Murphy & Landon, a Wilmington litigation boutique, won a $3,425,515 verdict Thursday in a medical malpractice case in Superior Court. The lawsuit, in which the plaintiff Patricia McLeod sued Delaware plastic surgeon Patrick Swier, M.D., was tried by Murphy & Landon lawyers Roger Landon and Philip Edwards
Ms. McLeod sought treatment from Dr. Swier in September, 2009 for complaints of pain, numbness and tingling in her left leg. Her right leg, however, was asymptomatic. Diagnostic tests on Ms. McLeod’s right and left leg were negative, including two negative EMGs. Despite these negative diagnostic tests and the absence of symptoms in her right leg, Dr. Swier diagnosed Ms. McLeod with severe nerve damage in both legs and recommended surgery in both legs to avoid permanent nerve damage. In April 2010, Dr. Swier performed nine separate nerve procedures on Ms. McLeod’s left leg. As a result of the surgery, Ms. McLeod developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a rare but painful, permanent and debilitating disorder of the central and peripheral nervous systems.
At trial, the jury heard expert medical testimony that the surgery was unnecessary and excessive. The jury agreed, finding that the unnecessary surgery caused Ms. McLeod to suffer from CRPS.
Before developing CRPS, Ms. McLeod worked as a schoolteacher for the Wicomico County School District. Since the surgery, she has suffered constant, often excruciating pain, leaving her unable to work or lead a normal life. CRPS is an incurable and permanent condition that will leave Ms. McLeod disabled for life. Medical experts projected her future medical bills and loss of earnings in the millions of dollars.
Trial was held in Sussex County, over seven days, before Superior Court Judge, the Honorable M. Jane Brady.