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Awarded: $922,854.56

This Page County, Virginia case involved an osteopathic surgeon that operated on a man and caused him to lose most of the use of his right arm, impacting on his ability to work and to hunt. Dr. “X” performed a total shoulder replacement surgery in January of 2002 on John Doe, then 52 years old. Mr. Doe was a hydro-electric technician with a 30 year work history and was earning approximately $46,000 per year at the time of the surgery. The defendant, Dr. “X”, released the plaintiff, Mr. Doe, to work after four months with a 50 pound work restriction. Mr. Doe could not functionally use his right arm after surgery, despite physical therapy. Based on his continuing problems 14 months after his total replacement surgery, Mr. Doe had the shoulder surgery revised by Dr. Neviaser, the chief of orthopaedics at George Washington University and a well-regarded shoulder expert. Dr. Neviaser testified at trial that the prosthetic device implanted by Dr. “X” was placed too high or too proud, which violated the standard of care for a Virginia orthopaedic surgeon. Dr. Neviaser testified that the standard of care for the placement of a humeral head prosthesis is 5 to 10 mm above the greater tuberosity. In this case, the prosthesis was 25 mm (or 2.5 cm) above the greater tuberosity. After his second surgery, Mr. Doe could not return to his job at the hydroelectric plant, and testified that he had planned on retiring at age 62. The parties stipulated that had Mr. Doe worked until age 62, he would have earned another $385,624. The defendant called two expert witnesses to testify that although the prosthesis was high, the joint was not overstuffed and the surgeon had used good medical judgment during his operation. There was no testimony from the defense on causation of the plaintiff’s right shoulder rotator cuff problems; even though the defendant surgeon’s operative report and findings showed that at the time of the 2002 surgery, Mr. Doe had healthy soft tissues. On February 9, 2006, a jury in Page County Circuit Court awarded Mr. Doe $922,854.56 for medical expenses and lost wages. Status: Dr. “X” petitioned the Supreme Court of Virginia for an appeal of the jury’s verdict. The Supreme Court upheld the jury verdict and Dr. “X” (through his malpractice carrier) paid the judgment amount plus interest.

Awarded: $922,854.56

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