LOUIS E. JAKUB, JR. has devoted his career to the defense of complex medical malpractice and personal injury cases involving profound neurological injuries associated with childbirth, wrongful death cases attributed to delays in diagnosing cancer and cases based upon poor surgical outcome. Mr. Jakub has also represented physicians and hospitals in claims involving pharmaceutical and prescription medication errors and the use of surgical instrumentation products in contraindicated settings. He communicates with conviction and credibility before juries, one reason for his track record defending physicians and hospitals in New York’s most challenging venues.
The cases he tries often involve lengthy courses of treatment and voluminous records, and his clients often are struck by his knowledge of the treatment, his ability to postulate alternative causes of the poor outcomes, and the manner in which he conveys a physician’s skill, care and judgment to a lay jury. Independent research through the New York Academy of Medicine and the National Institute of Health and great care in identifying the right expert for the specific case and venue are some of the steps undertaken to explain these complex cases effectively. Through extensive pre-trial preparation, his clients and experts take the witness stand knowing exactly what to convey and the most effective manner to convey it persuasively.
Bronx County Physician Successfully Defended In Wrongful Death Case
In May 2019, Mr. Jakub successfully defended a family practice physician accused of causing the wrongful death of her patient, a 72 year-old female. Mr. Jakub’s client had treated the decedent for various conditions over the course of many years and was charged with managing a complicated medical regimen to address heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. The patient developed an acute episode of gout for which Mr. Jakub’s client prescribed Naprosyn. One month later the patient was taken by ambulance to a local hospital in acute renal failure where she died the next day from renal failure. Plaintiff claimed that the Naprosyn caused the patient’s acute renal failure due to its interaction with other medications the patient was taking and because of her underlying renal disease.
Mr. Jakub, through his client and through expert witnesses, marshaled an alternative explanation for the onset of renal failure and the patient’s death which the jury unanimously accepted. (Miklos v. Gonzales, Supreme Court, Bronx County No.: 20739/10)
Radiologist Defended In Foreign Object Case
Partner Louis Jakub successfully defended a New York radiologist accused of negligently failing to diagnose the presence of a fractured catheter in a patient’s heart when he interpreted chest CT scans. Medi-port catheter was used for medication administration and its’ distal tip fractured, migrated and became lodged in the patient’s right atrium allegedly causing life-threatening palpitations and an arrhythmia. Plaintiff claimed the radiologist’s failure to identify it’s presence over a 2 ½ year time period allowed it to become embedded in scar tissue preventing its removal and leaving he plaintiff in a constant state of fear of sudden death due to fatal arrhythmia. Mr. Jakub demonstrated that the radiologist’s interpretation of the images was reasonable under the circumstances as images of the heart were obscured by motion artifact and the use of contrast. He also challenged the veracity of plaintiff’s claim that the foreign object could not be removed and that the patient was at risk for sudden death.
A Bronx jury unanimously concluded that a pediatrician was not responsible for a 6 year-old girl’s complete deafness caused by bacterial meningitis. The pediatrician was sued by the girl’s mother who alleged that the physician negligently failed to refer her child to an emergency room for complaints of a fever, vomiting and neck stiffness. The mother took her child to a Bronx County hospital 24 hours after the pediatrician’s evaluation, and the child was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis which caused total bilateral deafness. At trial, Mr. Jakub demonstrated that the pediatrician performed a thorough evaluation of the child’s complaints and that there were no meningeal signs present, despite the mother’s trial testimony of her child’s neck stiffness. Despite the girl’s extremely sympathetic presentation in court, and her mother’s compelling testimony, Mr. Jakub’s artful cross examination of the mother and the plaintiff’s expert witness, coupled with testimony of the defense expert, convinced the jury that the doctor acted appropriately.
A Brooklyn jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Jakub’s client in a “brain damaged baby” case involving a prematurely delivered newborn who required emergency surgery for the placement of a central venous catheter. The pediatric surgeon Mr. Jakub defended allegedly injured the newborn’s phrenic nerve thereby paralyzing her hemi-diaphragm. According to the plaintiffs’ trial experts, the damage to the phrenic nerve, which provides motor function to the diaphragm and controls breathing, deprived the baby’s brain of sufficient oxygen resulting in severe brain damage, mental retardation and cerebral palsy. Mr. Jakub successfully defended the pediatric surgeon by attributing the brain damage to the baby’s prematurity and shortcomings in the obstetric care rendered by a non-party physician.
Mr. Jakub successfully defended a neurosurgeon at trial in a case involving spinal fusion surgery in a 37 year-old man. The neurosurgeon performed multi-level spinal fusion surgery during which a pedicle screw entered the neuroforamen, causing permanent nerve damage. The plaintiff claimed at trial that the surgery was negligently performed in a minimally invasive manner and that the neurosurgeon failed to employ proper intra-operative sensory monitoring. The plaintiff required several subsequent operative procedures and was left with permanent lower extremity nerve damage and an inability to walk without assistance. The plaintiff sought $4 million to compensate for pain and suffering. Mr. Jakub convinced the jury that the permanent nerve damage was a recognized complication of the surgery rather than a result of poor surgical technique.
New York County
Recognized as one of the top 100 defense verdicts in New York State in 2009, the case involved claims that a urologist negligently discharged a psychiatric patient from a hospital following a medical procedure he performed. The patient resided in a long-term care facility due to lifetime psychiatric issues. He was taken to a New York City hospital for a urologic procedure then discharged by the urologist the following day. The patient was found deceased in a New York City park 2 weeks later, never having been transported back to the facility where he lived. The urologist was sued for wrongful death and accused at trial of negligently allowing the hospital staff to discharge the patient to the street. During the lengthy trial, plaintiff offered the testimony of the hospital’s discharge nurse who testified that the urologist failed to properly complete a discharge order and related paper work, which led to the patient walking out of the hospital. Mr. Jakub’s extensive cross-examination of this nurse and the plaintiff’s experts led the jury to conclude that the urologist fulfilled his obligations to the patient and appropriately relied on the hospital staff to carry out his orders.
Mr. Jakub obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a New York City teaching hospital in a case based upon claims that the hospital’s critical care physicians negligently managed a post-bypass surgery patient’s extubation. The plaintiff, a 61 year-old married man, was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery in the hospital’s cardio-thoracic intensive care unit. Several attempts were made to extubate the patient and wean him from mechanical ventilation. Each attempt prompted combative behavior in the patient and an emergent re-intubation was required. The patient was ultimately extubated five days after surgery. However, following his discharge, he developed tracheal stenosis, underwent a tracheal reconstruction procedure at a New Jersey hospital and ultimately required a permanent tracheostomy.
He and his wife sought $12 million from a Staten Island jury, claiming that he was prematurely extubated and traumatically re-intubated thus causing tracheal stenosis. During the four-week trial, four hospital physicians, two nurses, a physicians’ assistant and a respiratory therapist testified, along with five expert witnesses and the plaintiffs. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Jakub’s client, concluding that the tracheal stenosis was a complication of prolonged intubation rather than the result of negligent post-operative management.
A Brooklyn jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Jakub’s client, a New York City surgeon who was sued by a Brooklyn physician following a hernia repair surgery which led to the loss of the physician’s testicle. This doctor-suing-a-doctor for medical malpractice case was based upon claims that the surgeon negligently severed the testicular artery during the hernia repair, which led to the loss of the testicle several days later. At trial, the internist offered the testimony of the Brooklyn surgeon who removed the testicle and purportedly attributed the need for removal to poor surgical technique during the hernia repair. Mr. Jakub demonstrated at trial how plaintiff’s theory of negligence was medically unsupportable and that the testicle loss was actually caused by a recognized complication of hernia repair surgery rather than malpractice.
New York County
In a case involving bilateral amputations of a patient’s legs following coronary artery bypass surgery, Mr. Jakub persuaded a Manhattan jury to side with his cardiologist client. The cardiologist was the patient’s primary care physician and attending during a lengthy hospitalization. Following the bypass surgery, the patient developed gangrenous changes in his toes, feet, and ultimately his legs, which necessitated the leg amputations. Plaintiff claimed through the testimony of a cardiothoracic surgeon that the cardiologist failed to identify the deterioration in the patient’s feet and failed to timely obtain adequate intervention to save the patient’s legs. Mr. Jakub presented compelling evidence which convinced the jury that the post-operative course was properly managed by the cardiologist and that the amputations were necessitated by ischemia caused by clots released after the bypass surgery and that the loss was unavoidable.
Mr. Jakub obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a Manhattan plastic surgeon who performed an abdominoplasty on a Bronx female. The elective surgery was performed at the plastic surgeon’s Madison Avenue office in an effort to provide the patient with a more attractive figure. However, after the surgery, the patient developed a dehiscence which left a large gaping hole in her abdomen. The patient claimed that the surgery was negligently performed and contraindicated based upon her smoking history and associated wound healing problems. Mr. Jakub was able to effectively demonstrate the patient’s lack of credibility on the smoking issue and portray the dehiscence an unfortunate but accepted complication of the surgery.
Mr. Jakub obtained a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of a major medical center in a wrongful death action in which the plaintiff alleged that the hospital’s physicians negligently failed to diagnose and treat Stevens Johnson syndrome while managing a post-surgical sternal wound infection in a married female patient. While being treated for the sternal wound infection, she received intravenous Bactrim which plaintiff alleged caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Plaintiff alleged that the Stevens-Johnson syndrome led to extensive skin loss, and the loss of vasculature fluid which, in turn, caused hypotension, multi-system organ failure and death. Mr. Jakub overcame significant juror sympathy aroused by the introduction of photographs which depicted “weeping lesions” and “skin sloughing” by refuting the existence of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and demonstrating that the patient’s skin loss was due to hypotension, organ failure and congestive heart failure.
Louis E. Jakub, Jr.