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Medical Malpractic-Otolaryngology Negligence


Negligent performance of a routine adult tonsillectomy – Removal of left anterior and posterior pillars, as well as portion of soft palate during surgery – Some residual difficulties with swallowing and speech. $475,000 recovery

Ocean County, NJ

The 40 year old female plaintiff, who was undergoing a routine tonsillectomy, contended that in addition to extracting an enlarged left tonsil, the defendant otolaryngologist negligently removed the anterior and posterior pillars which surround the tonsil and assist in swallowing, and also removed a portion of the soft palate which seals off the oral cavity from the nasal cavity during speech and eating/drinking. The removal of these structures also caused scar tissue which further affects her ability to swallow.

The plaintiff contended that despite two subsequent repair surgeries and therapy, she still has some difficulty with speech and swallowing. The plaintiff maintained that these deficits will probably continue permanently. The defendant contended that removal of the enlarged left tonsil was difficult due to prior infections, but nonetheless, the anterior and posterior pillars, and a portion of the soft palate, were not removed during the tonsillectomy, and that plaintiff’s injuries were known risks of a tonsillectomy.

The case settled prior to trial for $475,000.

Plaintiff’s otolaryngologist (subsequent treating physician) expert: Thomas
P. Spalla, M.D. from Camden, NJ. Defendant’s otolaryngologist expert:
Joel Spiegel, M.D. from Philadelphia, PA.

Plaintiff adult tonsillectomy patient v. Defendant otolaryngologist.

Attorney for plaintiff: David J. Pierguidi of Cerussi & Gunn, P.C. in Shrewsbury,
New Jersey.