July 29, 2012

On July 25, 2012, a San Diego medical malpractice jury returned a verdict against an orthopedic doctor (who is the head doctor for the San Diego Chargers football team) and the medical device manufacturer Breg Inc. for the injuries suffered by a 15-year-old girl who underwent knee surgery in 2003.

As part of her post-surgical rehabilitation, the doctor prescribed a treatment known as cold-therapy using a device manufactured by Breg Inc. called Polar Care Unit, which allegedly caused the teenager to suffer frostbite and to suffer permanent injuries and disfigurement. The medical malpractice lawsuit also alleged that the doctor had a financial interest in prescribing the use of the Polar Care Unit that was a conflict of interest, and the doctor failed to disclose injuries to previous patients who had used the Polar Care Unit.

The medical malpractice jury determined that the doctor was 50% responsible for the girl’s injuries and losses, that his company was 10% liable, and that Breg Inc. was 40% responsible. The damages awarded included future economic damages and pain and mental suffering. The medical malpractice jury is scheduled to meet again on July 31, 2012, to determine whether to award punitive damages and the amount of any such award.

Prior Medical Malpractice Claims Against The Doctor

The doctor had been sued for medical malpractice in 2002 by a patient who was prescribed the Polar Care Unit by the doctor and suffered frostbite on his leg that allegedly kept him from returning to work as a performer at SeaWorld in San Diego. That medical malpractice lawsuit resulted in a settlement for an undisclosed amount.

In 2009, the doctor was involved in another medical malpractice claim against him that was settled for an undisclosed amount. The doctor’s former patient had knee replacement surgery that resulted in the patient having to have his right leg amputated.

In 2011, a patient sued the doctor for allegedly lacerating her femoral artery, vein, and nerve during surgery in May, 2007, resulting in a limp and chronic pain. An arbitration panel that heard the medical malpractice claim awarded $2.2 million to the patient for her injuries and losses.

Other Troubles For The Doctor

Earlier this year, the doctor received a public reprimand from the Medical Board of California for failing to disclose his drunk driving conviction in 2007 in applications he filed for reappointment as a Qualified Medical Evaluator for the California Division of Worker’s Compensation. The Board ordered the doctor to enroll himself in an ethics (professionalism) course and to enroll in a medical recordkeeping course. (As noted by the Board, in 1995 the doctor had another alcohol-related driving conviction.) Read the Board’s Decision by clicking here.


If you have been injured due to a surgical error, a surgical mistake, or surgical malpractice, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney who may be able to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in your medical malpractice claim, if appropriate.

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