On May 16, 2022, a Minnesota medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in excess of $111 million in favor of a 25-year-old who had been injured in January 2017 while playing soccer at a pickup soccer game at St. Cloud State University. The plaintiff was injured when another soccer player tackled him. He was brought by ambulance to CentraCare’s St. Cloud Hospital, where Dr. Chad Holien, who was employed by St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates in Sartell, Minnesota, performed surgery on his badly fractured left leg that evening.
The Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that despite the plaintiff’s complications following surgery that included uncontrolled pain, numbness, burning, and muscle problems, he was discharged from the hospital late in the afternoon the following day. The plaintiff returned to the hospital six days later when his pain became unbearable. The plaintiff was diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome for which another surgeon operated on his left leg the same day. The Minnesota medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that negligent care led to the failure to properly and timely diagnose and treat compartment syndrome, which is a medical emergency.
The plaintiff required more than twelve surgeries and he has suffered severe, disabling, permanent damage to his left leg. He has difficulty walking along with continuing knee problems. The plaintiff alleged that he will require hip surgery in the future.
An attorney for the defendant stated after the verdict, “We maintain the care provided in this case was in accordance with accepted standards of care. The case was about the alleged delay in diagnosing and treating a complication of the surgery that was performed. St. Cloud Orthopedics continues to support its providers. We are evaluating our options regarding this verdict.”
The Minnesota medical malpractice jury awarded the plaintiff $100 million for his future pain, disability, disfigurement, embarrassment, and emotional distress; $10 million for his past pain, disability, disfigurement, embarrassment, and emotional distress; and, in excess of $1 million for his past and future medical expenses.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, compartments are groupings of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels in the arms and legs. Covering these tissues is a tough membrane called a fascia that keep the tissues in place, and, therefore, the fascia does not stretch or expand easily. Compartment syndrome develops when swelling or bleeding occurs within a compartment. Because the fascia does not stretch, this can cause increased pressure on the capillaries, nerves, and muscles in the compartment. Blood flow to muscle and nerve cells is disrupted. Without a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients, nerve and muscle cells can be damaged. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency that is usually caused by a severe injury. Without treatment, acute compartment syndrome can lead to permanent muscle damage. Compartment syndrome most often occurs in the anterior (front) compartment of the lower leg (calf). It can also occur in other compartments in the leg, as well as in the arms, hands, feet, and buttocks.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in Minnesota or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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