A Loudoun County sheriff’s deputy was injured in a car crash, suffering injuries to his right ankle. He was referred to Dr. Cyrus Press of Center for Advanced Orthopaedics in Woodbridge. Dr. Press sent the plaintiff for an MRI, which revealed a possible lateral talus fracture. The radiologist recommended a CT scan to confirm the fracture. Dr. Press did not inform the plaintiff about the possible fracture and did not recommend a CT scan. Instead, he simply monitored the plaintiff’s condition over a period of months, while encouraging the plaintiff to go to physical therapy. During this time, the plaintiff’s pain worsened, and he was unable to bear weight on the injured ankle.
After several months of worsening pain, and specifically after Dr. Press’ comment to the plaintiff and his wife that the pain must be in the plaintiff’s head, the plaintiff sought a second opinion. The second opinion revealed the talus fracture which had been suggested on the original MRI. Surgery to repair it was performed almost immediately, but the fracture had been neglected for too long, preventing a successful union. Ultimately, the plaintiff required two more surgeries, one to fuse his ankle in order to mitigate the arthritic pain, and the other to lengthen his Achilles tendon which had contracted due to lack of use. The plaintiff was left with a fused ankle, arthritis and a limited range of motion, making it difficult for him to perform the duties of his job, to play sports with his children, and to perform household maintenance such as climbing a ladder and mowing the lawn.
Plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Francis McGuigan of the Foot and Ankle Center at Georgetown University Hospital, testified that a CT scan is the gold standard for confirming the existence of a fracture, and that there was a short window of opportunity to repair a displaced lateral talus fracture to avoid severe problems in the future. He testified that it was more likely than not that surgery to repair the fracture within the window of opportunity would have prevented the need for the subsequent surgeries, as well as the arthritis and other limitations suffered by the plaintiff.
Defendant’s expert, Dr. Jason Nascone of the University of Maryland Cowley Shock Trauma Center, testified that Deputy Lancaster’s original fracture was significant, that conservative treatment was appropriate initially, that the plaintiff likely would have eventually needed a fusion regardless, and that immediate surgery would not have prevented the onset of arthritis.
Plaintiff claimed medical expenses of $124,000. The court struck Plaintiff’s claims for future loss of earnings and a portion of plaintiff’s claims for past lost wages. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $882,000.00, plus interest on $322,000 from Aug. 1, 2015.
Type of action: Medical Malpractice
Injuries alleged: Undiagnosed talus fracture. The plaintiff was left with a fused ankle, arthritis, and a limited range of motion, making it difficult for him to perform the duties of his job, to play sports with his children, and to perform household maintenance such as climbing a ladder and mowing the lawn.
Name of case: Thomas Lancaster III v. Cyrus M. Press, M.D., et.al.
Court: Prince William County Circuit Court
Case no.: CL17003534-00
Tried before: Jury
Date resolved: May 8, 2019
Special damages: $124,000
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $882,000.00, plus interest on $322,000.00 from Aug. 1, 2015
Attorneys for plaintiff: Cory R. Ford and Peter Pentony, Leesburg
Attorneys for defendant: D. Lee Rutland, Annapolis MD
Plaintiff’s experts: Dr. Francis McGuigan
Defendant’s experts: Dr. Jason Nascone[20-T-019]