$1.97M Verdict: Arteriovenous Malformation Malpractice

Bryan Smith, Esq.,Morgan & Morgan, PA, Memphis, TN

A botched procedure resulted in the deterioration of a child’s face and nose after doctors injected him with too much ethanol to kill off blood flow to an arteriovenous malformation in his upper lip. The child’s face needed to be repaired using skin from his forehead and cartilage from his ear, and Morgan & Morgan, P.A., needed to show why doctors were liable for damages.

Faced with a complicated medical malpractice case involving an uncommon condition most jurors may not be familiar with, the child’s attorneys needed visuals to help illustrate what an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) looks like, highlight what went wrong during the injections, explain the surgeries needed to repair the damage, and emphasize the degree to which their client would be scarred for life.

They secured a $1.97M verdict for their client using the following Medical Illustrations.

Bryan Smith, ESQ. - Morgan & Morgan
High Impact’s team of expert medical illustrators created stunning visuals to help me teach complex medical concepts to the jury. They pulled from their vast experience in other cases to help develop a strategy for presenting my case in a visually persuasive sequence that the jury was able to understand and use in the jury room. High Impact helped me tell my client’s story in a way that made a BIG difference.

Exhibits A and B: Introducing an AVM

Arteriovenous malformations (AVM) are abnormal tangles of blood vessels that disrupt the natural flow of blood. Complications of an AVM include life-threatening hemorrhaging, pain, skin breakdown, overgrowth of tissue and even congestive heart failure.

The purpose of the first two exhibits was to establish what an AVM looks like, as compared to the normal vascular anatomy. Visually comparing normal versus abnormal helps familiarize jurors with an otherwise complex condition.

Exhibits C-E: Colorized Radiography

A treatment for AVM is to inject absolute ethanol into the localized area, which works as an embolic agent to cure lesions in soft tissues, organs, bone, and the brain. In this case however, medical providers injected too much ethanol too quickly, which resulted in the deterioration of his right nostril and right cheek.

In the next set of exhibits, we colorized the angiograms that were captured from monitoring the victim’s ethanol injections - to visualize what went wrong. Colorizing these black-and-white films made them more understandable and recognizable to jurors.

The first image captures an overview of the vascular anatomy before the catheterization, to help illustrate the network of arteries connected to the catheter.

The second image highlights the arterial spasm caused by too much ethanol being pumped through the network of arteries too quickly, weakening blood flow to the child’s face.

The third exhibit illustrates the area of lost blood perfusion, where important vessels died off and lead to the eventual deterioration of his face.

Exhibits F-H: Surgical Illustrations

The next set of exhibits illustrates the surgical procedures needed to repair the child’s face. Illustrated surgeries not only help explain complex procedures, but also provide graphic context that anchors the jurors’ understanding of an injury or condition.

The first exhibit shows the debridement of damaged skin tissue from the facial wounds.

The next exhibit illustrates the tissue rearrangement of the right check, and suturing of the cheek flap.

The third exhibit shows the excision, dissection, and removal of the tangled AVM.

Exhibits F-H: Transferring Facial Features

The final exhibit breaks down the complicated surgical procedures involved in removing ear cartilage to rebuild the child’s nose, and harvesting skin from his forehead to replace deteriorated skin.

This case also involved age progression exhibits in which we compared current photos of the victim to how he may look many years from now as the scars mature.

High Impact’s team of visual strategists, artists and developers can build and customize your digital presentation for any case involving personal injury, medical malpractice, birth trauma - or any subject involving complex information.

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