On October 27, 2017, a Maine medical malpractice jury awarded $2 million to the plaintiff in his medical malpractice lawsuit against his hand surgeon and the hospital where he had his hand surgery. The plaintiff’s Maine medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant hand surgeon had breached the applicable standard of care in failing to properly insert a screw in his hand during the surgery, causing him serious injury and requiring additional surgeries.
The 49-year-old plaintiff had fractured his right wrist on July 17, 2013 when a kayak fell on him at his place of employment. The man, a boat builder, had to have surgery on his hand a few months later that was performed by the defendant hand surgeon. As a result of the alleged medical negligence of the defendant hand surgeon, the man had to have three follow-up surgeries that were performed by another hand surgeon.
As a result of the alleged medical negligence, the man is unable to use his right hand at his place of employment, where he has worked since 1989. The plaintiff is right-handed.
The plaintiff filed his Maine medical malpractice lawsuit in 2015, seeking compensatory damages for his loss of income, his disfigurement, and the impairment he suffered.
The Maine medical malpractice jury trial lasted four days after which the nine-person jury deliberated for about two hours before reaching its $2 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
While the plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer praised the jury’s verdict, the defense attorney stated after the verdict was rendered that the defendants “were disappointed in the result”: “Both [the defendant hand surgeon] and [the defendant hospital] felt that [the plaintiff] was provided good medical care in the course of treating a fracture which can be very difficult to resolve. Each side presented expert testimony from surgeons who chair the orthopedic hand surgery departments at major medical centers in the Boston area. Both respect each other’s opinions, but, as can sometimes be the case in medicine, they had differing opinions regarding how to address this difficult fracture. Clearly the jury accepted the testimony of [the plaintiff’s] expert witness in reaching the verdict.”
Wrong Site Hand Surgery
It has been reported that JCAHO has identified orthopedic surgery as the specialty with the greatest number of wrong-site procedures. A blind survey mailed to members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH)) conducted in 2003 found that 21% of hand surgeons admit to performing wrong-site surgery, thereby leading to hand surgery being a high-risk specialty for wrong site operations. This finding may be partially explained by the nature of orthopedic surgery as a high operative volume specialty requiring frequent use of technical equipment with symmetrical surgical sites (right versus left). The most predominant causative factor in wrong-site surgery is the surgical team noncompliance with the universal protocol.
If you or a family member suffered harm as a result of surgical malpractice in Maine or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Maine medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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