Plaintiff, age 59, underwent left hip replacement surgery with defendant orthopedic surgeon on Oct. 22, 2007. At surgery, the defendant inserted the trial stem implant into the plaintiff’s femur without incident. It advanced to the proper position, i.e., it fully seated. Intra-operative X-rays confirmed the appropriate fit, leg length, etc. After removing the trial implant, the orthopedist tried to advance the permanent implant down the plaintiff’s femur. However, it would not fully seat. Instead, it was about 2 cm “proud.” X-rays ruled out any malpositioning. The surgeon attempted to remove the implant using a slap hammer, to no avail. He attempted to forcibly advance the implant using a mallet, to no avail. The surgeon struck the stuck implant hundreds of times trying to remove and advance it over several hours. The implant was immovably stuck. The defendant then performed an extended trochanteric osteotomy to remove the implant. He re-reamed the patient’s femur to accommodate a larger implant and finished surgery. All told, the surgery took eight and a half hours instead of the normal two to three hours. Plaintiff claimed that the trauma from the surgery, osteotomy and larger implant causes her persistent thigh pain rendering her completely disabled from working. At the time of surgery, the plaintiff had worked for Subway inspecting their stores.
Plaintiff’s expert, a world-renowned knee and hip orthopedic surgeon, claimed that an implant should never become immovably stuck and that her thigh pain was due to a larger implant in thinner bone.
Defendant countered with an equally renowned orthopedist from Boston, who had authored textbooks on hip replacement, who testified that a stuck implant (and post-op thigh pain) can happen in the best of hands, had happened to him, and that the defendant handled the complication appropriately.
After three days of evidence, the jury deliberated for 30 minutes before returning a defense verdict.[12-T-173]
Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Permanent and debilitating severe thigh pain after hip replacement surgery, resulting in a lifelong dependency on narcotic medication to cope
Court: Prince William Circuit Court
Case no.: CL 10-1620-00
Tried before: Jury
Judge: Mary Grace O’Brien
Date: Oct. 17, 2012
Special damages: Lost wages of $200,000; medical bills of $50,000; permanent and total disability; pain and suffering
Verdict or settlement: Defense verdict
Attorneys for defendant: Byron J. Mitchell and Lynne C. Kemp, Fredericksburg
Attorney for plaintiff: Charles Sickels, Fairfax
Defendant’s expert: James Bono, M.D., orthopedics, Boston
Plaintiff’s experts: Kenneth Krackow, M.D., orthopedics, Buffalo, N.Y.; Ernest Roman, M.D., pain management, Houston