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Trial Win for Edward D. Laird, Jr. in Defense of Orthopaedic Surgeon

By:

Case:
Noble v. Orthopaedic Surgeon

Jurisdiction:
State of New York, Rensselaer County Supreme Court

Client:
Defendant, Orthopaedic Surgeon

Attorney:
Edward D. Laird, Jr.

Result:
Jury verdict for the defendant

Summary: 
This medical malpractice case involved a plaintiff in her mid-60s, who suffered a slightly comminuted tibia/fibula fracture. She alleged the defendant orthopedic surgeon negligently opted to treat the fracture with a closed reduction and casting, rather than perform an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF), causing her permanent injuries. 


The plaintiff asserted that open reduction surgery was necessary in view of the location of the fracture between knee and ankle in which an inward tibial torsion during healing is especially common. Additionally, she claimed that although she suffered osteopenia, or a decrease in bone density which is not as clinically significant as osteoporosis, the use of surgical hardware to stabilize the fracture was indicated. 


With respect to her injury, the plaintiff alleged that she healed with excessive inward torsion that produced a very significant limp and, as such, caused her to suffer a subsequent fall at home resulting in a hip fracture. The evidence reflected that the plaintiff subsequently developed avascular necrosis that necessitated a total hip replacement. 


The defense maintained that in view of the plaintiff's age and pre-existing knee arthritis, which rendered a future knee replacement probable, the defendant surgeon exercised appropriate medical judgment in opting for the more conservative course of a closed reduction. The defense produced a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon who testified in support of the defendant’s medical treatment. The defense further denied, as there was no evidence to suggest, that the plaintiff’s limp caused her to fall, leading to a hip fracture. The defense noted that, in fact, the plaintiff was working on an uneven surface at her home when she fell.