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Elbow surgery without benefit of Nerve Specialist Consult

Failure to consult a neurologist or neurosurgeon prior to joint surgery can do great damage. One such case resulted in a settlement of $675,000 to the Plaintiff.

In this medical malpractice case a man in his mid-forties sought treatment for persistent pain in and around the right elbow. Plaintiff was right hand dominant. Efforts to treat the elbow with physical therapy and with anti-inflammatory drugs and injections had been unsuccessful. Plaintiff also reported a Joint surgery without nerve repair consult -- Altizer Lawmass near the elbow that had grown in size.

The defendant (doctor) ordered an MRI which indicated:

  • A bone spur
  • Ulnar nerve inflammation
  • Inflammation to the surrounding soft tissue of the elbow (often called “tennis elbow’).

In light of the MRI, defendant recommended surgery to the elbow. The proposed surgery was to remove the mass, remove bone spurs, and perform an arthroscopic epicondylar debridement. The surgery was performed, in which the doctor removed a benign fatty mass, debrided the tissues surrounding the joint, performed a decompression of the ulnar nerve, and removed a bone spur.

When the arthroscopic instruments were removed from the area, the defendant (doctor) noticed that the ulnar nerve had been completely cut. The doctor proceeded to repair the severed nerve. This effort to repair was unsuccessful. After this surgery, plaintiff continued to have pain and numbness in the right arm and wrist. Plaintiff reported little, if any, improvement.

Due to the failure of the surgery and continuation of pain and numbness, plaintiff sought consultation with a nerve repair specialist. Nerve repair surgery was performed approximately four months after the original surgery. The repair surgery restored nerve function and use of the arm and wrist. Despite the relative success of the repair surgery, plaintiff was left with some permanent damage and limitation of use of plaintiff’s arm.

Plaintiff and attorneys filed suit on the grounds that the defendant doctor should have called for the assistance of a nerve repair specialist when the severed nerve was noticed, rather than attempting the repair at the time.

The case was settled in mediation. Plaintiff was awarded a financial settlement of $675,000.

Unfortunately, medical and surgical decisions are made every day that lead to unexpected and ultimately harmful results. When these decisions occur, the harmed patients’ may have recourse to the court system to obtain an appropriate financial settlement.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by the negligence or error of a medical provider, you may be entitled to financial compensation. If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed, call the trusted attorneys of Altizer Law, P.C. Our experienced team is ready to help you seek a settlement that will help you move forward. Call today. One of our attorneys will be happy to talk with you to evaluate the event that caused harm and the feasibility of civil action to recover full and appropriate financial compensation.



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