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Originally Posted At:

Date: 10/20/98

Case Style: Jack Noble v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Texas and John B. Delcambre, M.D.

Case Number: DV98-01081-K

Judge: Unknown

Court: 192nd Civil Judicial District, Dallas County

Plaintiff's Attorney: Michael Sawicki of Windle Turley, P.C., Dallas, Texas

Defendant's Attorney: Steve Nagle and Mitzi Mayfield of Gwinn & Roby, Dallas, Texas

Description: This case involved an injury suffered by Mr. Noble, who was a 56-years-old water department employee.

During surgery to repair a stomach problem. Dr. Delcambre operated to remove a subaceous cyst on Mr. Noble's neck.

While removing the cyst, Dr. Delcambre severed the right spinal accessory nerve in Mr. Noble's neck. Over the next several months, the doctor and other doctors at Kaiser failed to properly diagnose the injury. Once the diagnosis was made (almost six months later), it was too late to repair the nerve damage. 

As a result, Mr. Noble suffered disabling injuries. His right side trapezius muscle had atrophied due to the lack of nerve impulses. This restricted his mobility and he cannot lift his right arm above his shoulders. 

Prior to the surgery, Mr. Noble was right-handed. Plaintiff contended that the severing of the nerve during the removal of the cyst and the failure to diagose the problem breached the standard of care. The use of proper surgical technique would have avoided injury to the spinal accessory nerve. 

The delay in diagnosing Mr. Noble's injury was also negligent. It is well known that injuries to the spinal accessory nerve can be required within 3 to 4 months after the injury. 

Mr. Noble complainted of shoulder pain and lack of mobility in the right arm and shoulder immediately after the surgery. He also had obvious atrophy of the trapezius and difficulty moving the arm. 

Despite these symptoms, Kaiser doctors failed to timely diagnose the problems. Defendants argued that the injury was not caused by the surgery and that Plaintiff failed to mitigate damages by not attending physical therapy.

Outcome: Setted for $300,000 against both Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Texas and Dr. John D. Delcambre.

Plaintiff's Experts: Dr. John Sterlin Meyer, M.D., Houston, Texas, neurologist.

Defendant's Experts: Unknown