Case name: Teske v. Wausau Heart and Lung Surgeons, SC, et al.
Case no.: 07-CV-130
Court: Lincoln County Circuit Court
Judge: Hon. Jay Tlusty
Injuries alleged: The patient’s estate claimed pre-death pain and suffering. The patient’s widow claimed loss of society and companionship and pecuniary damages in the form of past and future wage loss, loss of retirement benefits, and loss of household services. At trial, plaintiff requested $350,000 for loss of society and companionship, $185,000 for past pecuniary loss, $745,000 for future pecuniary loss, but did not specify an amount requested for pre-death pain and suffering.
Verdict: Jury returned a defense verdict
Verdict date: Oct. 9, 2009
Plaintiff attorneys: Jerome A. Maeder and Bradley Myska, Jerome A. Maeder Law Offices, Wausau
Defense attorneys: Wausau Heart & Lung Surgeons, SC and Physicians Insurance Company: Barrett J. Corneille and Crystal M. Uebehlher, Corneille Law Group, Madison; Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund: Mark Wendorff, Wausau
Plaintiff experts: Dr. Andre Jawde, cardiothoracic surgeon; Michael Doll, physician assistant; Dr. Karl Egge, economist; Ross Lynch, vocational rehabilitation
Defense experts: Dr. Niloo Edwards, cardiothoracic surgeon; Damon Denzin, physician assistant; Dr. David Jones, economist; Karen Boehm, vocational rehabilitation; Mark Marzolf, D.O.
Defense counsel’s summary of the case: In this Lincoln County wrongful death, medical negligence case, the issue was whether the heart surgeon and physician assistant properly prepared and inspected a vein used in a coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The patient began bleeding from one of the vein grafts after surgery and went into irreversible ventricular fibrillation, which led to his death. It was determined that a clip was not preventing blood flow from a side branch.
Plaintiff alleged that the vein graft was bleeding as soon as it was attached to the heart during surgery and that clip had been placed. Plaintiffs conceded at trial that the physician assistant was not negligent and that claim did not go to the jury. The defense contended that the vein graft was not bleeding when surgery was completed and that the clip came off several hours after surgery when the patient’s vital signs suddenly became abnormal and his chest tube blood output drastically increased.