April 20, 2011
Gerald Toner and Katherine Vesely successfully defended an orthopedic trauma surgeon against allegations of medical malpractice during an eight-day trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court. Plaintiff had jumped off of a falling ladder and fell twenty feet to the ground, breaking his wrist and severely breaking his leg. Plaintiff was taken to a local hospital in Indiana and then transferred to University Hospital for definitive treatment. Plaintiff underwent surgery to repair his wrist fracture and severe leg fracture. Four days later, Plaintiff developed a compartment syndrome in his leg and had to have an urgent fasciotomy. Plaintiff underwent several subsequent surgeries following the initial fasciotomy, including debridements, skin grafts, and a muscle transfer surgery. Plaintiff alleged that there was a delay in diagnosis of the compartment syndrome by the team of physicians caring for him on the orthopedic service, including four residents and an attending surgeon. Plaintiff alleged that the delay in diagnosis caused extensive damage to his leg necessitating numerous subsequent surgeries and extensive physical therapy, which, in the end, prevented him from being able to work as a machinist and firefighter as he did before his accident. The defense countered that the team of residents and the attending on the orthopedic service followed Plaintiff closely following his initial surgery and they appropriately diagnosed a compartment syndrome in his leg in a timely manner. The jury agreed, and returned verdicts in favor of the resident-physicians and the attending orthopedic surgeon.