Failure to Timely Detect Compartment Syndrome Results in $2.1 Million Settlement

Deshawn Gray, 25, suffered a left tibial fracture in a motorcycle accident. He was transferred to St. Joseph Hospital where he was admitted by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jacqueline Mlsna. Dr. Mlsna ordered a femoral nerve block with a postsurgical catheter and then did an open reduction internal fixation surgery to repair the fracture.

Within three hours of the surgery, Gray developed severe pain, paresthesia and paralysis of his left foot and toes. Three hours after that, Gray’s attending nurses notified anesthesiologist Dr. James Maney, who allegedly advised the nurses to tell Dr. Mlsna about Gray’s symptoms. However, the nurses chose not to do that or follow up.

Over the next two days, Dr. Mlsna’s partner, orthopedist Dr. Shawn Tracy, noted that Gray had a numb and motionless foot.  Dr. Dr. Tracy allegedly attributed this to a possible surgical nerve injury.

The following evening, Dr. Mlsna diagnosed Gray as having compartment syndrome. Gray underwent several fasciotomies in the efforts to save his foot. Because of the resulting injuries, Gray, a professional driver, could not return to work for 18 months. His past and future lost earnings are estimated to be about $285,000.

Gray filed the lawsuit against the hospital alleging that it chose not implement an adequate surveillance system for detecting and monitoring acute compartment syndrome. Gray asserted that the hospital’s nurses failed to adequately and correctly assess Gray for acute compartment syndrome or timely report his change of status to the treating orthopedists.

The jury entered a verdict of $2.85 million, which included $1.35 million in stipulated economic damages and $1.5 million for pain and suffering subject to the Wisconsin state $750,000 cap on noneconomic damages. The jury found that the hospital was 75% liable and Dr. Maney, who was a nonparty, 25% at fault. However, later on the parties settled for $2,100,000.

The attorneys representing Gray were James A. Pitts and Gregory A. Pitts.

Gray v. Mlsna, No. 13-cv-008460 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Milwaukee County, Nov. 25, 2015).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, misdiagnosis of compartment syndrome cases, catastrophic injury cases, nursing negligence cases and hospital negligence 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 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including River Forest, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Wilmette, Evanston, Crestwood, Forest Par, Long Grove, Country Club Hills, Chicago (Woodlawn, North Lawndale, Chinatown, Hegewisch, East Side, West Loop, South Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square), Lincolnshire, Wheeling and Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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