Popliteal Artery Amputation Lawsuit in Prince George's County

Williams v. Dimensions Health Corporation

Man Recovering After Knee SurgeryThis hospital malpractice lawsuit was filed by a man in Prince George's County after his legs were amputated due to the hospital staff failing to timely treat a popliteal artery injury. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on April 26, 2017 and it is the 196th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A man is admitted to Prince George's Hospital Center by ambulance following a motor vehicle crash. The EMS team documents the man's injuries as a dislocation/fracture of the right and left calves, and the bicep. The EMS teams contacts Prince George's Hospital Center with the man's injuries and designates it as a "Bravo" code, the second highest level of trauma.

A trauma surgeon is on duty at the hospital, but there is not an orthopedic or vascular surgeon called. Upon arrival at the hospital, the man's trauma status is updated to "Alpha," a higher level of trauma. After an examination, it is discovered that there is not a pulse going to the man's left leg. The first surgical procedure to address the pulseless left lower leg does not occur until four hours after the man has been admitted to the hospital. The doctor performs a bypass of the posterior tibial artery with a greater saphenous vein graft. The posterior tibial artery is the larger of the two branches from the popliteal artery.

The man is taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).The ICU staff notes that both of the man's legs are cold to touch upon arrival. The man's pulse to both legs is regularly checked. Over a period of ten days, the man returns multiple times to the operating room to address the viability of his legs. It is ultimately decided to transfer the man to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. After an examination, it is determined that both of the man's legs must be amputated.

Additional Comments
  • Many of these cases involve the failure to check for a pulse that would alert doctors to the need for an emergency procedure. We had a popliteal artery verdict in Baltimore City a few years ago for $5.2 million where the doctors in the emergency room at St. Agnes filed to diagnose the injury.
  • There is no expert report in this case which would shed more light on the details of plaintiff's case. But the argument is likely that the delay in treatment led to a loss of adequate circulation and oxygenation of the tissues in the leg which resulted in extensive necrosis of tissues in the leg. This is the type of injury that would lead to the need for amputation.
  • It is unclear who was at fault for the motorcycle accident. If the accident were the fault of the other driver, the claim for these injuries could also be filed against the driver. Practically, unless it is a trucking case, it is unlikely the other vehicle's insurance would cover the scope of this man's horrific injuries.
Jurisdiction
  • Prince George's County
Defendants
  • Dimensions Health Corporation
  • A cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon who has since moved of state
  • A general surgeon in Greenbelt
  • An orthopedic surgeon in Bethesda
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Prince George's Hospital Center
Negligence

Key claims:

  • Failed to timely notify a vascular surgeon
  • Failed to timely notify an orthopedic surgeon
  • Failing to timely provide treatment for Claimant's injuries
  • Failed to timely respond to trauma call
Specific Counts Pled
  • Medical Negligence
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • None at this time
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