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Lopez v. Maged Abu-Assal

Practice Area: Medical malpractice

Outcome: $1,545,440 jury verdict

Description: Neurosurgeon Maged Abu-Assal, M.D. recommended that his patient, Sandra Lopez, undergo surgery to remove a spinal tumor. Sandra agreed. As a result of the surgery, Sandra was paralyzed. According to Sandra, Dr. Abu-Assal had not advised her of the serious risk of paralysis that this surgery presented. If she had been so advised, she stated, she never would have consented to it. Before the surgery, she said, she could walk, exercise, and function as a normal person . Dr. Abu-Assal contended, on the other hand, that he did advise Sandra and her husband of all risks of the surgery. He also claimed that when he recommended the surgery, Sandra was walking spastically, had abnormal lower extremity reflexes, increased muscle tone, and other abnormal signs. The case went to trial. Medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult to win, especially where they involve swearing matches between the doctor and the patient. Based upon the evidence and argument that Tony Stuart presented to the jury, however, it awarded Sandra a verdict in the amount of $1,545,440.

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