The plaintiff injured his left elbow when he fell after his scooter struck a hole in a residential street. The following day, he came under the care of the defendant, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, who performed surgery. Following the surgery, the plaintiff was casted. Approximately six weeks later, when the cast was removed, the plaintiff had little range of motion in the left elbow joint. Within weeks, the joint completely froze. After visiting several orthopedic surgeons in New York City for second opinions, the plaintiff was advised that he required major reconstructive surgery because his left elbow fractures healed in a place higher than their original location.
Suit was filed against the defendant physician and two entities who had responsibilities related to maintaining the street where the accident occurred. The case was litigate for three years and it involved complex issues of causation and apportionment of responsibility.
The plaintiff’s medical expert opined that the elbow fractures healed in the wrong position because they were pinned in the wrong place by the defendant during the surgery. The expert further opined that if the defendant had performed the surgery appropriately, the plaintiff would have been left with a functioning pain-free left elbow, with minimal loss of motion. The defendants argued that the fractures were pinned correctly, but drifted following the removal of the surgical pins six weeks later.
Despite undergoing multiple surgeries to correct the malaligned joint, the plaintiff is left with a 30% functioning left elbow.
Partners John Ratkowitz and Amos Gern settled the case following jury selection prior to opening arguments.