They took the wrong knee in the operating room: a clinic, a doctor and the insurance company are condemned for malpractice

They took the wrong knee in the operating room: a clinic, a doctor and the insurance company are condemned for malpractice
They took the wrong knee in the operating room: a clinic, a doctor and the insurance company are condemned for malpractice

Inside the operating room, the traumatologist operated on his left leg, but it turned out that the knee fracture was on the right side, which remained without a cure (Shutterstock)

He was 50 years old when he had surgery on the wrong knee. It happened in a Buenos Aires clinic where he arrived urgently, transferred by ambulance from a care center in the Buenos Aires town of Saladillo. He was a driver and had been hit by a motorist when he was unloading his passengers’ luggage from a van. Inside the operating room, the traumatologist operated on his left leg, but it turned out that the knee fracture was on the right side, which was left without a cure, as determined by the court case.

When he filed the complaint, the patient said that when he woke up from anesthesia after several hours in his room and “to his great surprise” he noticed that his damaged knee was the same as before and that they had operated on the other one, in which he had no the slightest ailment. The fractured “had not been touched.” The operated one was the only healthy lower limb that she had. and allowed him to move around a little after the accident. Now he had two screws there.

The Court sentenced the clinic, the doctor who operated on him, and the insurance company to compensate his heirs for the malpractice. that he suffered in May 2015 and for moral damage. The driver died in 2022 without seeing the end of the lawsuit for damages that he started in 2018 in search of some reparation. He spent the last years of his life with difficulties walking normally due to the unnecessary intervention of the healthy limb and the lack of timely cure for the affected person, the sentence determined.

In their defense, the defendants argued that the patient was questioned in the operating room about which of his knees needed surgery and he said “the left one.” That’s why he prepared it for surgery on that side. They also claimed that there was an error in the medical history, where the wrong leg was recorded.

For medical reasons and already in the operating room “it was decided to intervene on the left knee, within the margins of medical discretion, without which the error recorded in the HC would have caused damage to the health” of the patient, the defendants explained.

But an expert report ordered in the case determined that until the surgical report on the day of the operation, both in the clinical history of the Saladillo hospital and in that of the Buenos Aires healthcare center, “the left knee is never mentioned, nor are complementary studies requested to evaluate it.” “There is no mention at any time of a fracture of the left knee, prior to the day of the operation, nor of its symptoms, nor of studies requested to evaluate its integrity,” it was noted.

The expert explained that “surgical intervention, of any type in a healthy joint, brings unnecessary risks, namely: infection, stiffness, pain, loosening and protrusion of the material.” The surgery was performed on the wrong knee. Added to this was the omission of timely surgical treatment for which she was injured. He became “unstable” and as a result there was a rapid progression of a degenerative process that inevitably led to a “total replacement of the joint in question.”

medical fault

There has been malpractice in medical care during the operation performed on the patient’s left knee and in the omission to treat the right, the ruling said (Illustrative Image Infobae)

The National Civil Chamber has just confirmed the conviction for malpractice based on the accumulated evidence of everything that happened to the victim after suffering that work accident. “Deficiencies in the preparation of the clinical history result in detriment to the professional and the sanatorium entity,” the ruling interpreted. What is stated in that document and the opinion of a traumatologist appointed ex officio for the expert opinion “does not admit anything but conclude that there has been “malpractice” in medical care during the operation performed on the patient’s left knee and in the omission to treat the right knee. There was medical fault, concluded Judge Lorena Maggio and her Court of Appeals peers Roberto Parrilli and Claudio Ramos Feijoo.

First, the healthcare professional placed two screws in the left knee. Since the driver suffered the accident and until the moment he entered the operating room, there was no record of problems in that knee. He always noticed the fracture he suffered on his right side.

Second, he omitted “the surgical treatment of reduction and osteosynthesis indicated with respect to the other knee – the right one – to resolve the fracture of the tibial plateau that was confirmed there from the initial medical care (evidenced in the pain and functional impotence that the patient presented). , and confirmed by the x-rays and tomography performed on that lower limb.” The latter “exhibited an ongoing osteoarthritis process” and the professional “could not ignore that, if he did not operate on it, the osteoarthritis would progress until requiring surgery. joint replacement.” There was a “loss of chance to avoid – or, at least, postpone until an older age – the need for this arthroplasty.”

Since the operation, records did begin in the medical history about the evolution of the left knee and the “follow-up of the fracture in the other knee.” In fact, the same surgeon now sentenced to compensate the family wrote “the need for the same act on the right will be evaluated,” something that ultimately did not happen. The patient was discharged with both legs immobilized, needing a wheelchair and therapeutic support.

 
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