moving and fixed part of the table. 

About two years after the injury occurred, the patient, who is from one of the most rural parts of Maine, continued to experience debilitating pain in her left arm. Her lawyers at Gideon Asen sent her to a pain specialist, who diagnosed the patient with complex regional pain syndrome (“CRPS”). CRPS is one of the most difficult conditions to treat as it isn’t well understood. It’s a broad term used to describe excessive and prolonged pain and inflammation following, in this case, an injury to an extremity. It is neurological in nature and can be acute and/or chronic, involving abnormal inflammation or nerve dysfunction, and usually presents with pain that is greater than would be expected. Because of the difficulty explaining CRPS, it was imperative for Asen to have a visual aid to show the jury so they could grasp what his client was experiencing and understand that there is no end to the pain in sight for her. He came to Focus Graphics to create an animation that would show the normal way pain pathways work, and then how it changes with CRPS. This animation was a tool for his expert to explain this complicated subject to the jury in a very simplified manner. It evidently worked, because while the defense was suggesting that a figure around $300K would be fair (up from an initial offer of around $100K), the jury came back after only two hours with a verdict of $2.4M. Learn more about this case directly from Taylor Asen and Trevor Savage.

Focus Graphics was wonderful to work with. For a very affordable price, Seton helped us develop an animation that allowed us to teach the jury about CRPS, a difficult medical concept. There was little dispute about the cause of the patient’s injury; instead the trial focused on the nature of the injury. We knew our client had a debilitating, permanent pain condition, while the defense was trying to argue that it was far less serious. The jury looked at the facts and agreed with us, rendering a verdict that would allow our client the best care for her condition for the rest of her life.

~Taylor Asen, Esq., Auburn, ME | Gideon Asen


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