This "Malpractice Consult" column also includes cases involving scarring from penile injections and failure to remove a fragment from a penile implant.
Dawn Collins, JDAn 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.
Also by Dawn Collins, JD: Transplanted kidney found to be cancerous; patient sues
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.
Next: Scarring from penile injections
A 49-year-old New York man who suffered from erectile dysfunction presented to his physician and was prescribed an oral medication. Soon after that, the same physician prescribed an injectable treatment.
When the patient was seen for a follow-up, he complained of two unsuccessful injections and another physician noticed scarring on the penis. The original physician attributed this scarring to the patient’s diabetes. The original physician prescribed another injectable formula, which also did not have favorable results. He saw the physician three more times within a 6-month period, each time leaving with a different formula to try.
The man sued the original physician and alleged that he did not give the formulas time to work before changing to a different one, and that he should have been referred to a urologist when the scarring occurred.
The physician argued that the scarring was attributable to the patient’s diabetes and not the injections or the change of the formulas. The jury returned a verdict for the patient and awarded $2 million, including $500,000 for past pain and suffering and $1.5 million for future pain and suffering.
Next: Failure to remove fragment from penile implant
A 53-year-old Arizona man sued his urologist for failing to remove a fragment of an old penile implant while he was performing surgery to replace the implant. The patient claimed the fragment caused him to develop an infection, which necessitated removal of the replacement implant. He alleged he will have erectile dysfunction for life as a result of the urologist’s negligence.
The urologist denied the allegations and questioned whether the retained fragment was even left by him. The urologist’s infectious disease expert opined that the fragment did not cause the infection.
The patient’s infectious disease expert stated that the fragment did in fact cause the infection. There were arguments on both sides as to whether the patient would be a candidate for a future penile implant. The jury returned a defense verdict.
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