A Boston-based personal injury lawyer has advised patients to get a second opinion on their doctor’s advice in a report published by medical injury watchdog, DrugWatcher, this year. Tom Kiley, Founder and Senior Partner of Kiley Personal Injury Law Group of Boston, describes a $10 million case he won against a negligent doctor who decided to perform an invasive lumbar puncture instead of a much safer CT scan, leaving his client completely paralyzed.
“Our client suffered catastrophic and irreversible brain damage as a result of an unnecessary and inappropriate diagnostic procedure… (she) was left unable to speak and paralyzed, except for the ability to lift one of her arms”.
“She was taken by ambulance to an area hospital and within 15 minutes of being examined by the doctor she was paralyzed and in a coma, which she would not emerge from for 15 months.”
Kiley, a veteran lawyer who has been described by The Boston Herald as the “Million-Dollar Man”, insists that the key is to “not to be a passive patient, to be skeptical, and to ask probing questions of the medical provider”. He acknowledged however, that it was easy to get swept up in the moment during a medical emergency.
“The client’s husband, a college-educated engineer who accompanied his wife to the emergency room, did not have the presence of mind to ask the doctor about the lumbar puncture and the risks associated with placing a needle in his wife’s (spine).”
Nevertheless, “the doctor would have been obligated to inform him about the risk”, Kiley adds.
As the court case surrounding notorious pharmaceutical executive, Martin “PharmaBro” Shkreli wraps up, Kiley’s comments contribute to a burgeoning discussion about the role of lawyers in moderating the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Best known for jacking up the price of life-saving HIV drug daraprim from $14 to $750 a tablet, Shkreli has become the de-facto representative of the far-reaching power that medical stakeholders have over patients. Injury lawyers play a crucial role in holding medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies accountable.
Kiley, who has won over $400 million in compensation for his clients over the last four decades, is the perfect example of that balancing game in action. His firm secured $10 million in compensation for the woman and her husband, proving that even doctors are not beyond the reach of justice.
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