Pediatric Neurosurgery Expert Witness: Pediatric VP shunt


A ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt became irretrievably lodged in the brain of a young child following treatment for pseudotumor cerebri with hydrocephalus.



Ventriculoperitoneal shunts are a relatively common procedure performed by Neurosurgeons. VP Shunts relieve pressure in the brain, which can be caused by a number of conditions such as Arnold-Chiari malformations, obstructive hydrocephalus, non-communicating hydrocephalus, brain tumors, intracranial hemorrhage, as well as number of other conditions.



A young child with a history of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia underwent VP shunt placement for pseudotumor cerebri with hydrocephalus. She had subsequent revisions, but suffered a complication at the age of 4 when the surgeon encountered difficulty with shunt removal. The complication resulted in a portion of the catheter becoming irretrievably lodged in the brain.



Elite Medical Expert’s physician-led team was asked to secure a pediatric neurosurgery expert witness with extensive experience in VP shunts to discuss the standard of care deviations and expected future complications, if any, from the retained foreign material. The pediatric neurosurgeon who performed the surgery and caused the alleged harm was a world-renowned in their field. This tasked Elite with the challenge of finding a pediatric neurosurgical expert witness who was free of conflict.



Elite quickly secured a leading Professor of pediatric neurosurgery from a top-10 ranking Children’s Hospital. The pediatric neurosurgery expert witness was Ivy League-trained and specialized in treating children with hydrocephalus, which required performing VP shunt placements as a common part of their practice.



The pediatric neurosurgery medical expert witness opined that while retained foreign material was a possible outcome, that the manner in which this procedure was performed it deviated from the applicable standard of care. A settlement was reached for a successful outcome for the plaintiff.


E-CASE STUDIES are brief clinical vignettes based upon actual cases handled by Elite. Identifying information has been redacted or altered to protect case confidentiality.

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