Russell Kazda, 50, developed a splinter wound in his right pinky finger. A hand specialist, Dr. James Schlenker, performed a surgical procedure to remove the splinter. In doing so, Dr. Schlenker opened Kazda’s palm to examine his tendon. About a week after this procedure, Kazda returned to Dr. Schlenker and was diagnosed as having an infection in that finger, which required debridements and skin grafting. Kazda now has significant disfigurement on his ring and pinky fingers resulting from that infection, which spread to the rest of his hand.
Kazda filed a lawsuit against Dr. Schlenker and his practice in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., maintaining that the doctor chose not to diagnose the infection and correctly prescribe IV antibiotics.
The lawsuit claimed that the infection, pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis, was already present before Dr. Schlenker performed the procedure to remove the splinter. The lawsuit also asserted that the follow-up appointment with Dr. Schlenker should have been scheduled for the day after the surgery, which would have prevented the infection from spreading to the rest of Kazda’s hand.