Knee Replacement Medical Malpractice

Ferguson v. Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

Knee surgeryThis is a medical malpractice lawsuit stemming from a failed total knee replacement surgery. The defendant is the plaintiff's orthopedic surgeon and Sinai Hospital.  Medical malpractice cases in Maryland must first be filed in Health Claims Arbitration. This claim was filed in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office on January 5th, 2018. This is the fifth medical malpractice suit filed in the state of Maryland in 2018.

Medical malpractice suits that arise after a botched surgery are not uncommon. Given the complexity of a total knee replacement procedure, there is always a risk of hardware failure or another issue. Reasons for knee replacement failure can include loosening of the hardware, a fracture near the implant or an infection. Here, the alleged reason for the hardware failure is negligence during the surgery and a delayed diagnosis.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

In November 2013, the plaintiff falls while exiting a bus and injures his left knee. Roughly two years later, the plaintiff undergoes a total knee replacement procedure at a Baltimore hospital. After he is discharged from the hospital, the plaintiff experiences persistent knee pain. The plaintiff consults with his treating orthopedic surgeon two weeks after the surgery, who assures him the pain will go away with physical therapy. Eventually, the plaintiff seeks a second opinion and is told that the left knee hardware is misaligned. The plaintiff undergoes revision surgery a by another surgeon to replace the original hardware approximately two years after the initiate total knee replacement. Although the artificial knee now functions properly, the plaintiff claims the malfunction left him with permanent physical injuries.

Case Analysis
  • The lawsuit alleges no independent negligence Sinai Hospital but claims the surgeon was an employee, agent, or servant of the hospital. We are unclear as to whether this claim will stick.

  • The key to the case will be if the surgeon who provided the second opinion and will agree to be an expert for the patient. Lawsuits against the knee replacement surgeon are tough. Having the subsequent treating doctor as an expert would significantly level the playing field.

  • Another huge issue here is going to be the post-operative films. What did they show? Do they show a striking misalignment of victim's leg.

  • The complaint doesn't get into detail about how exactly the hardware became misaligned. In a lot of these cases, the surgeon fails to properly measure and record the degree of deformity in patient's knee preoperatively. The result is the surgeon miscalculates how much bone to cut and at what angle to cut the bone.

  • The complaint also claims permanent injuries related to the misaligned hardware but doesn't specify what kind of injuries. The extent of these permanent issues and their impact on the plaintiff's life will be a major point of contention if this goes to trial. The key is going to be whether there is clear expert testimony on what the patient's outcome would have been if the surgery had been performed correctly the first time. There is no question there is harm done by the need for a second surgery. The question is whether an expert can clearly articulate what that harm is in this particular case.

Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses

Unknown at this time.

Alleged Negligence
  • Defendant failed to properly perform total knee replacement procedure, resulting in misaligned hardware.

  • Defendant ignored plaintiff's pain complaints from the misaligned hardware, causing him severe pain.

  • Defendant failed to diagnose the misaligned hardware until several months after the knee replacement surgery, resulting in permanent injury to the knee.

Defendants

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Inc. and an orthopedic surgeon

Jurisdiction

Baltimore City District Court

Similar Cases See Also
  • Knee Injury Settlements and Verdicts
  • Hip Replacement
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