Her lawsuit contends the hospital should have also treated her with a steroid and immediately referred her for nerve decompression surgery, which she underwent 12 days later after her condition worsened. It restored her sense of taste but came too late to reverse her paralysis.
Hospital lawyers argue that the TMS was properly conducted and that her facial injuries could have been caused by prior health problems. They contend emergency room doctors acted appropriately in prescribing her an anti-viral drug, given a difference of opinion in the medical community on how to treat such a condition.
Stellmach’s case is built on the testimony of Bruce Gantz, head of the university’s department of otolaryngology, who performed her decompression surgery. He testified that he believes her paralysis could have been caused by the experiment, that doctors should have prescribed her a steroid, and that he would have been able to help her recover more had she been referred to him for surgery.
In her ruling, Bergan said “reasonable minds could draw different inferences and reach different conclusions” about the cause of Stellmach’s injuries.