This medical malpractice trial in Fairfax, VA utilized graphics, illustrations, electronic presentation, and an animation to educate the jury about a gallbladder removal surgery and the care that followed. In this case, a small ring detached from a device that was used in the surgery and remained behind as the patient was surgically closed. The ring was surgically removed 64 days later, but the plaintiff alleged that the pain continued.
Illustration depicting how the patient was positioned for surgery
Illustration showing the steps to the cholecystectomy performed on the patient
The two illustrations were created to show the jury what position the plaintiff was put in and the steps involved in a cholecystectomy, aka gallbladder removal surgery, while the animation showed how the EndoCatch Specimen Retrieval System works.
The animation also showed the port locations for this laparoscopic procedure and where the ring was ultimately located, which clearly showed the ring was out of the surgical field of view. The position of the patient and the surgical steps are documented via dictation in the surgeon’s notes. Creating visual aids from the surgeon’s operation notes helped the jury understand the complex medical terminology and helped them retain the information when it came time to deliberate.
A trial presentation specialist was also present in the courtroom. The attentive hot seat operator presented medical records electronically at the request of the trial attorney who utilized bates numbers to identify which medical records to display. Sections of the records were enlarged and highlighted, on the fly, and projected to an 8-foot screen to help the jury focus on the key facts of the case.
For closings, a timeline graphic was used within a PowerPoint that allowed the attorney to navigate using a wireless clicker. This timeline allowed the jury to visually see that the standard of care was met month after month. Other slides in this PowerPoint included radiology images, expert witness testimony, and summaries of key expert witnesses.
Example of a slide from the closing PowerPoint
The use of visual aids helped the jury understand the facts of the case, and after four days of trial, reached a unanimous verdict for the defense.
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