Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Perforation of common iliac vein during performance of oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF) spinal fusion procedure resulting in need for emergency vascular surgery. Plaintiff further alleged she suffered from permanent swelling and leg pain resulting from the vascular injury.
Court: Richmond Circuit Court
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Jacqueline S. McClenney
Date resolved: 4/21/2022
Special damages: $388,876.33 in claimed medical bills
Demand: Ad damnum $2,400,000; last demand $950,000
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $0 (defense)
Attorneys for defendant (and city): Sean P. Byrne and W. Davis Powell, Richmond
Description of case: This was a medical malpractice case in which the 70-year-old plaintiff alleged that she suffered a vascular injury during the performance of an OLIF spinal fusion procedure performed by the defendant orthopedic surgeon. Plaintiff alleged the defendant was negligent during the placement of a surgical screw used to affix a stabilizing plate to the L4-L5 vertebrae.
According to plaintiff’s expert, the standard of care required the defendant to use additional intraoperative imaging to confirm the position of the screw before advancing into a predrilled hole. Plaintiff alleged she required multiple vascular repair procedures and extensive rehabilitation due to the defendant’s negligence. She further alleged she suffered ongoing venous insufficiency in her left leg, resulting in swelling and pain.
The defense did not contest that the plaintiff suffered a vascular injury during the procedure and argued that though the defendant surgeon met the standard of care in all ways, the patient suffered a well-recognized risk of surgery. The defendants presented two eminently qualified orthopedic surgery experts with significant experience in the OLIF and the surgical hardware used in the procedure. Both experts testified the defendant surgeon met the standard of care in all ways, including in his use of intraoperative imaging. The defense also presented expert testimony from two orthopedic surgeons and a vascular surgeon that the defendant appropriately recognized and managed the vascular injury once it occurred.
After deliberating for approximately one hour, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendant surgeon and his practice, finding that he did not breach the standard of care.
Defense attorney W. Davis Powell provided case information. [022-T-124]