On December 11, 2014, after a seven-day trial and three hours of jury deliberations, the 52-year-old plaintiff in a Delaware medical malpractice case was awarded $3,425,515 in damages for her loss of income, medical expenses, and her pain and suffering arising out of an allegedly botched surgery on the nerves of her left leg that her experts testified was unnecessary to begin with.
The plaintiff had gone to the defendant plastic surgeon in 2009, complaining of achiness in her left knee and some tingling in the toes of her left foot at night. The defendant, who advertised that he specialized in surgery to relieve nerve compression in legs and feet, performed nine procedures on the plaintiff’s nerves in her left leg on April 5, 2010, after which the plaintiff had severe pain and debilitating cramping.
The defendant’s website states that he is “one of the few Plastic Surgeons on the East Coast who has been specifically trained and dedicated a significant portion of his practice to peripheral nerve surgery in the lower extremities. Peripheral nerve surgeons aim to relieve peripheral nerve compressions mostly in the arms and legs that can cause numbness, tingling, burning pain, balance problems, and loss of toes and feet.”
The plaintiff’s medical experts testified that the plaintiff’s surgery was unnecessary and unwarranted, and that non-operative alternatives, such as physical therapy, should have been discussed with the patient before deciding on surgery. The defendant reportedly noted in the plaintiff’s medical records four months after her surgery that the plaintiff was unable to walk very far or to stand very long, and the defendant further noted, “I am not really sure this is truly nerve pain.” The plaintiff was subsequently diagnosed by other doctors with complex regional pain syndrome that became so severe that her treating doctors considered amputation of her lower left leg.
The plaintiff had been a school teacher on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the surgery but was unable to do her job after the surgery; she retired in 2012.
The plaintiff’s attorney argued to the jury that the defendant plastic surgeon had breached the standard of care in recommending and performing the surgery (diagnostic testing allegedly did not reveal a nerve problem that could be corrected by surgery), to which the defendant responded that he did not commit medical negligence and that his treatment of the plaintiff was not the cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injury. The jury apparently believed otherwise.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured (or worse) due to medical negligence in Delaware or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly find a Delaware medical malpractice lawyer (or to find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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