By Ali McNally, LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER—A Denver jury on Thursday ordered an area oculoplastic surgeon to pay more than $1 million to an Adams County man, following a 2008 prosthetic eye procedure that caused the patient’s stroke.
Paul Whitehair, who is in his early 40s, went to Dr. Jerry Popham in Denver because his prosthetic eye sunk back into his eye socket over the years since he started wearing it at age nine. Popham injected Norian bone cement into a pocket of his eye socket, a procedure meant to push Whitehead’s prosthetic eye forward to its original place.
The bone cement passed into his intracranial space and pinched his internal carotid artery, a major blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. Whitehair alleged he wasn’t given informed consent and that Popham had other less-invasive options to fix the positioning of his prosthetic, like the insertion of a plastic sheath.
“We were under the impression the injection of bone cement was the only way that eye sockets were altered,” said Bruce Rohde of Eason Rohde in Denver, who represented Whitehair. “We didn’t know about the plastic sheaths or other methods available.”
Popham argued he discussed with Mr. Whitehair the risks of the bone cement procedures, as well as its alternatives, according to a trial management order obtained from Rohde.
Popham’s attorney C. Gregory Tiemeier of Denver law firm Tiemeier & Stich was out of the office and unavailable for comment in time for this article, and Rohde didn’t know if Popham planned to appeal.