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Case Studies

Wrong Side Implant Concealed by Hospital and Doctor

Susan Smith ( not actual name) needed a total knee replacement in her left knee. During surgery, the physician and the medical device salesman negligently put a right knee implant into Susan’s left knee. The hospital staff, physician and medical device representative discovered the error while Susan was in the recovery room but conspired to keep the error a secret from the patient. Susan hired Gloria Seidule without knowing the health care providers had concealed the error. Ms. Seidule discovered the cover-up during litigation leading to a settlement to compensate her client for her permanent injuries.

In litigation, Ms. Seidule found that shortly after the surgery, Susan had severe problems with her knee caused by the wrong side implant in her knee. The physician recommended another surgery to her intentionally failing to disclose why she needed the second surgery. During the second surgery, the surgeon attempted to remove the knee implant without informing his patient in an effort to cover-up his error. This surgery failed, and Susan was still unable to walk or use her knee without knowing why the implant had failed. Hospital staff, the surgeon and the medical device salesman still had not informed the patient of this egregious error.  Finally, the surgeon told Susan that he had placed the wrong implant into her knee. Susan was eventually transferred to another hospital with another surgeon who resumed her care and performed another surgery. Unfortunately, due to this negligence, Susan will have to use a walker for the rest of her life.

Ms. Seidule found that the hospital failed to use a time-out procedure before cementing the implant onto plaintiff’s leg. This time-out procedure requires all people in the operating room take a time-out to confirm the correct implant was being used.  Ms. Seidule also discovered the surgeon had been previously disciplined in another state for failing to accurately document the medical records of his patient. Ms. Seidule also alleged the hospital failed to take correct action when it learned of the surgical error allowing the patient to undergo surgery without being informed of this terrible medical error.

The case was amicably settled before trial and is confidential.  Susan will never be able to repair her knee, but the settlement will allow her to pay for future care, medical needs and compensate her for having to live the rest of her life without a functioning knee.

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