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Medical Malpractice — Foreign Object — Surgical Drain Left In Knee — Infection — Subsequent Leg Fusion — Elderly Plaintiff Left Bed-Ridden
Settlement: Julia Xxxxx v. [WJ], [DP], Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopedic Institute, and NYU Medical Center
Date of Settlement: 9/16/99
Venue: New York Supreme
Plaintiff Attorney: Eric M. Turkewitz, Manhattan
This action settled during jury selection for a lump sum payment of $ 975,000. On 10/3/96, the 79-year-old Plaintiff, who suffered from arthritis, had a total knee replacement performed at Defendant Hospital. During the procedure, a surgical drain was left in place to permit draining, and was removed post-operatively. Plaintiff had a poor recovery and did not progress as anticipated. On 11/18/96, she presented to another hospital, where an X-ray revealed that a portion of the surgical drain had been left in her knee. Plaintiff returned to Defendant Hospital on 11/21/96 for surgery to remove the drain, and was thereafter found to have an infection in her knee.
Plaintiff was readmitted to Defendant Hospital on 2/17/97 with a dislocated knee, and, due to the continuing infection, a third surgery was performed to remove the knee prosthesis. On 3/18/97, Plaintiff s leg was fused due to the inability to replace the prosthesis. Plaintiff was eventually sent to Goldwater Hospital, where she remained from 7/11/97 until 4/3/98. She is presently confined to her bed and receives home health care. Plaintiff has been unable to walk, although she can stand for brief periods when assisted.
Plaintiff would have contended that Defendants negligently left a portion of the drain behind and failed to take post-operative X-rays when she did not progress as expected. Plaintiff would have claimed that the X-rays would have revealed the drain before the infection could occur. Defendants would have disputed that the drain was the proximate cause of the infection, and would have contended that such an infection was a risk associated with the procedure. Plaintiff s depositions were videotaped due to her age, and a Day in the Life video was prepared to show to the jury.
[Attorney’s Note: Plaintiff’s counsel also negotiated $40,000 reduction of a medical lien, so that the total recovery to the plaintiff was $1,015,000.]
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