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Woman Awarded $6.4 Million In Medical Malpractice Verdict


A woman who is no longer able to walk after delivering a baby won a medical malpractice lawsuit against her neurologist after he failed to spot a chiari malformation. A chiari malformation is a congenital defect in the skull which causes the brain to protrude into the spinal cord. The condition is made worse by giving birth. The plaintiff alleged that the doctor should have spotted and diagnosed the chiari malformation prior to the delivery and doing so would have prevented the patient from delivering the baby naturally. In other words, she would still be walking.

The defense alleged, perhaps misguidedly, that the plaintiff’s paralysis was the result of psychiatric conditions or the stress of being a new mother. In other words, the defense contended that she had a “somatic” disorder also known as conversion disorder. Conversion disorder is a condition in which a patient shows paralysis, blindness, or some other disability but there is no physical reason for the disability. It is believed to stem from psychological problems.

Understanding the defense 

To prove medical malpractice, you must establish that your doctor missed a diagnosis that most other doctors would have spotted and this resulted in severe injury. The doctor, when it’s obvious that the diagnosis is correct, he missed it, and the patient is injured only really has one potential defense. The doctor can claim that the missed diagnosis did not lead to the plaintiff’s injuries. In that case, the plaintiff would not have a claim. However, that defense has to be reasonable.

What happened here? The plaintiffs offered a settlement and the defense said, no, we’re going to roll the dice before a jury. However, the best defense the doctor could muster was that he missed the chiari malformation but the patient’s symptoms were caused by postpartum psychiatric problems. It’s an insulting defense, especially when you have a female plaintiff who is a new mother. Any woman in the jury box would have been imagining her doctor telling her that her condition was related to psychiatric problems rather than an undiagnosed physiological problem. It is a defense of last resort most often used by long-term disability companies to deny claims on their policy that lack sufficient information. In this case, it backfired, and the jury returned the largest verdict in the district for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Civil defense attorneys want to push your buttons

 The experience of filing a lawsuit against a negligent doctor will not be a fun one. The insurance company picks up the claim and defends the doctor from the suit. They want to scare you off from the claim, make you angry, and generally, make you feel uncomfortable. Allegations of fraud or conversion disorder, general accusations that you caused your own injuries, and generally painting you as an unlikable gold digger are something injured plaintiffs have to endure on their road to economic recovery.

Talk to an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

The Moses Law Firm represents the interests of injured Georgia patients in medical malpractice claims. Call our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys today and we can begin the process of filing your claim and recovering damages related to your injuries.


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