Our client was a very active 79 year old woman who enjoyed gardening, visiting with friends, shopping, and attending church. She reported to the emergency room due to weakness and fatigue after episodes of nausea and vomiting. Her chief complaints were nausea, vomiting, fever, and being weak and lethargic. Our client was seen by the emergency department staff who diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection (UTI), dehydration, and sepsis.
While still in the emergency department, the family received a call saying that our client had fallen from the bed and was being taken to have x-rays developed. It appeared that the nursing staff had left the bed rails down, and our client had fallen from the bed because of the nurses’ lack of attention. The x-rays showed no signs of fracture, but the radiologist did note that a “MRI may be of benefit for further evaluation.” Even though our client continued to complain of knee pain, a MRI was not ordered on this day.
For two more days our client complained of knee pain, swelling, and bruising before a MRI was finally ordered. The MRI revealed a comminuted nondisplaced fracture of the proximal tibia, medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament sprain, and knee joint effusion with soft tissue edema. An orthopedic surgeon examined our client and diagnosed her with Schatzker VI type bicondylar tibial plateu fracture which was nondisplaced. A Schatzker VI is a severe type of fracture especially when it occurs at the tibial plateau.
The orthopedic surgeon ordered that our client’s leg be immobilized and discharged her home. She remained non-weight bearing for over three months as she continued her treatment with the orthopedic surgeon. The tibial plateau is one of the most critical weight-bearing areas in the body. Fractures of the plateau affect knee alignment, stability, and motion. In our client’s case, the tibial plateau fracture also caused additional injuries to her left hip. She also suffered from severe pain that radiates down the entire length of her left leg.
The negligence of this nursing staff cost our client an enjoyable and active retirement. Prior to her injury, our client was a very active and independent lady. She enjoyed going about town, visiting friends, cooking, and going to church. Due to her pain from the injury, she has not been able to do any of those things and requires constant assistance. In this case the negligence of the nursing staff was very apparent; without the medical review panel ever meeting, the defendants chose to settle the claim. Through settlement negotiations, Todd Townsley was able achieve a successful outcome for our client.