$2.01 Million Jury Verdict for Failure to Diagnose Compartment Syndrome

Dawn Arrigoni, 35, went to the emergency room at Woodwinds Hospital complaining of vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. The nurses there attempted to place a peripheral IV but had trouble placing it.

A nurse practitioner then placed an intraosseous (IO) line. An intraosseous infusion line is used in the process of injecting directly into the marrow of the bone to provide a non-collapsible entry point into the systemic venous system of a patient. This method is often used to provide fluids and medication when an IV is not practicable as in this case. The IO line is considered an efficient method to provide intravenous fluids or medication.

Shortly after the IO line was put in place, Arrigoni complained of significant pain for which she was given the pain reliever Dilaudid. Over an hour and a half later, a nurse noted swelling in her lower left leg, which appeared to be pale in color. She continued to complain to the hospital staff of leg pain.

A nurse notified the on-call doctor that the leg was tender, swollen and firm to the touch around the side of the IO line, which the nurse said was dysfunctional.

The doctor placed an order for a PICC line and additional pain medicine. The IO line was later removed. However, the leg pain continued as well as the lower leg warmth and swelling.

Additionally, Arrigoni developed foot drop, which prompted a workup for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins, usually in the legs.

A PICC line, a peripherally inserted central catheter, is a thin, soft, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein just above the bend of the elbow and guided into a large vein in the chest. This is another method of allowing for intravenous access for a longer period of time.

The workup for the DVT was negative. A consultation with a neurologist ordered an MRI to look for compartment syndrome, which was diagnosed a day later.

Arrigoni required a 4-compartment fasciotomy and various other procedures to debride necrotic tissue. A fasciotomy is a surgical procedure that opens up the skin, in this case, the lower leg because of the emergent compartment syndrome, which is a dangerous vascular problem. The fasciotomy is performed in order to release or restore muscle blood flow.

Despite physical therapy, Arrigoni now requires an ankle-foot orthotic for walking due to permanent foot drop. She sued the hospital alleging that it chose not to timely diagnose and treat compartment syndrome. She also alleged in the lawsuit that the compartment syndrome resulted from extravasation of fluid from the IO line. She claimed that the defendant’s hospital staff should have examined her more closely to look for signs of compartment syndrome and should have provided timely treatment. There was no lost income claim.

The jury signed a verdict in favor of Dawn Arrigoni in the amount of $2,010,000 to compensate her for the injuries she sustained.

The attorneys representing Arrigoni were Brandon E. Thompson, Brandon E. Vaughn and Kathleen Flynn Peterson.

The plaintiff’s experts at this jury trial were in the areas of orthopedic surgery, internal medicine and lifecare planning. The defendant hospital presented experts in internal medicine and orthopedic surgery.

Arrigoni v. Health East Woodwinds Hospital, No. 62-CV-15-7352 (Minn. Dist. Ct. Ramsey County, May 19, 2017).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling hospital negligence lawsuits, physician negligence cases, medical negligence lawsuits, birth trauma injury cases and traumatic brain injury cases for individuals, families and the loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Orland Park, Oak Forest, Palos Park, South Holland, Barrington, Naperville, Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Northfield, Glenview, Winnetka, Cicero, Chicago (Lawndale, Logan Square, Irving Park, North Park, Pulaski Park, West Ridge, Ravenswood), Lincolnshire, Rolling Meadows and Schiller Park, Ill.

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