Defense Verdict- Unecessary & Unsterile Foot Surgery (KY)

A  62 year old women  underwent a surgery  by her podiatrist on her ankle in 2004 to remove a cyst. It was performed by a podiatrist. Several weeks later at a post op visit, the defendant had removed the sutures. Plaintiff recalled that the defendant droped the instrument used to remove the sutures on the floor and then continued to use it without cleaning. At a following visit, there were signs of  infection. Shortly thereafter plaintiff was admitted to a hospital with a diagnosis of infection. Plaintiff  underwent a surgery for a skin graft.

Plaintiff alleged that  the surgery was not needed and that the defendant operated in a surgical enviornment and there was  a delay by the defendant in sending her to the hospital.
The podiatrist-defendant contended that the surgery was proper. He also argued that while there was an infection complication,  he responded to it properly and it was managed.

A defense verdict was entered and there was no recovery by the plaintiff.

Experts: David Widom, DPM,  Alan Catanzariti, DPM, Pittsburgh, PA

$750,000 Verdict - Failure To Obtain Informed Consent For Foot Surgery (NY)

A damages-only case in New York involved the plaintiff's right to decide whether or not to receive additional medical treatment/surgical procedures to the feet, which established the podiatrists' duty to inform the patient (informed consent).

The plaintiff maintained that the two defendant podiatrists misrepresented her rights as to the nature of the surgery that they proposed to perform. She alleged that the surgeons did not obtain informed consent and that they negligently performed the surgeries, leaving her with a fused joint in her large and small toes, ataxic gait and ongoing pain and in her smaller toes, preventing her from walking properly, enjoy jogging, and race walking, as she once did, and to live a pain-free life.

The trial lasted three days and the trial judge entered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. He awarded her $ 250, 000 for past pain and suffering and $ 500,000 for future pain and suffering, for a total award of $ 750,000.

Source: Jury Verdict Review Publications, Volume 16, Issue 11 [PM NEWS]



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$8.1 Million Verdict for Lost Cancer Biopsy Specimen (IN)

Eric and Renee Flora felt reassured in the spring of 2004 when a local podiatrist removed a growth from her big toe and life for the New Carlisle couple returned to normal.

But when the growth resurfaced a year later, they received some frightening news. Renee Flora, a then 33-year-old nurse's aide and mother of two young girls, had malignant melanoma.

A St. Joseph Superior Court jury has found podiatrist Dr. W. Douglas Kolmodin liable for medical malpractice, concluding that Renee Flora's odds at beating the cancer were greatly reduced because he failed to have tissue from the excised growth tested for cancer.

Now in stage three of the cancer, she has just a 17 percent chance of living another 12 years, according to national cancer statistics, said her attorney, Rob Gonderman.

After a five-day trial last week, the jury awarded the Floras more than $8.1 million in damages.

The couple declined to comment on the verdict, as did Kolmodin.

Kolmodin's attorneys, W. Todd Woelfer and Georgianne Walker, did not return calls seeking comment.

During the trial and in sworn affidavits contained in court records, the Floras testified they saw Kolmodin place the lesion in a container, and he told them he would send it for testing.

That was the last day Kolmodin practiced in his office at 711 W. McKinley Ave. During the firm's move several days later to a building in the Edison Lakes area in Mishawaka, the specimen was apparently lost, Gonderman said.

Kolmodin, 37, testified in a deposition that a local boy's baseball team helped with the move, partly to show their gratitude for a donation he had made to the team.

Kolmodin denied the specimen was lost, according to court records. Rather, he said, it disintegrated upon removal, and there was nothing left to have tested. However, the three podiatrists who reviewed the case for the Indiana Department of Insurance concluded there should have been enough tissue for the test, Gonderman said.

Gonderman said he was pleased with the verdict, but noted he has a long fight ahead in trying to recover the damages.

Fortunately for the Floras, Gonderman said, it appears Kolmodin's former practice, Northern Indiana Foot & Ankle Associates, had failed to participate in the state program that caps malpractice damages at $1.25 million for all care providers involved in a case.

Kolmodin will be shielded by Indiana's $250,000 damages cap against individual doctors under the law.

Gonderman said Northern Indiana Foot & Ankle Associates' status is unclear. Kolmodin now works for South Bend Clinic, which has acquired the firm, Kolmodin testified at trial.

South Bend Tribune [2/24/08]

Podiatry Settlement: Failure To Timely Diagnose Charcot's Joints in Diabetic Patient (NJ)

The plaintiff in her late 50s, a diabetic with peripheral neuropathy, contended that clinical signs including deformations in the bone, the collapse of the arch, an increase in pain and swelling and redness, should have led to a timely diagnosis of Charcot's joints, a degenerative condition that can result in the breakdown of bones and tissues of the foot. The plaintiff also contended, that she was sent for a bone scan three to four months later and that the defendant should have realized that early stages of the condition were evident. The plaintiff maintained that if diagnosed after the bone scan, more conservative treatment modalities such as the use of a total contact cast would probably have enabled the condition to resolve in the absence of surgery and the implantation of hardware which will permanently cause increased pain and difficulties ambulating.

The defendant maintained that the clinical signs prior to the bone scan were consistent with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy and denied that the failure to diagnose the condition this time constituted a deviation.

The defendant also contended that he recognized the early stages of the condition after the bone scan was taken and acted appropriately by prescribing a walking boot and referring her to her family physician. The plaintiff underwent the surgery approximately one year later.

Result: $ 300,000 Settlement

Source: Jury Verdict Review Publications, Volume 29, Issue 2 [PM News]

Defense Verdict: failure to diagnose and treat 5th metatarsal non union (PA)

The plaintiff was a women in her late 30s who underwent surgery performed by the defendant to treat a bunion. The surgery involved cutting and moving the bone of the fifth metatarsal.  The plaintiff complained of continuing persistent foot pain.The plaintiff underwent additional surgery performed by another podiatrist.

She had alleged that the defendant podiatrist was negligent by failing to diagnose and treat a fifth metatarsal non union following the performance of bunion surgery.  Specifically that the defendant failed to timely diagnose and treat a non-union which, if timely diagnosed, would have permitted non-surgical treatment. he defendant argued that the plaintiff was still in the post operative recovery stage when she elected to seek treatment from another podiatrist.  The defendant contended that he had no opportunity to diagnose the plaintiff's non-union.

The defendant's expert  podiatrist Michael Downey, DPM had  testified that the plaintiff was still within the healing phase of her recovery when she chose to treat with another physician some six months after surgery. The non-union was diagnosed by the subsequent treating podiatrist and the defendant maintained that he had no opportunity to diagnose the condition.

Result: The jury found that the defendant was not negligent ($0).

Source: Jury Verdict Review Publications, Volume 16, Issue 10 (PM NEWS)

Podiatrist Defense Verdict: Diabetic Foot Ulcer (IN)

From November 1996 to February 2000  defendant podiatrist had treated Ronald Vice in connection with diabetic foot ulcers. Vice alleged that defendant’s lack of treatment, patient education and diagnostic studies  led to bilateral, below-the-knee amputations.

The plaintiffs alleged that defendant failed to recognize the seriousness of a diabetic foot ulcer, and refer the patient to a vascular surgeon, order vascular and arterial pressure studies and make proper assessments of right foot wounds while attempting to treat the left foot. Other allegations included failures to order antibiotics, blood work, x-rays, MRIs, bone scan, CBC, metabolic panel, sedimentation rate and serum protein with albumin; moreover, the plaintiffs asserted that defendant had failed to hospitalize plaintiff, and inform him of the seriousness of potential leg loss. The plaintiffs further argued defendant failed to perform incision and drainage procedures with deep debridement and order bone and soft tissue biopsies and wound cultures.

According to a medical review panel opinion dated Feb. 10, 2003, the medical review panel found evidence supported the conclusion that defendant had failed to meet the appropriate standard of care as charged in the plaintiffs' complaint. However, the panel found defendant's conduct was not a factor in the plaintiffs' resulting damages. Moreover, the panel determined evidence did not support the conclusion defendant had failed to meet the appropriate standard of care.

In their answer, the defendants generally denied the plaintiffs' allegations. By way of affirmative defense, the defendants argued Vice had been contributorily negligent and had incurred the risk of a known danger. The podiatrist, in denying negligence, asserted Vice had suffered from several other medical conditions besides foot ulcers, including uncontrolled diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension, renal insufficiency and peripheral vascular disease. Defendant contended her care and treatment met or exceeded the applicable standard of care in all respects.

Result: Defendant’s verdict

Plaintiff’s Experts: Stephen G. Lalka, MD; Michael A. Salcedo, DPM, South Bend, IN; Robert E. Clemency, MD, South Bend, IN.; Sheree L. Peglow, MD, South Bend, IN; Stephen F. Mitros, MD, South Bend, IN; Charles E. Petersen, MD, South Bend, IN; R. Gregory Credi, MD, South Bend, IN.

Defendant’s Experts: Maria F. Curfman, MD, Fort Wayne, IN; Bruce L. Gewertz, MD, Los Angeles, CA; Michelle Cervin, DO, South Bend, IN; Daniel E. Scherb, MD, South Bend, IN; Frank C. Toepp, DPM, South Bend, IN; Jeff Niespodziany, DPM, Mishawaka, IN; Theodore A. Vorenkamp, DPM, South Bend, IN; Brian Rolfe, DPM, South Bend, IN; William Fox, DPM, Niles, MI; Nelson Worden, DPM, Mishawaka, IN; John Grady, DPM, Oak Lawn, IL, Thomas Wicks, DPM, New Castle, IN; Richard M. Hilker, DPM, Fort Wayne, IN.; Randolph J. Ferlic, MD, South Bend, IN; Bruce J. Brincko, DPM, Knox, IN.

Source: West's Jury Verdicts - Indiana Reports

$3.5 Million Dollar Verdict- CRPS and Partial Foot Amputation (VA)

A jury in Virginia has entered a $3.5 million verdict in favor of Donita Franklin who sued her foot doctor, podiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Feeny,  over a 2003 surgery that she says caused incurable chronic pain  (crps) and led to the amputation of the front of her right foot.

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Podiatrist sentenced to five years of probation for phony painkiller prescription scheme (PA)

Stuart Deitcher, D.P.M., a podiatrist from Reading, Pennsylvania was sentenced to five year of probation for writing  phony prescriptions to obtain painkillers for himself.

Dr. Deitcher’s license to practice podiatric medicine has been suspended, and according to his attorney his licensee status will come  before a state review board.

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Unnecessary Podiatric Bunion Surgery (Hohmann Osteotomy) to Treat Bunion $400,000 Settlement (IL)

A female plaintiff alleged that the podiatrist-defendant had deviated from the podiatric standard of care by performing a Hohmann osteotomy that involved cutting through the right great toe bone to treat the plaintiff's mild bunion. The plaintiff also contended that the defendant was negligent by advising the patient that she could partially bare weight on the foot  four days following the surgery.

The plaintiff maintained that based on pre-operative X-rays and findings, a Hohmann osteotomy was not indicated since the pre-operative intermetatarsal angle was nine degrees which was normal.  It was further contended that the technique used to fixate the bones was unstable resulting in a malunion and hallux elevatus (elevation) along with shortening of the toe and of the foot. Continue Reading...

$2M Verdict For PA Man has Corn Removed, Loses Both Legs (Pennsylvania)

A jury has awarded more than $2 million to a man who had a corn removed from his toe and ultimately lost both legs after a series of infections. Donald Davis Sr., 59, of North Wales, Montgomery County, sued Pottstown podiatrist Therese M. Rinaldi, who removed the corn. Davis, who had circulation problems, developed an infection, gangrene and then a staph infection after the corn was removed. He was later treated for sores on both legs. Doctors ultimately decided to amputate his left leg above the knee and his right leg below the knee.

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Alleged Misdiagnosis - Cancer Wrongful Death (Michigan)

FACTS: The estate of a patient who died from a rare form of cancer alleged the man's death was due to negligence of the man's treating podiatrist. Plaintiff claimed defendant violated the standard of care, but the jury disagreed with that argument and returned a verdict in favor of defendant.

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Alleged Failure to Order Bone Density Test (New Jersey)

Facts: The female plaintiff in her late 20s had received overlapping treatment from the three defendants, including an internist, podiatrist and ob/gyn, with the ob/gyn seeing her last. The plaintiff contended that despite the weight of the 5 ft. 5 in. tall plaintiff, which dropped as low as 101 lbs., frequent rigorous exercise, the loss of her period and the suffering of two stress fractures to the feet, the defendants negligently failed to consider that the plaintiff might be suffering from an eating disorder.

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Alleged Failure To Properly Perform Removal of Neuroma on Foot (New York)

In this medical malpractice case, the female plaintiff contended that the defendant podiatrist negligently failed to properly diagnose and treat a lump in her foot. The plaintiff also maintained that the defendant failed to perform an MRI prior to surgery, resulting in the defendant allegedly failing to completely excise the mass during the surgical removal of the neuroma. Continue Reading...