Medical Malpractice - Surgeon leaves operating room, nerve damage

Injuries 
Failed fusion, permanent nerve damage.
Amount of Settlement
$1,250,000.00.
Date of Settlement
September 2004
Plaintiff's Lawyer
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone
Boston, Massachusetts
Details of the Case

On July 10, 2002, plaintiff underwent a spinal fusion surgery at Mount Auburn Hospital.  During the surgery, defendant physician left the hospital to cash a check at a bank in Harvard Square.  He was absent from the operating room for thirty-five minutes, during which time no qualified orthopedic surgeon was present in the room.  Upon his return from the bank, the defendant physician finished the procedure.

The following day, plaintiff noted significant neurological symptoms in his right lower leg.  That day, defendant was suspended from the staff at Mount Auburn Hospital.  No physician was appointed to take over plaintiff’s care.  As a result, no attention was directed to his apparent nerve injury.

Defendant was ultimately suspended from the practice of medicine for his gross indiscretion in leaving a patient under general anesthesia to visit the bank.  The announcement of his suspension garnered national news coverage.

Approximately one year later, plaintiff underwent a second spinal operation to remove the hardware, including displaced hardware.  Six months later, he underwent a third procedure to redo the fusion.

Plaintiff is left with a permanent right leg nerve injury which interferes with his ability to walk.  It should be noted that at the time of the original surgery, plaintiff was already on disability and workman’s compensation due to a longstanding back injury.  The case settled during the second day of mediation.


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David really cared about me as an individual…and he really cared about seeking the justice that needed to be sought in the case.
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Ron got the insurance company to settle for the maximum on the policy. And so as a result of that, my son went back to school. Jeff
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Marc just guided us through the whole process. He told us exactly what would happen and how we needed to go about doing everything. Jesenia
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