$635,000 Jury Verdict for Injury to Patient for Negligent Removal of a Defibrillator Lead

Shronda Thomason suffered from a cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, which necessitated the implanting of a defibrillator. The treating cardiologist, Dr. John Gallagher, advised Thomason that she required a new pacemaker battery and the replacement of the defibrillator’s lead.

During the surgery, which was done in a hospital catherization lab, Thomason sustained a puncture and hole in her superior vena cava of her heart. Clearly, the hole resulted in profuse and immediate bleeding from that area of the heart. Dr. Gallagher called for a cardiothoracic surgeon to assist. Thomason was placed on cardiovascular bypass about an hour and a half later. By then, it was too late.

Because Thomason suffered excessive bleeding, she died. Thomason was a property specialist earning more than $50,000 annually and was survived by her four children, one of whom is a minor.

The Thomason family sued Dr. Gallagher and his practice, claiming that Dr. Gallagher had performed a procedure without adequate personnel who could timely respond to an emergency, like producing a hole in the superior vena cava of the patient’s heart. The family claimed that the lead extraction should have been performed in an operating room and not in the cath lab, which should have been equipped with a cardiovascular bypass machine and in the presence of a cardiothoracic surgeon. It was asserted that had those protections been in place, Thomason could have undergone the appropriate intervention, closing the hole while on cardiovascular bypass, and this could have been done within ten minutes saving her life.

The jury returned the verdict in favor of the Thomason family in the amount of $635,100. The Thomason family was expertly represented by Columbia, S.C., attorneys Kenneth M. Suggs and Gerald D. Jowers Jr.

Thomason v. Gallagher, No. 2012CP4200964 (S.C., Spartanburg Co., Com. Pleas, June 20, 2014).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence case, cardiovascular injury cases, surgical error cases and nursing home abuse cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Maywood, Bridgeview, Hinsdale, Lansing, New Lenox, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Oak Park, Park Ridge, Forest Park and Wilmette, Ill.

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