Medical Probe Breaks Off And Injures A Marathoner And Educator’S Brain

At 71-years-old, Philadelphia native Michael Brassloff underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The retired elementary school principal and former marathoner almost did not make it out of the procedure alive when the tip of a laser probe snapped off in his skull.

If you or a loved one is living with a brain injury due to medical malpractice the Philadelphia brain injury attorneys at The Weitz Firm, LLC know the difficulties of needed treatments and recovery and are here to guide you through this challenging time. We represent our clients with efficiency and effectiveness to get them the maximum compensation.

The surgery and aftermath

Brassloff’s surgery involved a procedure where a two-millimeter tip of a carbon dioxide-cooled laser probe was inserted in a tiny hole in his skull. The small tip broke off, and pressurized carbon dioxide sprayed into his brain with “a force eight times more powerful than a nail gun.”

The pressurized carbon dioxide caused “severe and permanent brain damage” and resulted in Brassloff lapsing into a coma. He emerged from the coma three weeks later with a list of ailments, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty with language
  • Recurring seizures
  • Trouble controlling his emotions

Before the surgery, Brassloff frequently ran the New York City Marathon, but now, he is unsteady on his feet. He falls often and uses a walker to balance himself. Once, he was a teacher and elementary school principal. Now, he cannot find the right words and struggles to speak.

The medical malpractice lawsuit

Brassloff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the neurosurgeon, Kevin D. Judy, and his employer, Jefferson University Physicians, and Thomas Jefferson University.

According to the complaint, the ill-equipped Judy had never used the NeuroBlate probe to treat a tumor-like Brassloff’s, and the probe was never tested for this purpose. Judy, a Jefferson University professor, had previously testified about ignoring error messages during procedures like the one performed on Brassloff and was unaware he could do diagnostic MRIs mid-procedure.

The case against Judy, Jefferson University Physicians, and Thomas Jefferson University was ruled a mistrial on February 21.

Brassloff also filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Monteris, the medical device manufacturer of the NeuroBlate Sidefire—the probe used in his surgery.

Monteris had already recalled the NeuroBlate probe in 2016, and on February 21, the medical manufacturer settled with Brassloff for $12.75 million.

When should I contact a lawyer?

Eric H. Weitz has been a practicing trial attorney since 1992. He and his team know how a brain injury can impact a victim’s life. Also known as a type of catastrophic injury, brain injuries negatively affect:

  • Communication and cognitive skills
  • Emotional and psychological functioning
  • Memory
  • Physical and walking abilities
  • Sensations and sensitivity to light and sound

Brain injury lawsuits may see outcomes totaling thousands or millions of dollars in compensation. Retaining the representation of the Philadelphia brain injury attorneys at The Weitz Firm, LLC increases your chances of winning a fair and maximum settlement or award.

Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 267-587-6240.



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