March 1, 2012
Tracy Prewitt successfully defended an orthopedic surgeon against allegations of medical malpractice at trial in Columbus, Indiana. Plaintiff arrived by ambulance to Columbus Regional Hospital with a chief complaint of extreme pain in her left thigh. She had fallen while walking her dog and sustained a twisting injury to her left leg. The leg was visibly shortened and she was completely unable to bear weight. The on-call orthopedic surgeon examined her and diagnosed a severe, displaced fracture through the middle third of the left femur. Treatment options were discussed and Plaintiff consented to proceed with surgery. The orthopedic surgeon performed an open reduction and internal fixation procedure on Plaintiff’s left femur, which included intramedullary nailing of the left femur. Plaintiff alleged that the orthopedic surgeon provided inadequate surgical care by failing to fully compress the severely fractured bone, claiming this eventually caused a nonunion. Plaintiff claimed that, as a result of the orthopedic surgeon’s care, she incurred medical bills, endured pain and suffering, and had to undergo a second surgery to repair the nonunion. The defense countered that the orthopedic surgeon’s evaluation and surgical treatment of Plaintiff was appropriate. The significant risks and complications of the surgical repair of the severe fracture were discussed before the surgery and the surgeon carefully performed the open reduction and internal fixation procedure to the severely fractured leg. Despite the best medical care for the severely fractured leg, Plaintiff experienced a well-known complication of the leg surgery, which subsequently was repaired. The jury unanimously agreed with the defense that the orthopedic surgeon acted appropriately and entered a defense verdict finding no fault against him.