Nereida Sepulveda was an 80-year-old retiree who underwent a bilateral knee replacement surgery at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Nov. 9, 2009. The surgery was performed by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Hoffman. Sepulveda suffered an artery occlusion in the right leg as a complication of the procedure. The defendant, Dr. Iyer, was called for a vascular consult later that afternoon.
Because Sepulveda complained of chest pain, the hospitalist would not permit any additional surgery on the right leg until he had ruled out a heart attack. Dr. Iyer then had to wait to obtain surgical clearance.
The next afternoon, Nov. 10, 2009, Dr. Iyer received medical clearance to do the surgery but decided to postpone the vascular surgery until Nov. 13 because the patient’s condition had improved.The surgery was elective and Sepulveda had just eaten. However, it was noted that on Nov. 11, 2009, Sepulveda’s condition had worsened, and she suffered a foot drop. Dr. Iyer performed an 8-hour revascularization procedure to repair the right popliteal artery that day.
The surgery was unsuccessful, and amputation of the right leg was recommended on Nov. 13. Plaintiff was diagnosed with Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia syndrome, lower than normal platelet count in the blood, on Nov. 16, and the right leg was amputated above the knee on Nov. 24, 2009.
It was maintained by the plaintiff that Dr. Iyer deviated from the standard of care on Nov. 10 by choosing not to keep the plaintiff on no food of fluids by mouth and choosing not perform surgery that same day once he was given medical clearance.
On the other hand, the defendants argued that the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury was either the orthopedic surgeon causing the popliteal artery injury during the knee replacement or the subsequent development of Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, which caused clots in the right leg. The revascularization surgery was also unsuccessful due to intraoperative clotting caused by the thrombocytopenia and that plaintiff most likely would have lost her leg anyway regardless of when the surgery was done due to the nature and extent of the artery injury and her pre-existing vascular disease.
Dr. Iyer also contended that his surgery was performed timely. Illinois Masonic Medical Center settled out on the apparent agency claim prior to the trial. Sepulveda does not speak English and testified through a Spanish interpreter. Because of her age, she was unable to recall most of the events that took place leading up to her amputation.
The demand to settle the case before trial was $1 million. The jury was asked to return a verdict of $1,300,000. The offer to settle by the defendants was zero dollars.
The jury’s verdict of $600,000 as to the defendants Dr. Iyer and his medical practice was made up of the following damages:
- $150,000 for past medical expenses;
- $250,000 for past and future loss of normal life;
- $125,000 for past pain and suffering; and
- $75,000 for disfigurement.
The attorneys representing Sepulveda were Jeffrey Schulkin and Sharon Kobrin of Munday & Nathan.
Nereida Sepulveda v. Dr. Dalasubramanian S. Iyer, et al., No. 10 L 10570 (Cook County, Illinois).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, birth injuries and brain injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago (East Village, Fulton River District, Greektown, Gold Coast, Garfield Ridge, Humboldt Park, Lincoln Park), Berwyn, Bolingbrook, Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, Round Lake Beach, Waukegan, Joliet, Romeoville, Evergreen Park, Elmhurst, Elgin, Aurora and Evanston, Ill.
Related blog posts: