Plaintiff, male, 65 years old, presented to Palos Community Hospital on April 29, 2011 for a total left hip arthroplasty. The defendants, an orthopedic surgeon and his corporation, performed the procedure using the direct anterior approach. During the procedure, the defendant surgeon exited the femoral canal with a broach and perforated the posterior aspect of the femur. The surgeon identified the perforation on a C-arm image, re-directed down the femoral canal and finished the left total hip arthroplasty. Following the procedure, the defendant surgeon documented the perforation in his operative report and informed the patient and the family immediately following surgery. Thereafter, the plaintiff was found to have a left sciatic nerve palsy.
The plaintiff argued that defendant surgeon utilized an improper surgical technique and deviated from the standard of care by improperly broaching through the femur and injuring the plaintiff’s sciatic nerve. The plaintiff claimed that the surgeon’s deviation caused him to have a permanent foot drop, as well as permanent pain and loss of sensation. The defense argued that perforation of the femoral canal is a known complication and risk in utilizing the direct anterior approach during a left total hip arthroplasty, which can result in a sciatic nerve injury.
Plaintiff asked the jury to award $2.3 million in damages. The jury deliberated for an hour and a half before returning a verdict for the defendants.