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CUSUMANO v. BECK, M.D.

Healthcare and business litigation parter, Michael A. Zuk, Esq. Successfully defended a physician accused of permanently disabling a web printer by allegedly failing to remove sufficient bone during a second shoulder surgery performed on the patient.  The patient was a successful web printer, who, based upon his earnings, claimed to have lost in excess of $1 million, present cash value, over his work life expectancy.  Plaintiff contended that Dr. Beck failed to appreciate shoulder impingements syndrome caused by Dr. Beck’s previous failure  to remove enough bone during his initial shoulder surgery.  The second shoulder surgery was necessitated by a setback plaintiff suffered and allowed Dr. Beck to re-explore the area of the previous surgery.  Dr. Beck did not believe, according to his operative report, that there was sufficient impingement to warrant intervention.  The patient then left his carrier  and went to a subsequent treating orthopedic surgeon who re-operated on the patient because of continuing complaints of pain, weakness and lack of range of motion.  The patient reported substantial improvement shortly following the third surgery by the subsequent treating physician who was quite critical in his criticism of Dr. Beck.  At trial, the jury was convinced that Dr. Beck utilized his judgment and did not fall below the standard of care even if he failed to remove more bone during either of his two surgeries. Moreover, the defense was able to successfully prove that plaintiff failed to comply with the regime of physical therapy that Dr. Beck planned following the second surgery and was deprived of the opportunity to follow the patient through when he left his care.  The jury returned a unanimous verdict in less than one hour in deliberation time.  This was the fourth defense verdict obtained by Michael A. Zuk this year and the third in three months.