A young man broke his arm while working in a brickyard. He went to an emergency room in a municipal hospital in New York. The emergency room doctor told him he had a fracture and they would set the fracture and put a cast on. The cast would remain on for 6 weeks. He was told to follow up every few weeks to make sure the broken bone was healing properly.
This young man returned to the orthopedic clinic, as instructed, and each time he went, x-rays were taken. After x-rays were taken, the orthopedic resident reassured him that everything was healing properly. Six weeks after the initial injury, the patient had his cast removed. He was shocked at what he saw. His arm looked like a roller coaster. It was straight, then went up, curved, then went down and flat again. He asked the doctor whether this was normal. The physician told him that with physical therapy this would go away.
My client was not an educated man, yet he knew that no amount of physical therapy would make his bone go back into the correct position. He decided to seek another opinion of an orthopedist near his home. After additional x-rays and evaluation of the the original emergency room x-rays, this board-certified orthopedist concluded that this young man needed surgery to re-break the bone since it did not heal in the correct position. He would need a titanium plate, screws and pins to hold the newly broken bones together. This is known as an osteotomy (breaking the bone) and an open reduction with internal fixation. He would need to be put to sleep with general anesthesia and have a recuperation period of 6-8 weeks again.
This young man learned that his broken bone was never set properly. Had it been properly set when he was in the emergency room, he'd never have needed this additional surgery and wouldn't have to have his bone re-broken and then put back together with plates, pins and screws.
During this lawsuit, I had a chance to question the "Doctor" who treated my client in the emergency room. It turns out that this "doctor" was not a doctor at all. In fact, he was just a physician's assistant who was supposed to be supervised by the attending emergency room physician. Unfortunately for my client, this physician's assistant never asked his supervising physician to review the emergency room x-ray before or after he had set the bone to make sure it was done correctly. Even more amazing was that none of the orthopedic residents who evaluated this patient in the orthopedic clinic recognized that the x-ray was clearly abnormal and that the bone would not heal in the correct position.
Had the physician's assistant shown the original x-rays to his supervisor, in all likelihood, the supervising doctor would have recognized that the arm was not set correctly and would have re-set it again before casting the arm and sending the patient home.
This injury was totally preventable, and the attorney who represented the hospital recognized that fact during the litigation. I am pleased to report that this case was successfully resolved shortly before trial.
Gerry Oginski is an experienced medical malpractice & personal injury trial lawyer practicing law in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, New York, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk & Long Island and has been in practice since 1988.
He is a graduate of Touro College, Jacob Fuchsberg College of Law in Huntington, NY and he is admitted to practice law in New York and Connecticut. He started his legal career working for a defense firm on Wall Street representing doctors, hospitals and businesses who were sued. Four years later he felt the gravitational pull to represent injured victims of medical negligence and accidents. After doing defense work, he joined a personal injury law firm in Brooklyn, NY representing injured victims, and then four years later, joined forces with a large law firm in Queens, NY. While there, he was in charge of the medical malpractice department, and in 2002 opened his own office for the practice of law. His main office is located in Great Neck, Long Island, and he has affiliate offices in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Gerry prides himself on knowing all the details of each case he handles. Cases are not handed off to associates. When a client calls, he doesn't need to check a file to determine what happened last on the client's case. He knows what happened, since he was the one who handled the matter.
Gerry has become a prolific writer and publishes a monthly newsletter full of legal news, fun trivia games, and a never-ending fictional story that has won him accolades with all who read his newsletter. In addition to his newsletter, he has produced and created an entire video library of instructional videos that help consumers learn about medical malpractice and accident law in New York.
Gerry welcomes all calls about any accident or injury from a doctor or hospital in the State of New York. He promises to give you a straightforward and honest answer about every question you ask. Take a look at his website, where he has over 200 FAQ's, free reports about medical malpractice, wrongful death and accident cases, actual testimony of doctors in cases he's handled, and an entire video library you really should see.
If that's not enough, take a look at his blog where he offers free information about medical malpractice and accident law and when you've finished reading his blog at http://nymedicalmalpractice.blogspot.com, jump over to his video blog where he has most of his videos posted at http://medicalmalpracticetutorial.blogspot.com - you'll be glad you did.