The Honorable Thomas E. O’Brien, P.J.Cv. (ret) of Ocean County, settled a medical malpractice case on February 2, 2022 for the sum of $350,000.00. A doctor specializing in pediatric medicine while working at a hospital emergency room treated a 10-year old plaintiff for severe pain he was experiencing in his left hip as a result of being involved in a competitive wrestling match.
On the day of his injury, he arrived at the ER at approximately 5:00 p.m. The defendant doctor examined him, took a history, and read a regular x-ray as “normal” and then discharged him at approximately 7:00 p.m. with a diagnosis “groin pain”. The next day plaintiff’s pain was so bad that he consulted with his primary care doctor who immediately directed him to a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. The Ortho immediately diagnosed plaintiff with a “dislocated left help”. The Ortho then reduced the dislocation after ordering and reading a more appropriate “frog leg” x-ray that led to him making the quick and correct diagnosis of “hip dislocation”.
The plaintiff claimed that the improper diagnosis by the defendant and a 24 hour delay in receiving proper treatment caused him to suffer avascular necrosis in the left hip joint. The plaintiff endured several months of pain, PT, and wheelchair use before and enduring a second open surgery involving decompression of the left hip necrosis. A further consequence of the delay in treatment makes plaintiff, now 14, more subject to further necrosis for which he must be checked every 6 months and a possible candidate in the future for a “total hip replacement”.
The plaintiff’s medical expert opined that the defendant ER doctor deviated from the accepted standards of medical care imposed on an ER doctor. It is interesting that even the defense expert ER doctor opined that the defendant misdiagnosed the injury, that the 24 hour delay caused plaintiff additional injury, a second surgery and future medical complications. The defense expert only asserted that the plaintiff’s recovery was “good”. There were no liens affecting this settlement. The settlement now only needs to be approved at a “Friendly Hearing” by the court.
Judge O’Brien mediates all types of cases and would be most happy to help all litigants resolve their cases.