STATE/COUNTY: Florida/Miami-Dade County Courthouse
DATE OF VERDICT: May 13, 2008
NAME OF CASE: LETICIA ARNAU, by and through her legal guardian and next friend, GLADYS ARNAU vs. DANIEL A. MARTINEZ-URTARTE, M.D.; INPHYNET CONTRACTING SERVICES, INC., etc., et al.
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS: Mitchell J. Zidell of J.H. Zidell, P.A., of Miami Beach.
COUNSEL FROM McGRANE, NOSICH & GANZ, P.A.: James J. Nosich and Justin Arnold.
AGE/SEX/OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF: 19-year old female who was a student and working at a fast food restaurant.
CLIENT OF McGRANE, NOSICH & GANZ: Emergency Department Physician, Daniel Martinez-Urtarte, M.D.
CAUSE OF ACTION: Alleged Failure to Timely Diagnose Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke.
The Plaintiff alleged that the stroke, which sent a 19-year-old female into a persistent vegetative state for the last seven years prior to trial, resulted from medical malpractice on the part of the emergency department physician who treated her following a fall. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the fall was due to neurological deficits and the emergency department physician failed to recognize the deficits as being related to the early signs of a stroke. The cause of the stroke was later thought to have been caused by a syndrome of constriction in the carotid artery supplying blood to the brain. The defendant maintained that the patient was properly evaluated for trauma associated with the fall.
DAMAGES: The stroke left the plaintiff in a persistent vegetative state. She has been kept alive for the prior seven years on a ventilator and required 24-hour nursing care. Plaintiff’s life care plan was estimated at $11 million.
VERDICT: Defense verdict.
COMMENTS BY JIM NOSICH: It was believed that there was no way to overcome the sympathy involved in a case with a young girl in a vegetative state. I believe jury selection was the key to the defense verdict.