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DEFENDANT’S Medical malpractice – Claimed negligent performance of neurosurgery – Alleged improper implantation of surgical screws – Permanent nerve damage claimed

Lee County, FL

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant neurosurgeon negligently placed surgical screws during spinal surgery, thereby causing permanent nerve damage to the plaintiff. The defendant doctor argued that the surgery was properly performed, but the screws subsequently failed in the absence of any negligence on his part. The defendant doctor’s practice group was also named as a defendant on a vicarious liability theory.

The plaintiff underwent surgery performed by the defendant neurological surgeon for removal of a spinal cyst, and also to stabilize the spine. The plaintiff’s orthopedist testified that the defendant did not properly place the surgical screws during the procedure, in that the screws were not placed within the pedicle. The screws subsequently broke out and caused permanent nerve damage, according to the plaintiff’s claims.The plaintiff was a 40-year-old female employed as the manager of a beauty salon at the time of the surgery. The defendant’s neurological surgery expert testified that the defendant properly placed the surgical screws according to and consistent with the standard of care, and contended that the screws were placed within the pedicle, but subsequently broke out of the bone over two months after the surgery. The defense maintained that failure of the surgical screws was a known risk of the procedure, and occurred in the absence of any negligence on the part of the defendant doctor. The defense also contended that the right-sided screw breakout did not cause the plaintiff’s left-sided pain.The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant, which was a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff.

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