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ESSAKHAN v. GERSHMAN, M.D.

This case involved urological surgery for the removal of a kidney presumed to have a malignant tumor. Pre-operative testing was inconclusive and the patient claimed she executed a “limited” consent at surgery authorizing kidney removal only if the mass was indeed cancerous. A frozen section performed intra-operatively was inconclusive. The defendant surgeon claimed that the consent was not “conditional” and that there would be no way to determine conclusively whether the tumor was cancerous unless the entire kidney was removed.

The surgeon did remove the entire kidney and the kidney mass proved to be benign. There was much conflicting evidence regarding the scope of the consent and what was said by whom pre-operatively. The patient’s position was that she was “forced” into the surgery and made it clear that her consent was conditional. The surgeon was believed and the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict. Plaintiff’s counsel was the President of the Consumer Attorney’s Association of Los Angeles.