Our client, a millwright and machinist by trade, worked each day with his hands using the tools of his trade. He began to notice pain in his right hand, especially when he was turning wrenches. Our client pursued treatment and was referred to an orthopedic surgeon that specialized in hand surgery. In our client’s first visit to the specialist hand surgeon, he was given injections to provide some temporary relief, but the pain in his wrist persisted. About nine months later, our client returned to the specialist’s office where a proximal row carpectomy surgery was recommended as a long term solution for his wrist pain.
On the day of surgery our client expected to have a proximal row carpectomy performed by the hand specialist he was seeing; in fact, he even consented to receive a proximal row carpectomy. The orthopedic hand specialist, however, chose to perform a surgery which he had never performed before; he did so without discussing this new surgery with our client or obtaining informed consent from our client. The doctor performed an intercarpal fusion including the scaphoid bone. This was not the appropriate surgery for our client, and our client did not consent to have this surgery. Through deposition Todd Townsley was able to discover that this was the first and only time this orthopedic specialist had done this type of surgery. Due to this inappropriate surgery, our client suffered a painful, failed surgery with permanent injury to his hand and wrist.
The follow-up care rendered to our client was also negligent. Three months later, our client received an additional surgery that was performed by the same orthopedic hand specialist. This time the procedure was an arthroscopy of the right hand. During the surgery the doctor cut the tendon to our client’s right ring finger. Through depositions Todd Townsley was able to get the orthopedic surgeon to admit that he had cut the tendon to our client’s right finger. Furthermore, the doctor stated that this was the only time that he had severed a tendon during a right wrist arthroscopy. This ineffective surgery caused our client to lose more function of his hand. Soon after, the doctor attempted surgery to correct the severed tendon. This surgery was, again, incorrectly done and failed in its purpose. The orthopedic surgeon attempted a fourth operation to correct the previous damage about a month later. This time the surgeon attempted a tendon transfer utilizing the flexor digitoum sublimis tendon right ring finger to extensor communis tendon. This fourth surgery, like the others, also failed and caused our client even more pain.
Our client’s subsequent treating hand surgeon in Houston, Texas was very critical of the orthopedic hand specialist’s care for our client. This physician stated that an intercarpal fusion including the scaphoid was not an appropriate surgery for our client because this particular surgery can block all wrist motion. He also stated that the subsequent surgeries were not the correct procedures to fix our client’s problems. Our client’s treating physician stated that the follow-up surgeries, including the severing of our client’s right ring finger tendon, greatly contributed to our client’s injuries.
As a result of the unauthorized surgery and negligent follow up care, our client suffered pain, permanent and disabling injuries, medical expenses and lost wages. He is left with a heavily scarred and painful hand with minimal motion and neuropathic pain. Essentially, our client now has a useless and painful hand due to the negligence of this orthopedic surgeon. Moreover, our client’s loss of function in his hand means that his main tool, the hand he used each day to complete the tasks of his trade, was taken from him. The Townsley Law Firm utilized witness testimony and depositions to prove that this orthopedic hand specialist had breached the standard of care. Todd Townsley was able to settle this case and make a satisfactory recovery for our client.