Essex County Surgical Nerve Damage Suit Results in $1.2 Million Verdict
A medical malpractice case in Essex County, New Jersey resulted in a $1.2 million verdict after a teenage girl suffered severe nerve damage during surgery.
The victim in this case, Samantha Alpert, was in high school when she underwent surgery for a bone growth in her left leg. Samantha, now 22-years-old, was an all-state tennis player at the time. Her orthopedic surgeon, Steven Robbins of the Center for Orthopedics in West Orange, was removing the bone growth for a biopsy.
Generally, a surgeon, cardiologist, or interventional radiologist will perform a biopsy, removing a small sample of cells or tissues to confirm or evaluate a patient who may be suffering from a disease. In this case, Dr. Robbins performed the surgery to determine if the bone growth was cancerous. During the procedure, the doctor partially severed Samatha’s sathenous nerve. As a result, she was bound to a wheelchair and could no longer play tennis. Now, she suffers from numbness, tingling, and pain from her left knee down to her ankle. Although able to walk, she can no longer run.
After filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and taking the case to trial, a jury in Essex County Superior Court decided in favor of the plaintiff. They jury determined Robbins was negligent for performing unnecessary surgery and for failing to obtain informed consent from Samantha and her parents. The jury awarded $1.2 million in damages.
Medical Negligence and Surgery
This case illustrates the variety of ways in which victims can suffer harm at the hands of negligent doctors and other medical professionals. Medical errors and failures to provide an acceptable standard of care can occur before, during, and after a single surgery or procedure. From the moment a patient consults a doctor about their symptoms, failure to conduct a thorough examination or take a comprehensive medical history can lead to patient harm. Whether the doctor misdiagnoses the condition or fails to diagnose it at all, the patient often remains unaware until they experience more serious complications.
In the same way, moving forward with a procedure that is unnecessary can place the patient at undue risk. Moreover, errors during surgery can lead to a host of potentially permanent or even life-threatening consequences. Severing a nerve is just one example of the myriad potential outcomes of surgical errors. In fact, mistakes during surgery may lead to damage of the tissues, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or organs surrounding the surgical site.
Surgical Nerve Damage
Nerves are often particularly vulnerable to damage during surgery because they are vast in number and connected with so many body parts and bodily functions. It is often helpful to think of the nerves as a highly complex, interconnected network of fibers that travel throughout the body like strings. Similar to a web, these strings communicate with brain, other parts of the body, and sometimes with each other. When one of the strings is damaged, it often interrupts a vital link in the chain.
A surgery provides many opportunities for nerve damage, as foreign instruments, hands, and other devices are inserted and moved around inside the body. If a scalpel, surgical tool, or even the patient’s positioning causes nerve damage, the results can be permanent. As is evidenced by this case, damage to a single nerve can lead to impairment for the entire limb it assists with functioning. When surgical negligence leads to nerve damage, the victim has the right to pursue compensation for damages. This includes medical expenses, rehabilitative treatment, pain and suffering, and more.
If you suffered nerve damage due to surgical malpractice in New Jersey, contact our attorneys to learn more about your rights. Simply call (973)-435-4551 for a free consultation.
For additional information related to this case, access the following article: Suits & Deals: Nerve Damage During Surgery Leads to $1.2M Verdict