Med malpractice claimed after skin tear during surgery. $165K. Los Angeles County.
Physician assistant said to cause injury in positioning elderly plaintiff for orthopedic surgery.
- Case Name: Gloria Mikeler v. Los Angeles Orthopedic Institute
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 20STCV34600
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, June 09, 2021
- Type of Action: Medical Malpractice
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Frederick Shaller
- Plaintiffs: Gloria Mikeler
- Defendants: Los Angeles Orthopedic Institute
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $165,884.48
- Economic Damages:
Past medical expenses: $20,884.48
Past caregiving: $20,000
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: The trial lasted 8 days, though 3 1/2 days were spent during jury selection, which was elongated as a result of COVID precautions.
- Jury Polls: 10-2 on negligence, 11-1 on causation, and 12-0 on damages.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Hodes Milman Ikuta, LLP by Benjamin T. Ikuta and Michelle B. Hemesath, Irvine.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Reback, McAndrews & Blessey LLP by Robert C. Reback and Brandon S. Sanchez, Manhattan Beach.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Manzar Kuraishi, M.D. (Treating physician.)
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Kevin Ehrhart, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff underwent surgery on September 14, 2019 for a broken right hip at 93 years old. Prior to the surgery, during positioning on the orthopedic table, plaintiff suffered a large skin tear on her left lower leg.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
Plaintiff contended that a Physician Assistant employed by Los Angeles Orthopedic Institute negligently and carelessly handled plaintiff’s leg while placing plaintiff’s leg in the surgical boot in preparation for surgery, causing the skin tear.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendant contended that the Physician Assistant acted reasonably as such a skin tear can occur even without negligence. Defendant noted that three months prior to the surgery, plaintiff suffered a traumatic fall that also resulted in a skin tear. Pictures during both hospitalization showed that plaintiff had extraordinarily thin and frail skin.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Plaintiff required at-home wound care for several months as well as additional caregiving from her caregiver a few more hours a week. The tear/wound did not require skin grafting or surgery.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $125,000 about 6 months before trial.