Articles Posted in Orthopedic Mistakes

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.
Continue reading

Elizabeth McNamara was 63 when she underwent a right hip replacement that was done by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Weissberg. After the surgery, she developed right foot drop and was diagnosed as having an injured peroneal nerve.

McNamara continued to suffer the foot drop and numbness in her right leg — problems that caused her to fall and necessitated the use of a leg brace for walking and modifications to her car so that she was able to drive.

McNamara and her husband filed a lawsuit against Dr. Weissberg, maintaining that the nerve injury resulted from either his misplacement of a surgical retractor or application of excessive force on the right leg during the surgery.
Continue reading

Holly Mozzone, 39, underwent a bursectomy and a repair to her labrum; surgery was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gary Hunter. During the surgical procedure, Dr. Hunter placed a screw into her shoulder joint instead of on the limb of the joint.

As a result of this mistake, she developed mechanical and range-of-motion problems that necessitated 18 months of physical therapy. She was unable to continue working as a nursing assistant and now works as a flight attendant.

Mozzon filed a lawsuit against Dr. Hunter claiming liability for placing the screw during the operation in the shoulder joint instead of in the rim of the joint. That displacement of the surgical screw was the cause of her shoulder problems. The jury awarded $188,000 plus $150,000 in attorney fees.

Plaintiff Donald Brier brought a cause of action against a practice group and an orthopedic surgeon, Greater Hartford Orthopedic Group P.C., and David Kruger, MD, an orthopedic surgeon (collectively, Defendants), alleging medical malpractice arising out of a spinal surgery that went bad.

After the running of the applicable statute of limitations, Brier sought to amend his complaint. Both the original complaint and the amended version alleged that Dr. Kruger and his medical group chose not to plan and use an instrument that could have been utilized. The original complaint alleged the misuse of a skull clamp during the surgery.

Brier’s amended complaint included allegations of the improper use of a retractor blade. The trial court narrowly construed the original complaint as limited to a claim of the negligent usage of the skull clamp and denied Brier’s request to amend his complaint.
Continue reading

In a confidential settlement, a 50-year-old woman underwent a microdiscectomy performed by a neurosurgeon. The patient’s blood pressure dropped after the procedure, and her condition then deteriorated.

A CT scan showed that the woman’s iliac artery was injured during the microdiscectomy. By the time the patient was transferred to another hospital for repair surgery, her medical status was severely compromised. Despite an emergency surgery to repair the artery, the patient died.

The patient was the owner of a small business earning about $25,000 per year. Her decedent now runs the business. She was survived by her husband and three adult children.

Continue reading

Walter Hoover was 70 years old when he suffered a compression fracture in his back at L4. After the first rounds of treatment were found to be unsuccessful, he was transferred to a Veterans Administration Hospital where two neurosurgeons performed a corpectomy and diskectomy at L3-5 with placement of spinal instrumentation. This procedure was done to decompress the spine.

After the surgery, Hoover experienced paralysis in his left leg. Days later, he underwent additional surgeries to remove a misplaced surgical screw, reposition his surgically implanted hardware and to decompress his spinal cord.

Even after that series of surgeries, Hoover remained paralyzed and required multiple hospitalizations and treatments until he died several years later.

Continue reading

John Antonucci was 52 years old at the time he underwent an MRI with contrast on his right hip. Two days later he was admitted to the hospital complaining of pain in the same hip. An orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jason Fond, obtained a culture and later discharged Antonucci with a diagnosis of “inflammation.” One and a half days later, Antonucci was diagnosed as having septic arthritis.

As a result, Antonucci required a hip replacement and now suffers from chronic pain, which prevents him from doing many of the daily activities of living or returning to his job as a construction worker where he was earning $35,000 per year.

Antonucci and his wife filed suit against Dr. Fond and his practice, claiming that Dr. Fond chose not to timely treat the infection and that evidence of such infection was present on the culture results that the doctor ordered. The plaintiffs claimed that Antonucci required a timely surgical washout of the wound created by the contrast injection and that the delay in treatment allowed the infection to progress to dangerous levels.

Continue reading

Robert Cruz filed a lawsuit alleging medical negligence against Dr. Robert R. Schenk and Hand Surgery Ltd., his medical practice, claiming that Dr. Schenk had chosen not to follow the standard of care. In his lawsuit, Cruz said Dr. Schenk used excessive injections and failed to adequately explore or treat the superficial radial right nerve, all of which, it was claimed, injured Cruz.

The jury trial proceeded without incident, but during the jury deliberations, the jury sent two questions to the trial judge. The first one was, “Is the Jury making a decision on how Mr. Cruz got originally hurt or are we making a decision on the quality of care that . . . provided?” The second question was, “After reading the ‘proximate cause statement’ is the jury correct to assume to interpret it in the following way: That if we, the jury, believe that Dr. Schank (sic) is not the only cause for Mr. Cruz’s injury, then we decide with the defense?”

The trial judge met with the parties to discuss the court’s response. The attorney for Cruz stated that the jury’s question should be answered “specifically and accurately.” However, the lawyer did not provide what response should be given to the jury by the judge and gave no written response to the court to give to the jury.

Continue reading

Orthopedic surgeon Kris Alden, M.D., performed the right knee replacement surgery on the plaintiff, Lawrence Lapiana, on May 26, 2011.  Lapiana had a history of severe osteoarthritis in both knees. The surgery was completed at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. During the knee replacement, the artery behind the knee was cut with a surgical instrument at the level of the tibial plateau.  At the time the artery was severed, the bleed was not detected. 

As a result of the severed artery, Lapiana developed post-surgery compartment syndrome with severe pain, numbness and swelling in the right knee and calf while still in the post-anesthesia care unit.

Dr. Alden requested a vascular surgery consult for a suspected arterial injury and also ordered an emergent arteriogram.  The arteriogram revealed a complete transection of the popliteal artery.

Continue reading

In a lawsuit resulting in a Cook County jury verdict, it was alleged by plaintiff Ryan Drummond that in August 2004, the defendant, Dr. Robert Brossard, a radiologist, chose not to correctly interpret x-rays of Drummond’s right hand. In addition, it was claimed that Dr. Brossard missed a fracture of the carpal bone of that same right hand. As a result of the doctor’s miss, Drummond was improperly treated with splinting for a sprain.

The fracture was later diagnosed on subsequent x-rays on Sept. 21, 2004. By that time, the window of opportunity for surgery to reduce the fracture had passed.

Drummond, 46, was a truck driver and sustained a nonunion of the trapezium, deformity to the base of the thumb, collapsed web space and development of severe arthritis. Drummond will need future arthroplasty surgery, which will mean a lengthy rehabilitation program.

Continue reading