February 11, 2019
from the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford,
where the court, Dubay, J.
C. Sterling, with whom, on the brief, were Sean K. McElligott
and Sarah Steinfeld, Bridgeport, for the appellant
R. McPherson, with whom was Joyce A. Lagnese, Hartford, for
the appellees (defendants).
Sheldon and Moll, Js.[*]
Conn.App. 252] The plaintiff, Brandon Scott, appeals from the
judgment of the trial court, rendered following a jury trial,
in favor of the defendants, Paul Kanev, a neurosurgeon, and
CCMC Faculty Practice Plan, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiff
claims that the trial court (1) improperly permitted the
defendants to introduce evidence that the plaintiffs pain
substantially resolved due to a syrinx that had developed
within his spinal cord to establish a reduction in damages
(syrinx evidence), and (2) erred when it failed to instruct
the jury with [191 Conn.App. 253] respect to such evidence.
We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
jury reasonably could have found the following facts. In
December, 2004, the plaintiff began to experience severe and
intractable neuropathic pain in his groin area. To treat the
pain, the plaintiff was prescribed a "remarkable"
amount of various narcotic medications. The plaintiff became
bedridden and could not walk more than a few steps at a time.
He experienced severe anxiety and was diagnosed with major
depressive disorder. In addition, he gained approximately 100
pounds, and his physician described him as morbidly obese.
The Social Security Administration classified him as totally
and permanently disabled.
plaintiff first visited Dr. Kanev, a neurosurgeon with CCMC
Faculty Practice Plan, Inc., on April 9, 2007. Dr. Kanev
recommended that he implant a spinal cord
stimulator to control the pain and considered it
"the last resort and only option" for the
plaintiff. On May 8, 2007, Dr. Kanev performed surgery on the
to implant the spinal cord stimulator. During the course of
the procedure, the plaintiff sustained a spinal cord injury.
Dr. Kanev, upon realizing that the plaintiff had lost
sensation in the lower portion of his body, made no further
attempt to implant the spinal cord stimulator and terminated
the procedure. The spinal cord injury left the plaintiff
paralyzed from the waist down.
the surgery, the plaintiff continued to experience severe
neuropathic pain. By January, 2008, a [191 Conn.App. 254]
syrinx began to form within the plaintiffs spinal
cord. In June, 2009, doctors drained the
syrinx. That same year, the plaintiff had a morphine pump
surgically implanted to control the pain, and he was able to
begin reducing the amount of narcotic medications he was
taking. By September, 2011, the plaintiffs neuropathic pain
plaintiff subsequently brought this medical malpractice
action against the defendants. In his operative
complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the
defendants breached the applicable standard of care when Dr.
Kanev performed surgery on the plaintiff by (1) inserting the
needle at the tenth and eleventh vertebrae, (2) inserting the
needle at the eleventh and twelfth vertebrae, (3) failing to
enter the epidural space below the level of the spinal cord,
(4) inserting the needle at an improper angle, and (5)
attempting a retrograde placement of the electrode. The
plaintiff alleged that, as a result of the injuries caused by