$1 Million Settlement in Death of Man After Hip Replacement Surgery

The family of a suburban Harrisburg man has received a $1 million settlement after the 56-year-old Hampden Township man died a few weeks after undergoing hip replacement surgery in 2008.

The settlement ends a multi-year malpractice claim filed by Charlotte Ann March, whose husband, Richard, died due to complications after the surgery, according to a July 16 story by The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. The lawsuit had been filed against Harrisburg Hospital and Pinnacle Health System, as well as Dr. Stuart B. Pink, a cardiologist who treated the patient following the hip replacement surgery, the paper reported.

About three weeks after the surgery in April 2008, Richard March “returned to the hospital complaining of shortness of breath, weakness and other symptoms,” the story reported. “Charlotte March claimed her husband died due to a blood clot three days after being admitted to the hospital, because Pink misdiagnosed his symptoms and he didn’t receive appropriate medical treatment.”

The defendants denied the allegations, with Pink arguing that his diagnosis was “based on the information available to him at the time,” the story stated.

Pink claimed that the criticism involving his care of March “was based on an unfair retrospective analysis of the events years after the treatment was rendered,” the paper reported.

Hip replacement surgery is a fairly common procedure nowadays. Also called “total hip arthroplasty,” the procedure involves removing a diseased hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Hip prostheses consist of a ball component, made of metal or ceramic, and a socket, which has an insert or liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal. The implants used in hip replacement are biocompatible — meaning they’re designed to be accepted by your body — and they’re made to resist corrosion, degradation and wear.”

Artificial hips are typically implanted surgically in people who have hip joint damage from arthritis or an injury, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Followed by rehabilitation, hip replacement can relieve pain and restore range of motion and function of your hip joint.”

But there can be risks to such surgical procedures, including blood clots, which can form in leg veins as a result of decreased leg movement after surgery, as well as from pressure on the veins during surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic. Infections can also occur at the incision sites which can cause complications.

Other complications that can arise include breathing problems after surgery, as well as heart attacks or a stroke during or after surgery, according to Medline Plus, a service of The National Institutes of Health.  Knee infection or infections in the lungs (pneumonia) or urinary tract are also possible.

To lower the risk of post-surgical blood clots, patients often receive blood thinners before and after surgery and may wear compression stocking on their legs after surgery to improve blood flow, according to Medline Plus.

This tragic case is a somber reminder of the kinds of problems that can arise when patients seek medical treatment in hospitals and other medical facilities and become innocent victims of inadequate or incorrect procedures.

Patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.