. .

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff:
David A. Barry
Sugarman,Rogers,Barshack & Cohen
www.srbc.com

$975,000 CONFIDENTIAL RECOVERY – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY – FAILURE TO TIMELY DIAGNOSE AND TREAT COMPARTMENT SYNDROME IN 18-YEAR-OLD – LOSS OF MUSCLE – SIGNIFICANT SCARRING TO RIGHT LOWER LEG.

Withheld County, MA

In this medical malpractice matter, the plaintiff patient alleged that the defendant orthopedic surgeon was negligent in failing to timely diagnose and treat compartment syndrome. As a result, the 18-year-old suffered permanent muscle damage and significant scarring. The defendant denied any deviation from acceptable standards of care and disputed causation and damages.

The 18-year-old male plaintiff from Montreal, Quebec, attended a private high school in Maine where he was an accomplished hockey player. On September 14, 2013 he fractured his right tibia during a soccer game and was taken to a local hospital. The emergency room physician performed a closed reduction and applied the plaster splint/cast. The plaintiff was, at that time, in pain; his right foot was purple in color and he was unable to feel his big toe. The defendant orthopedic surgeon saw the plaintiff at approximately 6 p.m. and admitted him to the hospital planning to operate on his right leg the next morning. By 9 p.m., the plaintiff's pain was severe and constant. He experienced numbness on the top half of his foot and could only slightly move his bit toe. The nurse notified the defendant, who instructed the nursing staff to apply ice, elevate the plaintiff's leg and to cut his ACE bandage, "If needed to reduce pressure." The nurse contacted the defendant surgeon again at 10 p.m., one hour later, when the plaintiff was complaining of pain and spasm in his calf. The defendant ordered Valium for the plaintiff as needed. Even with the pain medication, the plaintiff was unable to sleep and complained of severe pain. By 5 a.m., the plaintiff's foot was swollen, numb and he was unable to move it.

When the defendant removed the plaintiff's splint in the operating room at 7:30 a.m. the following morning, he noted that the plaintiff had a dysvascular foot with no capillary refill and no Doppler pulse below his knee. The defendant performed a partial fasciotomy and identified brisk bleeding from a lacerated tibial artery at the site of the tibial fracture. After the defendant performed an open reduction and applied an external fixator, the plaintiff was transferred to UMass Medical Center for urgent vascular evaluation.

He remained there for six days and underwent three operations to restore the blood flow to the muscles and nerves of his right lower leg and complete the repair of the fracture.

On September 21, the plaintiff was stable enough to be transported to a hospital near his home in Montreal. From that time until November, the plaintiff underwent a series of operations to remove necrotic muscle and infected tissue from his right leg and for skin grafting. His multiple infections were treated with antibiotics and in August 2014, he underwent yet another surgery to replace the intramedullary nail that had been inserted with an antibiotic coated nail. His final surgery was in January 2015 to remove the antibiotic coated nail. It was then followed by six weeks of intravenous antibiotics. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant orthopedic surgeon alleging negligence. The plaintiff alleged that during the evening of September 14, and the early morning hours of September 15, the plaintiff demonstrated signs and symptoms consistent with acute compartment syndrome. The plaintiff's condition was not treated, as it should have been, as a medical emergency by the defendant. The plaintiff maintained that if the defendant was negligent in failing to examine the plaintiff and rule out compartment syndrome.

The defendant denied the allegations. The defendant surgeon maintained that there was no deviation from acceptable standards of care. The defendant argued that any delay in diagnosing the plaintiff's compartment syndrome did not cause or contribute to his alleged damages.The parties agreed to resolve the plaintiff's claim for the sum of $975,000 in damages in a confidential settlement prior to the trial in this matter.

Reference
Plaintiff's orthopedic surgery expert: Michael Baumgartner, M.D. from New Haven, CT.

Plaintiff Patient Doe vs. Defendant Orthopedic Surgeon., 08-05-16.

Attorney for plaintiff: David A. Barry of Sugarman Rogers Barshack & Cohen in Boston, MA.

Commentary
The plaintiff underwent a total of 13 surgeries as a result of the defendant's negligence. Prior to this incident, the plaintiff was a very active 18-year-old who played hockey and he was being actively recruited by several Division I colleges for their hockey teams. He had aspirations to play professional hockey. Due to the injuries sustained, the plaintiff has been unable to continue to play hockey, he also has been unable to continue to participate in other physical activities which he had enjoyed without problem prior to the surgery. The plaintiff also suffers from bouts of depression and diminished self-worth. In addition to the significant muscle loss, the plaintiff also sustained significant and unsightly scarring on his right lower leg. This scarring causes him embarrassment when wearing shorts or going to the beach. The plaintiff's parents also asserted a claim for loss of consortium as a result of the incident.

The plaintiff's expert was prepared to testify that if the compartment syndrome would have been timely diagnosed and treated, the plaintiff would have experienced only minimal muscle damage and his outcome would have been near normal.

Compartment syndrome results in insufficient blood supply to muscles and nerves which if left untreated, as in this matter, leads to permanent muscle and nerve damage and can result in partial or total loss of the function of the limb affected. The plaintiff's expert maintained that the plaintiff's symptoms of severe pain, numbness and inability to move his leg were symptoms of the compartment syndrome which the defendant negligently failed to recognize and treat.

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