Plaintiff v. Defendant Orthopedic Surgeon and Group

Synopsis:

DBMS secured a verdict for the defense in a case in which an orthopedic surgeon and his group were accused of inappropriately performing a hip replacement procedure.

The plaintiff, a 51-year-old male, had experienced ongoing hip pain before the defendant surgeon performed a left total hip replacement in May 2013. During the hip replacement procedure, the defendant among other things placed a metal cup, secured by two screws, into the plaintiff’s acetabulum (hip joint). Six weeks later, the plaintiff dislocated his hip while in the shower. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where another orthopedic surgeon put the hip back in place and discharged him.

Two days later, the plaintiff felt the hip dislocate again while lying in bed and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where his original surgery was performed. The defendant reviewed the x-rays and determined another surgery (a revision procedure) was needed to revise the hip placement. During the revision procedure, the defendant left the acetabular cup in place, but he increased the ball size from a 32-mm head to a 36-mm head and replaced the existing plastic liner on the cup with one that had an anterior lip. The plaintiff has since had no other dislocations.

The plaintiff contended that the dislocations occurred as a result of the cup being placed at too steep of an angle and turned too far forward (anteverted). The plaintiff testified that, despite the success of the revision procedure, he still has severe chronic left hip pain, is unable to work as a billboard painter and sometimes needs a cane to walk.  

DBMS maintained that the defendant placed the cup in an appropriate position; during the May 2013, the defendant confirmed through range-of-motion testing that was no impingement of the femoral stem on either the cup or hip bone. DBMS further argued that the ongoing left hip pain was caused by an irritated nerve in the plaintiff’s back.

The plaintiff asked for $899,000.  The jury was out for 45 minutes before returning a verdict in the defendants’ favor.