Attorneys: William B. Kilduff, Christopher L. Spinelli
The plaintiff, 60, was treated by the defendant surgeon for long-standing right knee pain. She had a complex medical history that included a left knee arthroplasty two years prior. Her height was 4’9”. The defendant determined that she was a candidate for a right knee arthroplasty and she was cleared for surgery.
At the time of the arthroplasty, the defendant surgeon selected the knee replacement device. The device’s tibial portion comes in multiple sizes, divided into a macrotray, a standard tray with multiple sizes, and a microtray, depending on the size of the tibia at issue. It was alleged that the defendant did not ensure he had the appropriate trays readily available, and only had the standard tray in the OR. The defendant proceeded with the surgery anyway, in the process fracturing the posteromedial tibial condyle. At that point, the defendant needed both a smaller tray and a long-stemmed cemented tibial component to accommodate the fracture, neither of which he had on hand.
The defendant surgeon then had the patient extubated pending the arrival of the necessary component parts. Upon their arrival, he then re-intubated her to complete the right total knee replacement.
Over the course of the next year, the patient suffered severe pain in her right knee and shin, caused by the long-stemmed component which was made necessary by the fracture. Accordingly, she underwent a revision surgery at that time, and her recovery thereafter was favorable.
The plaintiff alleged a failure to template her knee prior to surgery and a failure to adequately plan prior to surgery. The defendants argued that the first tibial implant was appropriately sized for the patient and that intraoperative fractures are known risks of the procedure.