IV Case in Point
Illustrated Verdict shares case examples from our archives to show how a visual strategy can support the defense effort. We hope that it is of value in your practice as you develop your defense strategies on behalf of health care providers. Please feel free to forward it to colleagues or clients.
IV is a leading provider of demonstrative evidence for the defense of medical malpractice claims. Our team of medical illustrators consults with defense teams to educate the lay jury audience about the complexities of medical care. We do this by developing a visual strategy with expert witnesses including high-quality case-specific medical illustrations, x-ray enhancements, and multimedia presentations. IV receives judgment for the defense in over 94% of the cases we participate in, as compared to the national average of 73%. Additionally, insurers who supply us with their trial list enjoy a win rate of up to 97%.
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Case In Point Library
Click to view other editions:
Case In Point Library Page
Pregnancy and Delivery:
Fetal Assessment 2009v1
Shoulder Dystocia 2009v3
MVA Leads to Fetal Demise 2010v4
Fetal Descent Stalled 2010v5
Shoulder Dystocia / Erb's 2011v4
Fetal Tracings / Hypoxic Injury? 2013v1
Coronary Artery Disease 2009v5
CAD / Recurrent MI 2010v1
Aortic Valve Replacement 2011v1
Stroke After Lung Surgery 2009v2
PE / Infection 2010v3
PE Following Roux En Y 2012v1
Intubation / Macklin Effect 2012v4
Lung Cancer vs. Infection 2015v3
Hysterectomy / Fistula 2011v9
Hysterectomy / Ureter Injury 2010v2
Hysterectomy / Kinked Ureter 2010v8
Diag Lap / Bowel Injury 2012v3
Cervical Cancer 2013v3
Endometrial Cancer 2014v1
Bladder Cancer 2013v2
Gastric Bypass 2009v6
Recurrent Hiatal Hernia 2009v8
Right Colectomy / Leak 2010v7
Gastric Bypass / Volvulus 2011v2
Nissen Fundoplication 2011v3
Large Hiatal Hernia 2013v5
Necrotizing Enterocolitis 2013v7
Arrest during ERCP 2015v4
Diverticulitis Complications 2015v5
Spleen Injury and Bleed 2009v4
Bleed Following Lithotripsy 2012v2
Lap Cholecystectomy 2012v5
Bowel Injury Lap Ovarian Cyst Removal 2013v6
LapChole - Hepatic Duct Injury2015v1
Partial Hip Replacement 2010v6
tPA Infusion 2009v7
Vertebral A. Coil Embolization 2015v7
Head and Neck:
Bell's Palsy 2013v4
Tongue Cancer 2014v2
Chiari I - Vision Loss 2015v2
Judgment for the Defense
Chiropractic Adjustment Allegedly Caused Bell's Palsy
A 42-year-old man was in relatively good health until December 2000, when he slipped on a step and developed lower back strain. He was seen by a chiropractor who performed a neck manipulation (rapid rotation of neck). During the maneuver, he felt a “pop” sensation and developed pain on the left side of his head. He saw the chiropractor again the following day when the chiropractor repeated the maneuver. His pain worsened within thirty minutes and left-sided facial palsy along with left hand weakness and tingling developed. He went to the ER and was treated with medication. Initially, the palsy was severe, but then started to improve by Feb of 2001. He had both MRIs* and MRAs* (pictures of blood vessels inside the body) of the brain which were all said to be normal. He also had an MRI of his cervical spine* that showed left-sided C5/6 disc and osteophyte impingement on C6 left nerve root. In 2002, he underwent a surgical fusion of C5/6 and discectomy, which resulted in significant improvement of his left arm. However, he continued to have issues with his lower back.
Plaintiff claimed that the chiropractic manipulation of his neck caused Bell’s palsy.
The defense experts believed and set out to prove that there was no possible relationship between an adjustment of the cervical spine and Bell's palsy. The defense experts helped the jury to understand that anatomically, this does not make sense because the facial nerve enters directly into the skull, so it would not be affected by manipulation.
Collaborating with the defense attorney and experts, IV created a visual strategy that helped explain that the defendant’s actions were within the standard of care.
We created illustrations that helped demonstrate the path of the facial nerve. Specifically where it enters into the skull and what portions of it are within the skull.
The next diagram demonstrated how Bell’s palsy appears with the distribution of the facial nerve.
The fourth diagram was normal anatomy of the cervical spine, which was used to demonstrate a healthy spine.
The fifth diagram illustrated the spinal issues that the plaintiff had at C5/6 based on a description of the MRI reports in July 2001.
Then another diagram was created from MRI reports from January 2007 to show the extent of his disease and the surgical fusion he had done on his cervical spine in 2002.
The seventh diagram was normal anatomy of the lumbar spine (lower back).
The next diagram helped to demonstrate the lumbar spinal issues he presented with in January 2007.
The final diagram was used to explain some of the issues that the plaintiff experienced throughout the years, which were not related to the original chiropractic manipulation of his neck.
This series of visuals helped the defense successfully convey the following key points to the jury:
- It was impossible for the facial nerve to have been injured with a neck manipulation based on its anatomical location in the skull and the path to the face.
- The plaintiff’s symptoms of left arm weakness and numbness that developed at the same time of the palsy were attributed to the cervical spine issues of the C5/6 osteophytes and disc issues.
- The plaintiff had a history of back and spine problems that were all attributed to spinal issues and did not have any relationship with the original chiropractic manipulation done in 2000.
The jury found in favor of the defense.
“The jury returned a defense verdict on Wednesday after two hours of deliberations. Many thanks for all your help!”
- Attorney Bernard Guekguezian, Esq., Adler, Cohen, Harvey, Wakeman and Guekguezian LLP, Boston, MA
*Films are examples and not case specific.