. .

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff:
Christopher J. Maley
Maley and Maley, PLLC
http://www.maleyandmaley.com

CONFIDENTIAL RECOVERY IN EXCESS OF $3,500,000 – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – ORTHOPEDICS – FAILURE TO TIMELY DIAGNOSE AND TREAT COMPARTMENT SYNDROME IN PATIENT SUFFERING FROM SCHATZKER VI TIBIAL PLATEAU FRACTURE – COMPARTMENT SYNDROME RESULTED IN EQUIVALENT OF FUNCTIONAL AMPUTATION – NO MOVEMENT IN LEG FROM KNEE DOWN.

Withheld County, VT

In this medical malpractice matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant surgeon and hospital staff were negligent in failing to timely diagnose and treat compartment syndrome which resulted in serious injury to the plaintiff. The plaintiff effectively lost the use of her leg from the knee down and has difficulty ambulating as a result of the injury. The defendant hospital and surgeon both denied negligence and causation.

The 42-year-old female plaintiff presented to the defendant hospital. She was diagnosed with Schatzker VI tibial plateau fracture. This type of fracture is a high risk for compartment syndrome. The plaintiff came under the care of the defendant orthopedic surgeon who placed an external fixator with the plan that the plaintiff undergo open reduction internal fixation days later when the swelling receded.

Soon after the placement of the external fixator, the nursing staff noticed that the plaintiff was having decreased movement and sensation in her foot. While she was waiting to undergo the second surgery, she continued to decline with progressively worrisome neurovascular abnormalities. For a period of four days the plaintiff demonstrated signs and symptoms which were consistent with a diagnosis of compartment syndrome; however, the defendant surgeon failed to form such a differential diagnosis. No intracompartmental pressures were taken.

Just prior to the scheduled second surgery, the plaintiff presented with a foot that was cool to the touch, grey and without pulses. Despite the lack of angiography and the lack of a vascular surgeon, the plaintiff maintained that she was not transferred to another, better equipped, facility. The defendant surgeon performed the second surgery which resulted in significant muscle loss and nerve loss. The plaintiff incurred $482,920 in past medical specials and alleged $183,531 in future medical specials. She effectively suffers from a functional amputation of her leg from the knee down.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant orthopedic surgeon and the defendant hospital. The plaintiff alleged that she should have been transferred to a properly equipped trauma center. Further, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant surgeon was negligent in failing to timely diagnose and treat compartment syndrome. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant hospital was negligent in that its staff noted signs and symptoms consistent with either compartment syndrome or a vascular problem, but took no actions to secure appropriate treatment for the plaintiff.

The defendant hospital denied negligence and claimed through its expert that the plaintiff suffered an iatrogenic thermal injury to the sciatic nerve at the time of the placement of the external fixator, which is a complication that can occur absent any negligence and that this complication was the cause of the plaintiff's foot drop. The defendant orthopedic surgeon also denied negligence. The defendant surgeon's expert maintained that the plaintiff suffered a vascular reperfusion injury that was not amenable to treatment. Both the defendants' experts questioned whether and when the plaintiff actually suffered compartment syndrome and when intervention could have made a difference.The parties mediated the plaintiff's claim and agreed to a confidential settlement in excess of $3,500,000 one week after the mediation.

Reference
Plaintiff's orthopedic trauma surgeon expert: Michael Bosse, M.D. from Charlotte, NC.

Jane Doe vs. Confidential Hospital and Confidential Orthopedic Surgeon., 11-30-11.

Attorneys for plaintiff: Christopher Maley and John P. Maley currently of Maley and Maley in Burlington, VT.

Commentary
The plaintiff's expert, an orthopedic trauma surgeon, was of the opinion that but for the defendant orthopedic surgeon's failure to conform to the standard of care in diagnosing and treating compartment syndrome, that the plaintiff would have enjoyed an excellent recovery. Instead, the plaintiff had several orthopedic and plastic surgeries. She ended up with a leg which was the equivalent of a functional amputation. She had no movement from the knee down and the sensation she had was hypersensitivity on the bottom of her foot. She had a severely scarred leg and foot. She had hammertoes and a foot drop and she was contemplating additional orthopedic surgeries to improve her function. Presently she is only able to walk slowly with a cane for up to a couple blocks before she is stopped by the pain. The plaintiff is contemplating an elective amputation if the subsequent surgeries do not improve her function.

The defendant surgeon alleged during his deposition that some of the nurses at the hospital failed to timely report neurovascular abnormalities. Two of the nurses claimed at their depositions that they were unable to reach the defendant surgeon to advise him of their concerns regarding the plaintiff's condition.

As Published by:
Jury Verdict Review Publications, Inc.
45 Springfield Ave.
Springfield, NJ 07081-9770

Phone: (973) 376-9002
Fax: (973) 376-1775
Email: virtualplaque@jvra.com
Web: www.jvra.com


 

Reproduction in any form without the express written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited by law.