Drexler Delivers Keynote Address at American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys Conference

Preeminent Los Angeles medical and legal malpractice attorney David Drexler delivered a keynote address on “Preserving Appellate Rights at Trial” at the national Conference of the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA) in San Diego on June 10, 2012.

Online PR News – 27-June-2012 – Los Angeles – Renowned medical malpractice attorney David Drexler settles failure to diagnose-standard of care case originating 30 years ago, causing lifelong crippling disabilities to the plaintiff.

June 15, 2012 - Los Angeles, CA – Preeminent Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney David Drexler recently settled a significant medical malpractice case against a noted surgeon practicing at a major Los Angeles-area hospital for $1,000,000 in spite of the case originating in 1979.

According to court documents (Los Angeles County Superior Court, Pasadena, Case No. GC 042173), the case involves a child (the plaintiff) who, when she was one day old, underwent corrective heart surgery at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, performed by defendant Alan B. Gassaniga, M.D. on May 19, 1979. During the surgical procedure, Dr. Gazzaniga, after creating a new septal wall, negligently left the vena cava artery on the wrong side of that septal wall.

As a result of this mistake, the flow of blood channeled to the left atrium instead of the right atrium, resulting in lifelong generalized hypoxia due to deprivation of oxygen. As a result, the plaintiff suffered related physical disabilities and limitations.

“The failure to properly diagnose the ongoing, surgically-caused heart defect which occurred during the 1979 surgery constituted a gross violation of the standard of care,” said David Drexler, a Nationally Board Certified Professional Liability Trial Specialist in both legal and medical malpractice cases.

On April 8, 2009, the plaintiff underwent corrective surgery by Vaughn Starnes, M.D. at USC University Hospital. In his operative report, as well as in his deposition testimony, Dr. Starnes describes the harmful condition caused by Dr. Gazzaniga, called “incorrect baffling”, causing the plaintiff “crippling oxygen deprivation and resulting disabilities accompanied with her oxygen starved condition and overall ill health.”

Attorneys for the defendant sought twice to have the case dismissed, arguing unsuccessfully during the demurrer stage that the case should not be filed since the surgery occurred 28 years before. The judge further denied a unsuccessful motion of summary judgment by the defendant.

“We overcame the demurrer and the summary judgment motion by successfully arguing the absurdity of expecting this young woman born with a heart defect to somehow know that her condition was a result of medical negligence by the surgeon,” explains Drexler. “There is a reasonable assumption that a medical professional has met the standard of care. In spite of all the agony this defendant endured, there was no way she could have known the surgery was botched until it was discovered at age 28. Once we overcame the statute issue, that was it. They weren’t going to try to defend what is indefensible.”

It was after a dozen attorneys turned down the defendant’s case due to the statute that she found web site of the law offices of personal injury attorney Drexler, a double-boarded Diplomate who serves on the ABPLA Board of Directors as California Chair and has been nominated as “California Trial Attorney of the Year”.

Mr. Drexler led the legal team that obtained the settlement in May 2012. The legal team consisted of David Drexler, Jonathan Drexler, Christopher Harris and Gerald Owen Ryckman. His team utilized the services and expertise of Vaughn Starnes, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon, Noel H. Fishman, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon, Alexander Stein, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon, Richard D. Spellberg, M.D. a cardiologist, Herbert J. Stern, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist, Janice Wexler, M.S., a vocational rehabilitation specialist and Thomas M. Neches, a CPA and forensic economist.

“When we realized what this brave woman had endured, we weren’t concerned about the statute issue. For a negligent failing this egregious, there had to be justice coming to her and it did. The system worked,” said Drexler who has been described by LA Direct Magazine as “a big city attorney with small town values.” His firm has recovered over $150,000,000 on behalf of his clients.