As Published In
Settlement: Xxxxx Xxxxxx v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. XXXXX/86
Date of Settlement: 11/21/91
Venue: New York Supreme
Plaintiff Attorney: Eric Turkewitz for Raymond B. Schwartzberg, Manhattan
This action, which settled after 2 weeks of jury selection for a lump sum of $1,490,000, was for a 58-year-old cab driver who required an amputation of his right leg after an attempted aorto-femoral bypass operation.
Plaintiff had a history of peripheral vascular disease in the left leg. On 9/19/84, Defendant’s doctors attempted the aorto-femoral bypass to pass an occluded iliac artery, supposedly on the left leg. The surgery was abandoned midway.
Much of Plaintiff’s medical documentation was missing from his medical file, and there was no record as to why the surgery was stopped. Defendant contended that the surgery was stopped because Plaintiff’s arteries were not pliable enough, but portions of the operative report had vanished.
Plaintiff claimed that he awoke from anesthesia to find his right leg cold and numb. He also contended that he had operative incisions on the right leg as well as the left leg.
Plaintiff contended that Defendant did not inform him that he would require surgery on both legs. The day after the first surgery, an embolectomy was performed to remove clots and occlusions in the right leg. His leg regained some color, but later became numb and swollen.
On 9/21/84, a fasciotomy was performed to release pressure on the muscles. Some warmth returned to the leg, but again became cold, numb, and swollen. After about 4 days, Plaintiff’s leg became gangrenous. Plaintiff claimed that no attempt to revascularize the leg was made.
His right leg was amputated above the knee during emergency surgery at a Veteran’s Administration hospital, and Plaintiff was fitted with a prosthetic limb. Plaintiff has since undergone bypasses on the left leg, and he claimed that he may require an amputation of that leg as well.
Plaintiff contended that Defendant was negligent for failing to attempt to revascularize his right leg. Plaintiff also claimed that much of the medical documentation was missing from his files, including the progress notes for the 5 days following the aorto-femoral bypass, the doctor’s order sheets, the second half of the bypass operative notes, the fasciotomy operative report, and the results of 21 angiograms.
Plaintiff claimed that the angiograms were only performed before the surgery, before the clots began to form, not after the surgery, a departure from customary medical practice. Plaintiff also claimed that his attending physician at the bypass surgery left on a 4-day vacation after the surgery. This doctor claimed that he left an attendee in charge of Plaintiff’s case. The attendee maintained that Plaintiff was under the care of the entire department.