Because weeks of complex and often conflicting evidence can overwhelm jurors in a medical malpractice trial, simplifying the keys to the case is crucial. In a med mal and false advertising trial against a medical concierge firm for the vascular disease that cost a patient her leg, Karen Terry’s memorable closing argument helped seal a multi-million-dollar win.
Joan Beber’s leg was amputated due to complications from a vascular condition. Beber had been a client of medical concierge firm, MDVIP, which promised “exceptional care” through its physicians, including Dr. Charles Metzger, who Beber’s husband Robert claimed was negligent in failing to diagnose the condition in time to save her leg.
In closings of the two-week trial, Searcy Denney’s Terry, representing Robert, walked jurors through medical evidence she says showed Metzger ignored clear signs of a potential vascular condition.
“Dr. Metzger never explored a vascular cause [of Beber’s symptoms],” Terry said, highlighting the conclusions of a key witness. “He just had tunnel vision, and went to the left and looked at a neurogenic, or a back cause. He never looked to the right.”
Terry broke Metzger’s conduct down with a metaphor every juror could understand:
“So here we are, crossing a very busy street, and you’re not looking both ways. [That’s] something our moms and dads all teach us to do when we’re two,” Terry said. “But Dr. Metzger, he had tunnel vision.”
Terry would refer to that failure to that tunnel vision repeatedly as she walked jurors through records of Beber’s continuing complaints, ever-worsening symptoms and a medical staff she argued turned a blind eye to the mounting medical crisis.
“It’s OK to start with a working diagnosis. That’s a reasonable thing to do,” Terry said. “But what’s not reasonable, ladies and gentlemen, is to just have tunnel vision and bury your head in the sand when your patient’s not getting better. When they’re not responding to treatment that they should be responding to, you’ve got to do more. Especially when you’re labeled exceptional.”
Terry’s closing helped key an $8.5 million verdict in the case.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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