One Maryland orthopedic surgeon sued another Maryland orthopedic surgeon for the injuries he sustained while they were simultaneously performing two knee replacement surgeries on the same patient. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to stay on his side of the surgical table and thereby caused a permanent injury to the plaintiff that required that he stop performing surgery. The Maryland jury found in favor of the defendant.
On May 11, 2015, the two Maryland orthopedic surgeons were performing bilateral total knee replacements on a patient. The plaintiff, who is left-hand dominant, operated on the patient’s left knee, and the defendant, who is right-hand dominant, operated on the patient’s right knee. Each surgeon had a team of individuals assisting with the surgery, including surgical technicians who handed them tools, so that they could stay focused on their respective surgical sites.
In order for a replacement knee to fit and function properly, the bone must be cut with precision. Because of the importance of this step in the procedure, surgeons use cutting guides that attach to the patient’s bone with pins. During the procedure, the defendant successfully placed the first pin in the cutting guide and his surgical technician handed him a loaded pin driver to place the second pin. At that moment, the plaintiff was operating his drill with his left arm in alignment with the patient on his side of the table. As the defendant brought the pin driver forward, it made contact with the plaintiff’s left elbow. The plaintiff felt a searing pain in his left elbow and his hand started shaking. He screamed, dropped his drill, and fell back, away from the patient. A nurse helped him out of his surgical gown, discovered he was bleeding, and poured some antiseptic on the wound. The plaintiff left the operating room for approximately fifteen minutes. He then returned and finished the surgery.
After he returned to complete the surgery, the plaintiff noticed that his thumb would not extend properly. Shortly after the incident, he felt weakness and a loss of sensation in his left arm and hand along with poor coordination and restricted movement. These conditions worsened over the following weeks. Prior to receiving a formal diagnosis, the plaintiff performed twelve more surgeries before concerns about patient safety forced him to stop performing surgery. After consulting with a neurologist and neurosurgeon, the plaintiff learned that his ulnar nerve was permanently damaged and could not be repaired with surgery. Eventually, in November 2015, his employer considered him disabled and terminated his contract.
On May 13, 2016, the plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City alleging that the defendant’s actions were negligent and grossly negligent. On July 24, 2017, after eight days of trial, the Maryland jury found that the defendant was not negligent. On July 31, 2017, the plaintiff filed a timely appeal. In an unreported opinion filed on February 19, 2019, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland upheld the jury’s verdict.
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of medical negligence in Maryland, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice attorneys in Maryland, or in your U.S. state, who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.