Illustrated Medicine: Case Study

Delayed appendicitis treatment causes hypoxic brain injury – $3.2M jury award

This 11-year-old boy with Down Syndrome suffered a ruptured appendix from delayed diagnosis and surgery, leading to unrecognized septic shock that triggered cardiopulmonary arrest, resulting in hypoxic brain injury.

Purpose of illustration
This illustration panel was created for use as an introductory exhibit, to demonstrate normal anatomy of the appendix and the pathology of early appendicitis versus Jason’s subsequent ruptured appendix with extensive ascites in his abdomen – as seen on CT.

Rationale for litigation visual
The exhibit allowed the jury to clearly understand the difference between early diagnosis of appendicitis and treating it initially, versus the significant abdominal pathology that resulted from rupture of the appendix due to delayed treatment.

Initially treated with antibiotics and a drain, he later underwent an appendectomy (which revealed interim abscess formation). The delay in surgery triggered cardiopulmonary arrest due to septic complications affecting his pacemaker wires, with a lengthy period of anoxia resulting in permanent brain injury.

Other visuals demonstrated
Additional exhibits included a series of comprehensive interactive timelines, as well as illustrations of the client’s anoxic brain injury issues.

Prior to trial there was no settlement offer made by the defendants. The jury reached a $3.2 million verdict.

“Throughout the trial, the use of demonstrative exhibits prepared by Artery Studios was invaluable in educating the jury about the many complicated medical issues as well as the long timeline involved in this case. The exhibits and timelines prepared by Artery Studios aided us in telling our client’s story to the jury, and we believe these exhibits were instrumental in the positive result for our client.” 

– Gena Romagnoli, Henry Phillip Gruss Ltd