Collinsville physician cleared in Madison County med mal trial

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 31, 2007, 4:30am

Patrick Zimmermann, M.D. of Family Medicine Associates in Collinsville was cleared of any wrongdoing yesterday after a two-week jury trial in Madison County Circuit Court.

Douglas Storm claimed Zimmermann failed to diagnose his wife Maria's cancer which began as a mole on her back.

Zimmermann began treating Maria Storm, a Collinsville junior high teacher, on Aug. 19, 1999.

Storm claimed Zimmermann negligently and carelessly failed to properly evaluate Maria's recurrent skin lesion, failed to perform a biopsy, failed to refer her for an appropriate consultation for evaluation and failed to diagnose a malignant melanoma.

Represented by Rex Carr, Storm claimed Maria's melanoma, which was diagnosed in early 2003, went undiagnosed and untreated and subsequently metastasized causing his wife to lose her chance of survival and recovery.

Carr argued that if Zimmermann would have tested the mole when he removed it, the melanoma would have been discovered.

Maria Storm died on Dec. 14, 2005, leaving behind her husband and two sons who claimed they have suffered a pecuniary loss, including the loss of love, support, companionship, affection and society.

Carr had asked the jury, who deliberated nearly four hours to award $10.9 million in damages to the family.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder presided over the trial.

A second defendant, James Dalla-Riva, M.D., was voluntarily dismissed by Carr on Nov. 30, 2006.

According to court documents, Douglas Storm accused Dalla-Riva of negligently diagnosing his wife's condition as a left axilla folliculitis and failed to refer her to a specialist for treatment.

Ted Dennis of Belleville represented Zimmermann.

Louis Dehner, M.D., a pathologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, testified that the mole Zimmermann removed was not the primary spot of the melanoma.

Kelly McMasters, M.D. from the University of Louisville testified that it was unlikely that the mole shaved off by Zimmermann was the primary melanoma in Maria Storm's case.

Dennis also called Clay Anderson, M.D. of Columbia, Mo., to testify on Zimmermann's behalf.

The last medical malpractice trial in Madison County also ended in a defense verdict.

In that case a Madison County jury delivered a defense verdict, ruling that Troy physician Dolores Cantrell, M.D. met the standard of care in treating William Hoppe, II.

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