$5.7 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST MONTEFIORE HOSPITAL: OVERUSE OF SPLINTS CAUSES PERMANENT DAMAGE TO PATIENT

By: Kelda Doherty

Damon Patterson, a 17 year old patient, who underwent surgery at the Bronx's Montefiore Medical Center for removal of a cancerous portion of his mandible, sued Montefiore Medical Center for failing to render proper post-surgical treatment which he alleged constituted medical malpractice. A jury recently reached a verdict finding that the hospital's medical staff had departed from an accepted standard of medical care and determined that Patterson's damages reached $5.7 million. $700,000 was allotted for past pain and suffering and $5,000,000 for future pain and suffering.

A splint and wrapping was applied to the patient's right leg after skin was grafted from the area to help reconstruct the patients jaw. On removal of the splint, doctors discovered two ulcers also known as "bedsores" or "pressure sores." Mr. Patterson was required to undergo extensive painful care including debridement and physical therapy. He suffered permanent tendon and nerve damage, limiting him physically and interrupting his chemotherapy treatment.

A wound-care expert specified that when using splints hospital staff must adhere to certain protocols ensuring that any pressure points must be relieved, the leg must be kept constantly elevated, and the splint needs to be removed daily, yet medical records indicated that Patterson's right leg was not given this treatment. At Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP, we have a medical malpractice team quite familiar with litigation against Montefiore in the Bronx Supreme Court.

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