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Bryan Stow's physical progress has hit a plateau, doctor says

Bryan Stow's care will cost between $6.5 million and $11 million; Plaintiffs say it's at least $30 million
Bryan Stow's physical progress is at a plateau, doctor testifies in civil trial
Defense estimates Bryan Stow's future loss of earnings is more than $1.8 million

Bryan Stow may have reached the peak of his physical progression, a doctor testified Tuesday in the civil trial that accuses the Los Angeles Dodgers of negligence in the former paramedic’s 2011 attack.

“I believe he is near a plateau,” said Dr. Thomas Hedge, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor. “A plateau means we can work with people but they don’t ever really improve.”

Hedge, retained as an expert by the Dodgers’ attorneys, said that after studying Stow’s medical records, he recommended the 45-year-old continue to live at his parents’ house in Capitola, Calif., but be cared for by an attendant.

The defense has priced out four options for Stow’s medical care over a future life expectancy of 30 years. The least expensive is a private attendant in the home.

Hedge said he disagreed with earlier testimony of experts paid by the plaintiffs who said Stow needed a life skills coach, a driver and sessions with physical therapists. Stow currently goes to a facility to receive therapy, but Hedge said an attendant should be knowledgeable enough to guide Stow through any prescribed therapy at home.

“If you’re learning piano you don’t have a piano teacher there every time you need to practice,” Hedge said.

The doctor said if it came time for Stow to move to an assisted-living facility, he recommended Learning Services in Gilroy. The plaintiffs have advocated for a more expensive facility called the Centre for Neuro Skills where Stow initially stayed after his attack.

“I’m not here to be cheap or mean,” Hedge said. “What I do is I look at people — if they were my patients and if they are like the patients I’ve had over 30 years they typically don’t need all of these things.”

A certified life care planner also countered the cost of Stow’s care estimated by the plaintiffs’ expert.

Carol Hyland, paid by the defense, said she noted duplication and methodology errors in a report done by Mary Jesko. Jesko testified two weeks ago that Stow’s medical care would cost between $30 million and $34 million.

Hyland called the numbers excessive. The cost Hyland came up with was between $6.5 million and $11 million.

The defense later played a video deposition of a forensic economist who said Stow’s future loss of earnings is $1.8 million, about $250,000 less than what an expert for the plaintiffs testified.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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