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$1.475 Million Settlement for Failing to Diagnose Compartment Syndrome

A man who suffered muscle and nerve damage in his lower leg as the result of the failure of his surgeons to diagnose a compartment syndrome that developed following extensive spine surgery has settled his case for $1.475 million. By agreement of the parties, the settlement, negotiated by attorney Mark W. Tanner, will not disclose the identity of the plaintiffs or the defendants.

The case arose in central Pennsylvania, where a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon performed a lengthy spinal surgery upon the plaintiff. The procedure itself lasted approximately 11 hours, and it was noted that the plaintiff exhibited signs of pressure sores on his face and knees following the surgery. In the days that followed, the plaintiff experienced increasing pain in his lower legs, and became unable to flex his ankles. Notwithstanding warnings contained in the medical literature concerning the risk of developing a compartment syndrome — a condition in which the tissues of the lower limbs swell and reduce blood supply and compress nerves in the lower extremities — this condition was not considered by the defendants until after much of the plaintiff’s muscle and tissue had been destroyed. Ultimately, the plaintiff underwent several surgeries in his lower leg in an effort to improve his condition, but the surgeries were not successful. Finally, the plaintiff’s leg was amputated just below the knee.

Extensive discovery was conducted by Feldman Shepherd, who deposed the surgeons and attending medical staff involved in plaintiff’s care. Nationally recognized experts in the field of spine surgery were retained, and reports were provided to the defense. Specifically, plaintiffs retained a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, as well as another orthopedic surgeon who specialized in treating compartment syndrome, physical medicine rehabilitation experts, a life care planner, a vocational expert, and an economist to document and address the nature and severity of the plaintiff’s damages.

As a result of aggressive preparation, many months in advance of trial, the parties entered into this settlement.