State Appellate Court Finds That Orthopedic Resident Not Liable For Patient Injured During Knee Replacement Surgery

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.

Blendowski sued Dr. Wiese, his medical practice and Dr. O’Donnell, individually and as the hospital’s agent, alleging medical malpractice. The trial judge denied all of the defendants’ motions for summary judgment.

Reversing in part, the New York Appellate Court found that the trial judge improperly denied summary judgment for Dr. O’Donnell and the hospital. The court noted that a resident assisting a doctor during a medical procedure without exercising independent judgment cannot be liable for medical malpractice, so long as the doctor’s directions adhered to the principles of normal practice.

The court ruled that Dr. Wiese had determined the type of surgery to be done and supervised Dr. O’Donnell during the procedure, overseeing his placement of the drill and directing him when to stop drilling.

Accordingly, the appeals panel concluded that Dr. O’Donnell and the hospital had met their burden of establishing Dr. O’Donnell’s lack of independent judgment during the knee replacement. The plaintiff, therefore, did not raise an issue of fact and summary judgment for the resident and hospital was correct.

Blendowski v. Wiese, 2018 WL 795675 (N.Y. App. Div. Feb. 9, 2018).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, wrongful death cases, orthopedic injury lawsuits and birth trauma injury cases for individuals, families and loved ones 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 Waukegan, Joliet, Elgin, Gurnee, Zion, Lake Zurich, Calumet City, Chicago (Lake Calumet, Hegewisch, South Shore, East Side, Austin, Rogers Park, Irving Park, Jefferson Park, Washington Park), Bridgeview, Bensenville, Monee, Beecher and Crete, Ill.

Related blog posts:

$1.67 Million Illinois Jury Verdict in Knee Replacement Surgery Gone Very Bad

$1.86 Million Jury Verdict for Negligence Associated with Hip Replacement Surgery

Jury Verdict Entered for Patient Whose Shoulder Surgery Went Wrong When Surgeon Placed Screw in the Wrong Place