Medical Malpractice Case Summary

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The case is about one Arturo Iturralde who was diagnosed with degenerative spondylolisthesis L4-5 with stenosis. The condition is treated by way of surgery. The surgery was carried out at Hilo Medical Center (HMC). It involved implanting titanium rods in the spine forming a bilateral fixation. During surgery, the titanium rods were missing from the surgery room and Dr. Robert Ricketson decided to make do by use of a stainless steel screwdriver. The stainless steel was not approved nor intended for implantations. The following day, Mr. Arturo sustained a fall shuttering the screw driver. As a result, he had three more surgeries and two years later he passed away. Through court orders, the family was awarded $ 5.6 million (Ramangkoun, 2017). …show more content…

The medical standard of care expected of the surgeon in this case was to perform a successful surgery involving implantation of the two titanium rods to form a bilateral fixation in the spine. The plaintiff alleged that during the surgery, there was a bleach of the accepted standard of care in the following ways; i. The Medtronic surgery kit lacked the necessary instruments for the surgery including the very essential titanium rods used for implantation. ii. Dr. Ricketson proceeded with the surgery absent the titanium rods iii. Implanting a stainless steel screwdriver into the patient’s spine despite the fact that it was not approved for human implantation. iv. Failure to communicate this particular incident to the patient The causation element in this case was based on a series of events after the surgery. It was averred that two more surgeries had to be conducted to remove screwdriver pieces from the spine as it had shattered after a series of falls sustained by the patient. It was the plaintiff’s case that after the patient was discharged, his condition worsened. It was alleged that he was often in pain, his hygiene declined, he became depressed and had lost the will to live. He suffered from urosepsis, became bed ridden and passed on later (Bryden & Storey, …show more content…

In this matter, the court held that the circuit court errored by failing to assert that the nature of injuries needed not be foreseeable. Nevertheless, the court rejected the assertion by the appellant that the circuit court shouldn’t have included a verdict question focused on the superseding cause. The court asserted that the superseding instruction was warranted since it was a major facet on Medtronic's defense. Finally, the court agreed with the appellant’s argument that HCM should not be held liable for the damages awarded for NIED claim (Iturralde v. Hilo Medical Center USA, No. 28792,

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