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Scott v. CCMC Faculty Practice Plan, Inc.

Appellate Court of Connecticut

July 16, 2019

Brandon SCOTT
v.
CCMC FACULTY PRACTICE PLAN, INC., et al.

         Argued February 11, 2019

Page 394

         Appeal from the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where the court, Dubay, J.

         Alinor C. Sterling, with whom, on the brief, were Sean K. McElligott and Sarah Steinfeld, Bridgeport, for the appellant (plaintiff).

         Michael R. McPherson, with whom was Joyce A. Lagnese, Hartford, for the appellees (defendants).

         Alvord, Sheldon and Moll, Js.[*]

          OPINION

         ALVORD, J.

         [191 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 plaintiff’s 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.

         The 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.[1] 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.

         The 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[2] 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 plaintiff

Page 395

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.

         Following the surgery, the plaintiff continued to experience severe neuropathic pain. By January, 2008, a [191 Conn.App. 254] syrinx began to form within the plaintiff’s spinal cord.[3] 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 plaintiff’s neuropathic pain substantially resolved.[4]

         The plaintiff subsequently brought this medical malpractice action against the defendants.[5] In his operative complaint,[6] 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 the ...


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