Articles Posted in Orthopedic Mistakes

After a fall, John Mitchell, 53, went to a Kaiser Permanente occupational medicine specialist complaining of back pain, numbness and weakness. The doctor prescribed steroids and a muscle relaxer and asked Mitchell to return in one week.

At the next appointment, Mitchell reported increased numbness and weakness in his legs. The doctor referred Mitchell to a Kaiser Permanente emergency room for an MRI of his lumbar spine. The MRI showed mild degenerative changes. Mitchell was referred to a neurologist.

Before the neurology appointment, he met with a Kaiser specialist who ordered a STAT MRI of the thoracic spine. The first available appointment was four days later.
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Matthew Standley had a history of osteomyelitis, bone disease or bone infection, 14 knee surgeries, and numerous skin grafts and muscle harvests. When he experienced pain in his left knee, he consulted osteopathic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Melvyn Rech. Several weeks later, Dr. Rech performed a left knee arthroscopy, meniscectomy, a chondroplasty, and hardware removal.

Several months after these procedures, Dr. Rech performed a total knee replacement.

At Standley’s post-operative evaluation two weeks after the knee replacement, Dr. Rech prescribed Keflex, an anti-bacterial drug. Within two weeks, Standley went to a hospital emergency room, complaining of severe knee pain and drainage from the surgical site. Dr. Rech did not respond to several nurses’ calls, and Standley, 51, was subsequently admitted for treatment of cellulitis and a possible hardware infection.
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Edward Dallies, 51, was admitted to a hospital suffering from a swollen left arm and back pain. A family physician, Dr. Lawrence Rahall, prescribed intravenous antibiotics.
A bone scan showed Dallies had a compression fracture of the spine. However, he did not undergo an MRI because he did not fit into the hospital’s MRI machine. Five days later, Dr. Rahall stopped the antibiotics. Dallies was discharged three days later.

Dallies’ neurological condition worsened. He became unable to move his legs. Dallies was later diagnosed as having an epidural abscess, which necessitated surgery. As a consequence of his injuries, he now suffers from paralysis and neurological deficits, including a neurogenic bowel and bladder. He is unable to continue working as a laborer earning approximately $25,000 per year.

Dallies filed a lawsuit against Dr. Rahall and one of his treating orthopedists alleging that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat the epidural abscess and start appropriate antibiotic therapy. The lawsuit also alleged that the defendants chose not to stabilize the compression fracture.
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A $1.53 million jury verdict was entered following the jury trial of 50-year-old Joseph Miller. Miller was referred to Bay Area Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine for evaluation of a bone spur in his right heel. Dr. Vivek Sood, an orthopedic surgeon, removed the bone spur and also did an Achilles tendon reattachment.

After the surgery, Miller suffered a deep wound infection in his right foot. The infection required seven additional surgeries and extensive medical care.

Miller lost a portion of his foot because of the wound infection. He was a laborer and remained out of work for approximately three months. His lost income was more than $19,600.
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Kyle Wodzenski, 20 years old at the time of this accident, fractured his left index finger in a work-related incident. Orthopedic surgeon Fred Moore Carter II MD performed an open reduction surgery on Wodzenski, placing his finger in a plaster splint.

Wodzenski, who was suffering from significant pain, went to Dr. Carter’s office two days after his hospital discharge. Physician assistant John Rongo examined him in less than five minutes, choosing not to open the splint.

At an appointment the following week, Dr. Carter told Wodzenski that his index finger had become necrotic and required amputation.
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Andrew Swanson had a history of various medical problems including diabetes, end-stage renal disease and gangrene. After undergoing a skin graft on his right foot, he was transferred to Regional Hospital for Respiratory and Complex Care.
He was in his mid-40’s and was treated with foot dressing to be changed daily and wrapped with non-elastic Kerlix dressing.

In spite of this procedure ordered by his treating physicians, a Regional Hospital nurse applied an elastic Ace bandage and left it in place for three days.
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William Glynn Jr., 66, suffered an injury to his cervical spine in a car accident. He had limited use of his extremities following that incident. He underwent cervical spinal surgery at North Fulton Hospital and was gaining strength and showing signs of improvement.

However, three days after that surgery, hospital nurses tried to move Glynn from a reclining chair to his bed. They placed Glynn in a sling attached to a Hoyer lift, but his legs slid downward toward the floor. The hospital nurses pushed the Hoyer lift back toward the chair, which caused Glynn to strike his head against that chair.

The next day, Glynn awoke with new symptoms; a CT scan revealed a fractured-dislocation at C7 to T1. In spite of surgery about 40 hours after this incident, Glynn now suffers from incomplete quadriplegia and requires 24-hour-per-day care.
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On June 26, 2014, Dr. Corey Solman performed arthroscopic surgery on the knee of Leslie Grussing. At her follow-up appointment on July 9, 2014, she met with a physician’s assistant and reported swelling in her knee. The physician’s assistant suggested physical therapy.

Dr. Solman did not examine her at that visit. Grussing returned to Dr. Solman’s office on July 18, 2014, again reporting pain and swelling in her knee.

Dr. Solman then removed fluid associated with the swelling from Grussing’s knee and observed that the synovial fluid looked normal. Dr. Solman did not test the fluid for infection.
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The New York State Appellate Court has ruled that an orthopedic resident was not liable to a patient injured during a knee replacement surgery.

In this case, Carol Blendowski underwent a knee replacement surgery that was performed by Dr. Michael Wiese and Dr. Marc O’Donnell, who was a third-year orthopedic resident.

During the surgery, Blendowski suffered an injury to her peroneal and tibial nerves. These nerve injuries were permanent.
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Virginia Moraites, a 77-year-old retiree, underwent a total left knee replacement at Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan, Ill., on Oct. 13, 2009. The inpatient procedure was done by the defendant orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gerard Goshgarian. On the morning after the surgery, Oct. 14, 2009, a nurse found that Moraites was unable to move her left foot. The foot felt cold and there were no detectable pulses in her foot.

The hospital’s nurse immediately called both Moraites’ internist and Dr. Goshgarian to report these findings. The internist responded first and ordered a STAT left leg arterial Doppler study as well as a vascular surgery consultation.

Vascular surgeon Dr. David Onsager sent his physician’s assistant to examine Moraites and also ordered ultrasound testing of the blood flow in her feet. Dr. Goshgarian came to bedside to examine Moraites, but he did not issue any additional orders and left to perform surgery on a different patient.
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