$3,300,000 Settlement for Surgical Error and Negligent Nursing

Carol Forte represented a woman in her 50s who had a hip replacement surgery at a local hospital by a general orthopedist. The surgeon felt that the procedure went well, and was unaware of any complications at the time the patient was sent to the recovery room. She remained in the recovery room for a number of hours, during which time the nurses documented that the color, temperature and pulse of her leg was normal. Upon arrival to the regular floor, an observant nurse realized that there was no pulse and our client’s leg was cold. She was taken back to the operating room where a vascular surgeon discovered that the femoral artery and the femoral vein had both been severed during the hip replacement. The blood vessels were repaired, but not before the patient suffered nerve damage. She was in the hospital for weeks and then in rehab, was left with a large defect in her leg, and a condition known as a “drop foot”, which requires her to wear a brace. The plaintiff claimed that the surgeon was negligent in the manner in which he performed the surgery, as this injury is not expected to occur in a hip replacement operation. The plaintiff also asserted that the nurses were negligent in their assessment of the patient’s condition because, with a severed artery and vein, the physical examination could not have been normal. The case settled for $3,300,000.