An Indiana man presented to his physician for an examination prior to an upcoming surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. The physician suggested the patient have a male sling implanted for previous incontinence issues while undergoing the hernia repair. The patient consented to have the sling implanted.
Postoperatively, the patient complained of severe pain and reported that his incontinence had become dramatically worse. He eventually had the sling partially removed; however, certain portions of the sling had become embedded in the patient’s tissues and could not be removed. He continued to complain of discomfort related to the portions of the sling remaining.
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The patient sued the physician, alleging he breached the standard of care in implanting the sling device.
The physician denied any breach in the standard of care and argued the patient was partially at fault for engaging in the activities that were contraindicated after the surgery. The jury returned a defense verdict.
LEGAL PERSPECTIVE: During discovery in this case, the patient asked the physician to identify the implanted product. The physician confirmed that the sling was a different product from what he and the patient had previously discussed, but he claimed that the implanted sling was a better product. The patient claimed that the physician was affiliated with the sling product he used, and had a financial interest in the product.
A medical review board found that the physician did not fall below the standard of care, and the physician was allowed to point out to the jurors that the patient had already recovered $248,000 from the sling’s manufacturer and others involved with this incident.