Baker Sterchi obtained a significant defense verdict for a plastic surgeon and hospital affiliates in a medical malpractice case tried in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, in which plaintiff alleged the surgeon caused a post-surgical infection, a rotator cuff injury and a long thoracic nerve injury during a series of breast surgeries.

According to plaintiff, after a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction in 2018, she developed a pseudomonas bacterial infection, requiring multiple follow-up surgeries, including implant exchanges and a perforator flap surgery. She claimed that the surgeon placed new implants into an infected breast pocket without diagnosing or treating the infection, leading to serious complications. Additionally, plaintiff alleged that incorrect patient positioning during surgery caused a partial tear in her right rotator cuff and that surgical dissection during the flap surgery damaged her long thoracic nerve, affecting her serratus anterior muscle.

In response, the Baker Sterchi trial team demonstrated that plaintiff’s complications were known risks associated with mastectomy and reconstruction, rather than the result of medical negligence. The team acknowledged that plaintiff experienced superficial cellulitis but maintained that a deep infection in the breast pocket did not occur until after her treatment with the surgeon ended. They also refuted claims that patient positioning during surgery led to the rotator cuff injury or that the long thoracic nerve was injured.

During closing arguments, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $3,140,000 in damages for both economic and noneconomic losses. However, after about 2.5 hours of deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict on all counts.