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Million dollar medical malpractice lawsuit continued to next year

A medical malpractice suit for one million dollars against an orthopedist in another state for surgical errors was continued to September 2013 by a county circuit court in October 2012. The plaintiff, a 68-year old woman, filed a civil complaint because of the October 2011 surgery that left her "suffering with severe and permanent injury to her left collarbone."

This case could be important to Pennsylvania residents who believe similar surgery may have generated related long-term injuries. The judge hearing this case has ordered a planned four day jury trial to commence on September 30, 2013.

The procedure was a combination of carpal tunnel surgery on the patient's wrist and an open reduction internal fixation on the patient's left clavicle. The alleged surgical error occurred in the clavicle area.

During the procedure, the surgeon judged that the distal clavicle had an area that was osteoporotic. He attempted to stabilize the clavicle with a six-inch metal plate. Unfortunately, because of the poor condition of the patient's bone, the surgeon was unable to screw the plate in place.

The complaint alleges that the physician, unable to secure the metal plate with screws, tried to secure the end of the plate with sutures. The patient alleges that the sutures "acted like a saw," cutting her collarbone off at the distal end.

The surgeon confirmed that the distal portion of the patient's collarbone was cut off, but that this result occurred because of the patient's "extreme osteoporosis," not any negligence or surgical error. A board certified physician, the surgeon has practiced in Virginia for over 30 years, after completing his internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh.

Source: Star Exponent, "Medical malpractice lawsuit continued to next September," Rhonda Simmons, Oct. 16, 2012

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