News & Thought Leadership from Sulloway & Hollis

April 8, 2020

Sulloway Attorney Peter Meyer Obtains Defense Verdict for Client

Sulloway & Hollis attorney Peter Meyer recently tried a two week jury trial in the Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, NH. Attorney Meyer successfully defended a board certified radiologist against claims of medical negligence in the interpretation of a portable chest x-ray taken in the emergency department of a local hospital.

The patient, who ultimately succumbed to a dissecting aorta, presented atypically to the emergency department. The typical presentation for a patient with a dissecting aorta is searing chest pain. The indication/history given to the radiologist for this patient and the requested imaging studies was “altered mental status.” While the radiologist identified enlargement of the heart and a widened aorta, those findings were not significant for a patient with “altered mental status.” Additionally, those findings were not reported to the emergency department staff emergently; a failure the plaintiff alleged was below standard of care. Importantly, the emergency medicine physician had already identified these cardiac abnormalities before the radiologist had formally read the studies at issue. The patient died the day following admission and brought suit against the emergency medicine clinicians and the radiologist.

In his closing argument, Mr. Meyer challenged the jury to determine whether it was fair to blame the radiologist for the death of another human being for failing to inform the emergency medicine physician about findings of which physician was already aware, particularly given the indications for the procedure which pointed away from a dissecting aorta. The jury deliberated 4 hours and returned unanimous verdicts for all defendants, including the radiologist represented by Sulloway & Hollis.

Mr. Meyer has successfully tried over 25 medical malpractices jury trials to verdict on behalf on health care providers. He is the Co-Chair of Sulloway’s Medical Malpractice and Physician/Hospital Practice Group. In 2018, Mr. Meyer was inducted into the prestigious American College of Trail Lawyers.