Pretzel & Stouffer

Verdict for Internist Despite Dispute Between Physicians

Brian Henry represented an internist and obtained a verdict in favor of the physician. The plaintiff, a 58 year old male, underwent a total hip arthroplasty in August of 2008 and was placed on Coumadin for DVT prophylaxis. However, his Coumadin level became supratherapeutic at a rehab facility and he developed a hematoma in his left hip and thigh resulting in his Coumadin being discontinued. Shortly thereafter, he developed bilateral DVTs and the Coumadin was restarted. The plaintiff was readmitted in mid-September when he developed further bleeding and became anemic. His anti-coagulation was changed, but in late September, he was readmitted to the hospital again for anemia and additional bleeding into his left hip and thigh. An IVC filter was inserted and the Coumadin was stopped. The plaintiff underwent a CT with contrast of the abdomen and pelvis which was interpreted by the radiologist on September 22nd who reported a large increase in the size of the left iliopsoas muscle hematoma, a focus of high density anterior to left hip, and a hematoma in the mid thigh. The report indicated that the radiologist called the internist with the results. The radiologist did not recall the telephone conversation with the internist but testified that it would have been his custom to tell him that the patient had “active” bleeding which needed “immediate attention.” The internist denied this. The plaintiff alleged that the internist was required to consult a vascular surgeon because of the enlarged hematoma and the acute/active bleeding reported to him as a critical finding by the radiologist. One month later, he was readmitted and seen by a vascular surgeon who diagnosed him as having a pseudoanerusym in his thigh which was surgically repaired. The plaintiff contended that the pseudoanerusym compressed the femoral nerve resulting in a permanent neuropathy. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for an award in excess of $ 1 million and the jury found in favor of the internist.

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