Knee Surgery Gone Wrong Compromises the Other Knee, Suit States
7-28-2018 01:04:00

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A botched knee surgery has left a Kaiser plan member with permanent and progressive disability in her other knee, according to her Multnomah County Circuit Court lawsuit.

Emily Moore sues Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Northwest Permanente P.C. and Carol Pelmas M.D. for medical negligence.

According to the action, defendant orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Pelmas, specializes in sports surgery. Moore is not an athlete, yet Pelmas chose to repair Moore’s torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee with a patellar tendon graft from her left knee, “a procedure used primarily in athletes who wish to rehabilitate quickly to return to sports,” rather than advising Moore “that a hamstring graft is more suited for the non-athlete.” The hamstring graft would have come from the right knee.

Pelmas also had “little experience” with this procedure, did not “customize the graft size to the plaintiff’s size,” did not splint the donor limb and did not counsel Moore on precautions for weight bearing on the donor knee. Instead, Pelmas told Moore after the surgery “to only bear weight on her left leg,” which was the donor leg, according to the action. 

As a result, Moore says that when she stood up after the surgery, she “heard a popping sound from her left knee and felt severe pain in her left leg.” She was diagnosed with a transverse displaced fracture of the patella in her left knee at the site of the patellar tendon graft and a partial tibial tubercle avulsion fracture on the donor knee, and had to have a second surgery and significant rehabilitation. 

Moore says she is left with constant pain in her left knee, impaired motion and gait, and muscle atrophy, spasms and weakness. She is unable to run, jump, kneel or lift anything heavier than 10 pounds, has difficulty using stairs, hiking or doing anything strenuous. Her condition is permanent and progressive, according to the suit.

Moore seeks $650,000 in non-economic damages for her pain, physical disability and mental and emotional impacts, and $340,000 in economic damages for diminishment of her wage-earning capacity and past and future medical expenses, in addition to legal costs.

Moore is represented by Larry N. Sokol of Sokol & Foster P.C. in Portland, Oregon.