October 6, 2019

An Ohio medical malpractice jury listened to testimony and considered the evidence it was provided during a week-and-a-half trial after which it found the defendant Cleveland Clinic physician medically negligent in causing the plaintiff’s permanent facial nerve neuropathy during a temporal artery biopsy procedure performed at the Cleveland Clinic in July, 2016 that was supposed to last 45 minutes but instead took over 2 hours. The Ohio medical malpractice jury awarded $3.97 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiff.

The Underlying Facts

The plaintiff was 58-years-old when the procedure was performed. The plaintiff alleged in her Ohio medical malpractice lawsuit that the physician who had performed the procedure had negligently failed to localize the plaintiff’s temporal artery before making the incision, which was incorrectly placed in an area where the facial nerve is located.

When the plaintiff woke up from the anesthesia after the procedure, she was in substantial pain that did not resolve. She was subsequently diagnosed with facial nerve neuropathy on the right side of her face, which is permanent. She attempted to obtain relief from her unrelenting pain over the course of a year but her treatments were not successful. She subsequently came under the care of a pain management specialist, who prescribed monthly ketamine infusions, which she continues to receive for her pain management.

Besides denying liability for the plaintiff’s alleged injury, the Cleveland Clinic attacked the monthly ketamine infusions, contending that they were unnecessary and ineffective. One of the defendant’s experts opined that the plaintiff should have an implanted peripheral nerve stimulator and that she should be taking opioids to treat her pain.

The Ohio medical malpractice jury rejected the defendant’s contentions and awarded the plaintiff $750,000 for her past pain and suffering and $1 million for her future pain and suffering. The jury also awarded the plaintiff in excess of $2 million for ketamine treatments over the course of her lifetime.

Ohio’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases is $350,000, which meant that the jury’s award of noneconomic damages to the plaintiff should be reduced to $350,000. However, the defendant agreed to pay the full amount of the jury’s verdict after the trial judge denied the defendant’s motion and scheduled the jury to hear testimony on the issue of whether punitive damages should also be awarded (the plaintiff contended that the physician who performed the original procedure acted with conscious disregard for her safety).

One of the plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorneys stated after the verdict and subsequent settlement agreement, “Being able to effectively enforce the jury’s true verdict in this case, rather than having it arbitrarily reduced, made this result especially satisfying. We are thrilled for our client.”


If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in Ohio or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an Ohio medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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