Posted on Dec 25, 2006
Jury awards $16 million in brain surgery malpractice case
MIAMI - A Miami-Dade jury has awarded a woman $16 million in a medical malpractice case alleging complications from an unnecessary operation left her brain damaged.
Lourdes Landis, 48, of Miami, suffered a seizure in 2001 after she was discharged from the hospital following brain surgery to remove a benign tumor. She lapsed into a coma and suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.
Her attorneys argued in court that the surgery was unnecessary and that University of Miami neurosurgeon Jacques J. Morcos mishandled the operation and postoperative care. But Morcos said the tumor could have been deadly.
"I was the third opinion on this and we were all saying the same thing," Morcos said. "This tumor was blocking the fluid spaces of her brain, causing a threat to her life - not immediately, but eventually. There was some bleeding, but it was properly managed with medication. She was discharged in the expected postoperative state. The tragedy in this case is that Fire Rescue was unable to secure her airway."
University officials said they will appeal the judgment.
"Morcos did nothing wrong," said Pascal Goldschmidt, dean of the Miller School of Medicine. "He's a formidable surgeon, and he did everything he could to help save the life of Lourdes Landis. This was a very complex case, as it often is with brain tumors. Most of the time the surgery goes well - practically all the time. However, in rare instances, a complication takes place that is completely unavoidable."