Paul Mackoul MD Lawsuit

Paul Mackoul MD Lawsuit
Paul Mackoul MD lawsuit

In 2021, Pennsylvania anesthesiologist Dr Paul Mackoul was at the centre of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Former patient Melissa Doyle claimed Dr Mackoul made critical errors during her gastric sleeve surgery that resulted in severe and permanent injuries. Let’s examine the allegations against Dr. Mackoul and what led to this high-stakes medical malpractice case.

The Surgery Goes Wrong

In January 2020, Melissa Doyle underwent gastric sleeve surgery with Dr. Paul Mackoul listed as her anesthesiologist. However, according to Doyle’s subsequent lawsuit, the surgery did not go as planned. She asserts that Dr. Mackoul failed to properly position and secure her breathing tube during the hours-long procedure. As a result, Doyle began experiencing complications and a lack of adequate oxygen circulation to her brain.

Doyle’s Condition Deteorates

Due to Dr. Mackoul’s alleged negligence, Doyle’s health drastically declined during the surgery. She suffered compromised brain function due to a lack of oxygen. When the medical team realised something had gone seriously wrong, they worked urgently to stabilise Doyle’s condition. However, the extensive brain damage had already been done. Doyle spent months in rehabilitation with long-term disabilities resulting from Dr Mackoul’s mistakes.

Paul Mackoul MD Lawsuit. A suite to follow

Lawsuit Alleges Deviation from Standard of Care

In her lawsuit against Dr. Mackoul, Doyle claims he deviated from proper medical standards and protocols. Specifically, she asserts Mackoul

  • He failed to properly position and secure her breathing tube during surgery as required.
  • Did not closely monitor Doyle’s oxygen levels and circulation to catch signs of trouble.
  • Put Doyle’s life and safety at serious risk through substandard anesthesiology practices.
  • It caused permanent and disabling brain injuries that have drastically reduced her quality of life.

Doyle is seeking damages for medical costs, lost income, disabilities, disfigurement, and pain & suffering due to Dr. Mackoul’s alleged malpractice

Settlement Reached Before Trial

For over a year, Doyle’s lawsuit against Dr. Mackoul moved toward a jury trial. However, in early 2022, it was announced that they had reached a confidential settlement agreement before presenting their case in court.

While specifics were not disclosed, Doyle will be compensated without facing the uncertainties of a complete medical malpractice trial. Dr Mackoul also avoided a public verdict and further implications for his career and reputation.

Taking a Closer Look at Dr. Paul Mackoul

Dr Paul Mackoul has been practising anesthesiology in Pennsylvania for over two decades. However, public records show no other malpractice claims or disciplinary actions against him before Melissa Doyle’s 2021 lawsuit.

His credentials and experience suggest he should have had the skills and knowledge to handle Doyle’s surgery properly. So, what went wrong remains to be clarified with a trial.

Negligence / Malpractice

The central argument was that Dr. Mackoul had acted carelessly and made grave errors in his treatment of Melissa Doyle during her gastric sleeve surgery in January 2020, amounting to medical malpractice

Breach of Duty of Care

As Doyle’s anesthesiologist, Dr Mackoul was alleged to have failed to uphold his professional responsibility to provide care that met his speciality’s accepted standards, betraying his trust

Failure to Properly Position and Secure the Airway

Doyle claimed that Dr. Mackoul had specifically fallen short in his duty by neglecting to properly position and secure her breathing tube during the lengthy surgery, jeopardizing her airway

Lack of Monitoring Resulted in Injuries

The lawsuit alleged that Dr Mackoul did not adequately monitor Doyle’s oxygen levels and circulation due to the improper positioning of her airway. This, in turn, led to her suffering devastating brain damage from lack of oxygen.

Injuries Were Reasonably Foreseeable

Doyle argued that her severe brain injuries were a direct and entirely predictable consequence of Dr Mackoul’s failure to meet the standard of care expected of an anesthesiologist in his treatment.

Paul Mackoul MD Lawsuit

Permanent Disabilities

She asserted that the brain damage she sustained had caused lifelong disabilities that profoundly diminished her quality of life, all due to Dr Mackoul’s breaches of his duty during the surgery

Causation of Damages

All the damages claimed, including medical costs, lost income, disfigurement, and immense suffering, were directly attributable to Dr Mackoul’s professional negligence and malpractice during Doyle’s surgery

In summary, the critical claims centered around negligence, breach of duty, failure to manage the patient’s airway properly, injuries being a foreseeable result, and related damages stemming from Dr Mackoul’s treatment.

The Defense Response

Dr. Mackoul’s legal team disputed the claims made against him. They denied any negligence or malpractice that occurred. It was argued that complications from Doyle’s surgery and resulting brain damage were possible unforeseeable events beyond Dr Mackoul’s control. The defense also suggested Doyle’s health issues may have been influenced by pre-existing medical conditions rather than Dr Mackoul’s treatment

They maintained Dr Mackoul had properly positioned and monitored Doyle’s airway within expected anesthesia standards. Overall, the goal of these counterarguments was to raise doubts about the claims of direct causation and responsibility for Doyle’s disabilities.

Paul Mackoul MD Lawsuit

Evidence and expert testimony by Maleesa Doyle

Expert Medical Testimony

  • Other anesthesiologists’ testimony outlines the standard of care required for correctly positioning and securing a breathing tube during a long surgery.
  • Expert analysis of Doyle’s medical records shows Dr Mackoul deviated from these positioning standards.
  • Medical experts establish the causal link between improper airway management, oxygen deprivation, and brain injuries like those suffered by Doyle

Medical Records

  • Surgical records and anesthesia notes documenting any issues with Doyle’s breathing tube or oxygen levels during the procedure.
  • Pre- and post-operation assessments show the timeline and severity of Doyle’s brain damage.

Damages Evidence

  • There are extensive medical bills for Doyle’s initial care, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatment.
  • Reports from doctors projecting future costs and permanence of disabilities.
  • Evidence of lost income/earnings capacity due to disabilities preventing Doyle from working.
  • This kind of definitive medical proof, carefully documented injuries, and quantification of damages would have strengthened Doyle’s claims against Dr Mackoul’s alleged negligence in court.

Beyond the Medical Evidence

The trial involved more than just medical evidence. The jury’s selection, personal biases, and experiences likely influenced their perspectives and sympathy for Doyle’s claims. Skilled lawyering, such as powerful opening and closing statements and effective cross-examinations, also helped sway the jurors. Additionally, Dr. Mackoul’s decision to settle rather than testify may have shaped perceptions of his guilt.

Opposing Resources

Expert Witnesses and Testimony

If Doyle had had deeper pockets, she might have been able to hire more renowned expert witnesses with more extensive experience testifying. These “star” experts could have carried more weight with a jury.

Dr Mackoul could more easily afford to bring in multiple experts to provide contradictory testimony and dilute Doyle’s expert evidence.

Pretrial Strategies

Significant financial means allow for more aggressive litigation tactics, such as extensive discovery requests, tedious pretrial motions, and attempts to delay or prolong the case. These can disadvantage an opponent

Well-funded parties can investigate jurors and focus pretrial public relations on shaping perception in their favor

Trial Presentation

Expensive, high-profile lawyers experienced in medical malpractice may conduct trials more skillfully and avoid missteps that could sway outcomes.

Technological aids like sophisticated graphics and animation to illustrate medical concepts require financial investment.


Post-trial appeals also demand significant financial backing, so a less wealthy plaintiff may find it harder to keep fighting if they lose at trial.

So, disparities in financial clout between the parties could profoundly impact their relative abilities to effectively develop and present their legal cases and arguments to their advantage. Deeper pockets confer litigation advantages.

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In the end, while this case centered on medical care issues, fewer clear-cut factors may have influenced the outcome if it went to trial. Both sides would have tried their best to tell their story and convince the jury. But whether the jury understood everything since they’re not doctors, who the different people involved were, and how much money each side had also mattered a lot. Neither side wanted to take significant risks by going to trial, so they settled instead

While that helped Ms Doyle, it needed to answer what happened. When bad medical things lead to lawsuits, there are usually many different human parts that all need to be considered. This case shows that figuring out who’s fitting can be complicated when health, law, and people’s lives are all involved