SLS attorneys Jim Myers and Rachael Longhofer defended a physician and his practice group in a jury trial in Clay County, Missouri in October 2021. The patient underwent a vertebroplasty by SLS’s client, an interventional radiologist, to relieve pain from a fractured T8 vertebrae. During the procedure, methyl methacrylate (bone cement) is injected into the patient’s spine (vertebral space) to stabilize the fracture and promote healing. During the procedure, bone cement embolized or migrated from the injection site and became lodged in the patient’s heart and lungs. The patient died 13 months after the vertebroplasty procedure.
After her death, the patient’s family filed a wrongful death and medical negligence suit claiming the bone cement in the patient’s heart and lungs caused or contributed to cause her death as well as a number of other medical problems the patient experienced prior to her death. The patient’s family claimed the interventional radiologist represented by SLS attorneys Myers and Longhofer was negligent in not immediately terminating the vertebroplasty procedure as soon as he first observed embolization of the bone cement. The defense claimed the patient was properly advised of the risks of the procedure, denied that the interventional radiologist breached the standard of care, and argued that the patient’s death was caused by other factors not related to the bone cement lodged in her heart and lungs. At the close of evidence, the patient’s family asked the jury to award $2.3 million in damages. After five days of trial, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of SLS’s client.