IADC member and 2014 Trial Academy Director John R. Penhallegon received a defendant's verdict on July 24 after a 5 day medical malpractice jury trial in the Circuit of Maryland for Baltimore County.
The case involved a 59 year old woman from Florida referred to the defendant plastic and peripheral nerve surgeon in Baltimore for evaluation of peripheral neuropathy. The plaintiff had pain in both feet, worse with standing or walking. She had failed a number of non-surgical treatments. The defendant surgeon scheduled her for surgery prior to personally examining her. His first examination was the day before surgery. He then proceeded with a four compartment release of purported tibial nerve compressions in the left foot and ankle as well as decompressions of the peroneal nerve in the lower leg. Postoperatively, the patient not only failed to improve but her left leg and foot symptoms significantly worsened. After three months, the defendant recommended a full medical evaluation for an underlying medical neuropathy which led to a diagnosis of an idiopathic neuropathy.
Plaintiff alleged that she never had a surgical condition, but instead a medical neuropathy never properly evaluated, and the unnecessary surgery has left her totally disabled with left foot pain. Damages sought were in excess of $1 million. The jury found that although the defendant breached the standard of care such breach did not cause any injury to the plaintiff.