Carpel tunnel syndrome is a common condition in older people living in Pittsburgh and throughout the country. It can cause pain and numbness in the fingers and wrists, often requiring surgery to correct. When carpal tunnel patients go in for an operation, they do not expect the surgeon to make their condition worse.
But that appears to be what happened to a 68-year-old woman in another state. She has been in terrible pain since undergoing surgery to treat carpal tunnel surgery in October 2011 has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who allegedly botched the operation. According to the lawsuit, the surgeon prescribed a risky procedure on the woman's arm without fully informing her of the dangers and then incorrectly performed the surgery.
The woman was suffering from carpel tunnel in her left wrist when she went to the accused doctor for an examination. Despite not being experienced in carpal tunnel shoulder surgery, the doctor elected to operate on the patient himself.
During the operation, which took place on Oct. 26, 2011, the surgeon found that a part of the woman's collar bone had osteoporosis, or a lack of bone density. He inserted a six-inch metal plate to stabilize the collar bone, but was unable to screw it in place. Instead of removing the plate, he used sutures to try to keep it in place.
But those sutures were not an appropriate strategy given their location and the condition of the collar bone, the lawsuit says. It says the sutures acted like a saw on the bone, causing it to separate from the shoulder, causing severe pain and disfigurement.
When the woman returned to the doctor, he told her that the separation was caused by osteoporosis and not his botched procedure. But when he referred her to another doctor, the second doctor immediately diagnosed that the sutures from the plate was the problem and removed the implant.
Still, the woman was left in "severe and persistent pain" and deformity in her left shoulder and arm, the lawsuit says. She is seeking $1 million in compensation. The trial was recently postponed until September 2013 so that both sides can find expert witnesses.
Source: Culpeper Star Exponent, "Medical malpractice lawsuit continued to next September," Rhonda Simmons, Oct. 16, 2012