April 10, 2022

After a 4-day medical malpractice jury trial, an Oklahoma medical malpractice jury returned its verdict for the plaintiffs after about an hour of deliberations in the total amount of $17.5 million ($14 million for the 32-year-old plaintiff who lost the use of his right leg after hernia mesh removal surgery and $3.5 million for his wife’s loss of consortium claim).

The plaintiffs’ Oklahoma medical malpractice lawyers presented the jury with evidence of approximately $1.2 million in future medical expenses and approximately $1.1 million in diminished earning capacity for the plaintiff.

The father of five children ranging from age 15 to 8 had a prior bilateral inguinal hernia repair with mesh surgery in 2009. He started to have inguinal pain and therefore sought medical care in 2016. One general surgeon he consulted advised him that although he did mesh removal surgeries, surgery on the plaintiff would likely result in his death. Undeterred, the plaintiff consulted with a second surgeon who cautioned that mesh removal surgery would likely result in the loss of one or both of his testicles. The plaintiff was then referred to OU Physicians where he came under the care of Dr. Jeffrey Bender. Dr. Bender warned the plaintiff that as a result of mesh removal surgery his hernia could return, his pain could worsen, or he may lose a testicle in the future. Nonetheless, Dr. Bender agreed to do the mesh removal surgery.

Dr. Bender performed the surgery on July 2, 2018. When the plaintiff woke up after surgery, he immediately felt numbness in his right leg. When he stepped down from his recovery room bed, the plaintiff fell due to the nonfunctioning of his right quadriceps muscles. Injury to his right femoral nerve was confirmed by an EMG that showed the total lack of motor and sensory function in his right femoral nerve. At no time did Dr. Bender advise the plaintiff of the possibility of injury to his femoral nerve or that he could lose mobility in his leg as a result of surgery. There is a near-total lack of instances of femoral nerve injury during mesh removal surgery reported in the medical literature.

The plaintiff explored nerve grafting but his doctors determined that the procedure would be too dangerous for him. His doctors offered no other treatment for the permanent injury. The plaintiff lacks motor and sensory function in his quadriceps muscles and his right knee is unstable. The plaintiff is unable to extend his right leg and he falls if he puts weight on his right knee. The plaintiff wears a hip-to-heal prosthetic device all the time that locks when he stands and unlocks to allow him to sit. He experiences intense neurologic pain in his right leg. Despite his injuries and limitations, the plaintiff never stopped working at an industrial battery company where he lifts batteries weighing up to 150 pounds up to 500 times a day.

The plaintiffs’ Oklahoma medical malpractice attorneys were able to convince the trial judge to instruct the jury on res ipsa loquitur because the defendants could not explain how the injury to the plaintiff’s femoral nerve occurred. The defendants reportedly offered only $200,000 to settle the claims before trial. The plaintiffs had offered to settle the claims for Dr. Bender’s policy limits.

The defense argued that the plaintiffs were attempting to be compensated for pain related to his mesh. The Oklahoma medical malpractice jury voted 11-to-1 in favor of the plaintiffs.

If you or a loved one were harmed as a result of medical malpractice in Oklahoma or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with an Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.

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