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Friday, April 1, 2011

Woman gets 115 K for not being able to play Racquetball anymore

A jury awarded a Bloomingdale woman $115,000 Wednesday in her medical malpractice suit against a Paramus plastic surgeon who performed cosmetic surgery that left her unable to shut her eyes or blink. Bloomingdale resident Marilyn Leisz in court Wednesday. It was a mixed decision, as jurors found that Dr. Paul Parker did deviate from the accepted standard of care in performing the surgery to correct droopiness in the eyelids – called a blepharoplasty – on Marilyn Leisz and that this caused her injury. The panel, however, rejected Leisz’s other civil allegation that she was not fully advised as to the risk of incomplete eye closure as a possible consequence that comes with undergoing a blepharoplasty. Leisz’s lawyer, Roy Konray of Rahway, argued during the trial that so much skin had been removed from Leisz’s eyelids during two previous surgeries by other doctors that there was no excess skin to remove, and therefore Parker never should have performed the procedure. Parker testified during the trial that Leisz was warned about that risk by him verbally, and through a brochure that explains the procedure and also states that incomplete eyelid closure is a possible outcome. “I’m just glad I had my say in court. But I’ll never get back to the way I was,” Leisz said immediately after the reading of the verdict by a jury seated before state Superior Court Judge Ralph L. DeLuccia Jr. in Paterson. Her lawyer said he was satisfied with the outcome. “I am always happy to win a malpractice case, because they’re so difficult,” Konray said. He noted that no settlement offer had ever been put on the table by Parker before trial. Leisz had sought unspecified monetary damages. Hugh Francis of Morristown, the lawyer representing Parker, said he viewed the outcome as a vindication for his client. “Over the years I’ve gotten to know a lot of doctors, and Dr. Parker is an extremely competent plastic surgeon,” Francis said. “This is a woman who had 10 or more plastic surgeries. She certainly knew there were risks. The extremely modest judgment shows that the jury thought Dr. Parker was competent, too.” The trial gradually attracted a flurry of regional media attention. Toward the end of the case, CBS Channel 2 News and Inside Edition had their reporters and cameras stationed in the courtroom. The jury deliberated about 4½ hours before reaching its verdict after the one-week trial. Leisz testified that she can no longer do the things she used to love, such as play tennis or racquetball, skeet shoot or swim. She said she is unable to watch TV or work at a computer for long periods, drive in congested areas or even sleep with her eyes fully closed. In attempts to mitigate the damage done after surgery with Parker, Leisz said she has suffered through painful procedures with a new plastic surgeon from 2006 to 2010. While her condition is improved, it is not corrected, she said. She must keep to a steady regimen of eye drops and steroidal jellies for her eyes to prevent them from drying out and causing cornea damage. Blinking is what keeps the cornea moist, lawyers explained during the trial. Without blinking, the cornea can be damaged by excessive dryness, the lawyers said. Parker insisted that along with fully informing Leisz of the risks, he did not deviate from accepted standards of care in performing the procedure, contrary to the jury’s finding. Leisz had undergone three blepharoplasties, one in 2004 and another in 2005, by other physicians before she then went to Parker for that procedure and a face-lift later in 2005. Leisz testified that the only risk Parker warned her of was bruising, swelling and discomfort. Parker’s attorney told jurors in his summation it seemed improbable Parker gave such an answer, since a woman familiar with the procedure would have already known about the inherent risks and questioned Parker if he didn’t disclose all of them

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