Appeals court affirms former Duluth doctor's malpractice victoryThe Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the verdict of a Washington County jury that found that a former Duluth neurosurgeon wasn’t negligent in his care of a patient who sued him and St. Luke’s hospital.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the verdict of a Washington County jury that found that a former Duluth neurosurgeon wasn’t negligent in his care of a patient who sued him and St. Luke’s hospital.
Retired Proctor area dairy farmer Alan Meinershagen sued neurosurgeon Stefan Konasiewicz and the hospital for malpractice in August of 2010.
The case went to trial in August of last year. It was moved from Duluth to the Washington County Courthouse in Stillwater because of extensive pre-trial news coverage here. Jurors rejected the plaintiff’s malpractice claims.
Meinershagen’s attorney, Richard Bosse, appealed the jury verdict. Bosse argued that the trial court abused its discretion by denying Meinershagen a new trial. He claimed that the defendants failed to disclose expert testimony, that the trial court erred in denying the plaintiff’s request to depose the defendant’s experts and treating physicians, and erred in excluding the plaintiff’s rebuttal experts.
Trial court judge Heather Sweetland had issued a 22-page memorandum addressing and deciding each of the issues the appellant raised.
In a decision released Monday, the appellate court ruled that Sweetland neither erred nor abused the court’s discretion in ruling on any of the issues raised by the appellant.
Meinershagen went to St. Luke’s in Duluth on Feb. 19, 2006, with weakness and numbness in his left arm and concerns that he had suffered a stroke. He was examined by Konasiewicz, who recommended a brain biopsy, which he performed two days later.
Bosse argued that the biopsy turned a minor stroke into a major hemorrhage, which left Meinershagen brain-injured with impairments in thinking, speaking and walking. The plaintiff’s medical experts testified there was better evidence that Meinershagen suffered a stroke and Konasiewicz should have conducted more tests before performing surgery.
Defense attorneys introduced as evidence at trial a document indicating that Konasiewicz had informed Meinershagen of the risks involved with the procedure, what alternative treatment was available and that there were no guarantees on the outcome of the procedure. Other evidence revealed that Meinershagen suffered from diabetes, hypertension, vascular disease and congestive heart failure, and none of those conditions were related to the brain biopsy.
Meinershagen died about 10 months after the trial. He was 80.