The Turkewitz Law Firm

New York Personal Injury Attorney ♦ Medical Malpractice ♦ Trial Lawyer

Serving Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Rockland, Dutchess, Westchester, Nassau & Suffolk Counties
Eric Turkewitz
228 E. 45 St., 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 983-5900

As Published In
The New York Jury Verdict Reporter

Medical Malpractice Nurse And Hospital Negligence Sciatic Nerve Injury After Injection In The Buttock

Settlement: Xxxxxxxx and Xxxxx Lowe v. New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center XXXXX/90

Date of Settlement 12/1/94

Venue: Bronx Supreme

Plaintiff Attorney: Eric M. Turkewitz, Manhattan, for Fuchsberg & Fuchsberg, Manhattan

This medical malpractice action settled after 2 days of trial for $240,000. On 5/31/89, Plaintiff, a 27-year-old hospital gift shop worker, was sent by her internist to Defendant New York Hospital's Urgent Care clinic for two penicillin injections to treat an infection. The doctor was unable to perform the injections himself because he was allergic to penicillin. A nurse administered the intramuscular injection into the left buttock. Plaintiff claimed that the injection was improperly administered, resulting in a sciatic nerve injury.

Plaintiff testified at her EBT that after the second injection, she felt a sharp radiating pain down her left leg with a turning in of the foot as the leg buckled. Plaintiff called her internist the following day to report the problem with her leg, and he referred her to a neurologist. The neurologist would have testified that Plaintiff had a sciatic nerve injury from the injection.

The nurse who gave the injection testified that there were no adverse reactions to the drug or the injections. The nurse also testified that the proper area to give the injection was in the ventrogluteal area, or upper outer quadrant of the buttock, where there were few major nerves or arteries. She testified that it is impossible to hit the sciatic nerve if an injection is administered correctly, and conceded under cross-examination that if there was a sciatic nerve injury, the injection must have been given improperly. Deft, noted that Plaintiff walked over to a telephone after the injection and called her husband. Defendant argued that if the sciatic nerve was injured by the injection, Plaintiff would have been unable to walk.

Plaintiff's treating neurologist testified that the day after the injection, a band-aid was over the left "lateral hip." Defendant contended that this was proof that the injection was given in the correct place. The nurse who gave the injection testified that the "hip" was below the ventrogluteal area where the injection was to be given, and that it would be a departure from customary practice to give it so low because of the danger of hitting a branch of the sciatic nerve.

In 1991, 2 years after the injection, Plaintiff suffered a fall. An MRI revealed a herniated disc at L5-S1 and disc degeneration. Plaintiff contended that the fall was caused by her weakened leg. Plaintiff was seen by several different doctors and was the study of a medical conference, called because of three negative EMGs and examinations and complaints that were incompatible with sciatic nerve damage or a herniated disc. Deft, argued that Plaintiff was exaggerating her injuries. Deft, contended that the sciatic nerve comes out of the spine at the same place as the herniated disc, and that Plaintiff's problems were due to the disc degeneration and not an injection injury.

Injuries: foot drop, which has partially resolved. Plaintiff contended that she is unable to do anything strenuous and experiences pain while sitting or standing for long periods. Deft, had surveillance films that showed Plaintiff walking with only a minimal limp. Plaintiff would have argued that she did not testify that she always walked with a limp.

Updated: 3/2/2016
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