In medical malpractice trials, it’s crucial to break down complex terms in ways that allow jurors to have a keen grasp on the issues at the heart of your case. And in openings of a 2021 med mal trial, Karen Terry skillfully walked jurors through the details of a robot-assisted prostate surgery to ultimately set up a multi-million-dollar verdict.
Steven Rosenberg suffered a rectal tear during a 2018 robot-assisted, simple prostatectomy, or RASP, performed by Dr. Frederick Muhletaler. Rosenberg claims Muhletaler did not properly repair the tear, leading him to develop a rectourethral fistula, or an opening between the urethra and rectum. Rosenberg ultimately underwent surgery to repair the fistula, leading to a temporary ileostomy and a host of genitourinary complications.
In the trial’s opening, Terry, of Searcy Denney, used an orange as a demonstrative stand-in for a prostate when explaining the surgery.
“So what is a RASP?” Terry asks, as she holds the orange. “You go into the prostate through the bladder…. And you go in and you scoop the inside of the orange out.” Here, Terry mimics scooping the material out of the orange to make her point.
“Why would you do that?” Terry asks, anticipating what the jurors may be thinking. “Well, it shrinks the size of the prostate.”
The use of a demonstrative that jurors are familiar with in openings, as opposed to an anatomical model, can make the jury more comfortable as they are introduced to the complex and sometimes graphic details surrounding a med mal case. At the same time, the familiar demonstrative makes the concepts easier to understand and key details of the case more memorable.
Indeed, Terry returns to the demonstrative repeatedly in openings, such as when detailing the tear that occurred during the operation. Terry’s clear, memorable break down of the issues involved in the case helped secure a $2.44 million verdict and made CVN's list of Top 10 Most Impressive Plaintiff's Verdicts of 2021.
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.
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