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Victory for a Woman Permanently Injured During Colonoscopy

Judith Mitnick had an unfortunate history when it came to undergoing colonoscopies. Because of previous medical conditions and procedures, along with her unique anatomy, the 71-year-old required special care and attention from medical staff during this diagnostic procedure—a procedure her doctors encouraged her to receive every few years.

And no one should have known about the special care she required better than Dr. Linda Rosenthal, who—dating back to 1999—had performed three successful colonoscopies on Judith only after much effort and ultimately resorting to a special, smaller pediatric scope that better fit Judith’s anatomy.

But in 2010, Dr. Rosenthal started her fourth colonoscopy on Judith using an adult scope, rather than the pediatric scope she had already determined to be a better choice for her. While trying to manipulate the larger scope, a tear appeared in Judith’s colon–one so serious that she required immediate emergency surgery that resulted in a colostomy.

The result of this procedure is that Judith can no longer have a normal bowel movement, and must continually wear a special colostomy bag on her abdomen which collects her solid waste. It is an incredibly life-changing, inconvenient, uncomfortable and ongoing challenge for anyone who must endure it. And, because of Judith’s unique medical history, it is irreversible.

When Judith first came to Schochor, Federico and Staton, our team of medical investigators reviewed her case and medical history, and quickly determined that the proper standard of care in this case should have been for Dr. Rosenthal to–from the beginning–use the pediatric scope during her colonoscopy.

We strongly felt any medical professional reviewing her past history should have come to the same conclusion. And that, if a pediatric scope was in fact used from the beginning, Judith would not now be confronted with the life-long, day-to-day challenge of living with a colostomy bag.

After a five day trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court, a jury agreed, awarding Judith a total of $766,209.80, covering both economic and non-economic damages.

Schochor, Federico and Staton Founding Partner Philip C. Federico, along with Associate Brent Ceryes, represented Judith in this case, walking her through every step of the case from initial interview through trial.

“What we wanted to show at trial both was the self-evident fact that the pediatric scope should have been used from the beginning, and also how difficult Judith’s life had become since the incident,” Mr. Federico said. “Having Judith walk the jury through what having the colostomy ment for her on a day-to-day basis was an important part of this.”

Mr. Ceryes added, “What happened to Judith was so unfortunate, so unnecessary, that we were happy to help her see this through to a successful conclusion. We hope it helps her live as comfortable a life as possible with her condition. ”

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