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August 2021

October 23, 2021

It took just four hours for Clay County jurors to return a verdict for a surgeon alleged to have caused a man’s spinal cord compression.

John Hicks of Norris, Keplinger, Hicks & Welder represented defendant doctor Kristopher Kimmell and Meritas Health Corporation in the suit brought by William Sharp, who had suffered from cervical stenosis for more than a decade before his seemingly successful surgery, only to have pain return in a matter of days.

A cerebrospinal fluid leak was putting pressure on Sharp’s spinal cord. The physician was able to release the pressure, although it built back up again in about 48 hours and had to be released a second time. Hicks said the plaintiff argued that his symptoms would have abated except for the fluid buildup, which they alleged caused permanent nerve injury.

“The disagreement was whether or not the permanent damage he had was related to any of the cord compressions or whether it was just the natural result of him having cervical spinal stenosis,” Hicks said.

He said his neurosurgeon client impressed the jury with a very genuine explanation of his actions as well as clear warnings he said were given to the patient that the procedure might not solve his problems or could even worsen his condition.

“My impression was that they understood that this guy was not guaranteed a result and, unfortunately, he did not get an improvement from the surgery,” he said. “I think our doctor did everything by the book. It was just an unfortunate outcome.”

Stephen Gorny of the Gorny Law Firm and M. Blake Heath of Heath Injury Law represented the plaintiffs. They did not return a request for comment.

This article was written by David Baugher and published in Missouri Layers Media.