Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Failure of physician to timely perform physical examination and order vascular consultation following patient’s complaints of pain and numbness in lower extremities resulting in permanent disfigurement and nerve damage due to delayed treatment of acute limb ischemia
Name of case: Kontaratos v. Mid-Atlantic Women’s Care, P.L.C.
Court: Norfolk Circuit Court
Case no.: CL20007890-00
Tried before: Judge
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Jerrauld C. Jones
Date resolved: 5/6/2022
Special damages: Medical bills of $798,796.65; life care plan of $1,332,385
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Randy D. Singer, Kevin A. Hoffman and Rosalyn K. Singer, Virginia Beach
Description of case: Plaintiff, a 45-year-old female, was admitted on the morning of March 7, 2019 for a hysterectomy. The procedure was completed at approximately noon the same day by Dr. Colleen Connor of Mid-Atlantic Women’s Care, P.L.C.
Plaintiff did not have any complications on the day of surgery. But the following morning, she began experiencing significant leg pain and numbness in her lower extremities and Dr. Connor was notified. At 2:30 p.m., Dr. Connor left the hospital, with plaintiff’s complaints unresolved. At 5:00 p.m., six hours after the onset of symptoms, Dr. Frank Morgan, the on-call physician, was notified that plaintiff had no pulse in her lower extremities and was experiencing motor weakness. A vascular consultation was ordered sometime after 7 p.m., eventually leading to emergency surgery to remove blood clots from both legs.
Plaintiff was subsequently hospitalized for 48 days and suffered 12 additional surgeries, including bilateral fasciotomies and the amputation of four toes and the side of her left foot. Plaintiff sustained permanent nerve and tissue damage, leaving her unable to walk unassisted or to return to prior levels of mobility and independence.
Defendants did not engage in settlement negotiations.
Trial initially began with three defendants: Mid-Atlantic, Dr. Connor, and Dr. Morgan. On the third day of trial, defense counsel reported that Dr. Connor would be absent from trial because of illness. Defense counsel subsequently moved for a mistrial, citing Dr. Connor’s absence. The court held the matter under advisement for three days, receiving updates on Dr. Connor’s status and allowing plaintiff to testify and defense experts to testify to accommodate their schedules.
On May 2, 2022, plaintiff’s counsel nonsuited Dr. Connor and Dr. Morgan. The court temporarily suspended trial so that Dr. Connor could recover from her brief hospitalization, review transcripts and testify on the day she was cleared to “return to work.” The action proceeded against Mid-Atlantic only, with both Dr. Connor and Dr. Morgan testifying.
Through expert testimony, Mid-Atlantic contested both the standard of care and causation. Defense standard of care experts testified that an OB/GYN physician need only order vascular imaging and did not need to go visit a patient with plaintiff’s complaints. The defense causation expert, the chief of vascular surgery at Johns Hopkins, argued that the permanent damage plaintiff sustained was essentially guaranteed as soon as the blood clots entered her lower extremities. In contrast, plaintiff’s experts testified that her symptoms required in-person assessment and that faster intervention would have resulted in a better medical outcome.
Closing arguments were made on the ninth day of trial and plaintiff’s counsel requested a verdict of $3 million. The following day, the jury awarded $3.1 million. The case remains pending on appeal.
Kevin Hoffman, counsel for plaintiff, provided case information.