Case details

Knee stiffness due to lack of stretching, surgeon claimed





Result type

Not present

cervical spine, fracture, knees, stiffness, weakness
On April 8, 2013, plaintiff Dorothy Williams, 52, a former horse jockey, underwent a total arthroplasty of the left knee. The procedure was performed by Dr. Anthony Fenison, an orthopedic surgeon. Williams was previously involved in a horse riding accident in June 2009. She had suffered a fracture of her cervical spine, undergone spinal treatment, and developed severe ligamentous and arthritic pathology. When conservative treatment failed, she stopped riding. Williams then began to experience stiffness and weakness in both knees, causing them to give way and lock. When her condition gradually worsened, she presented to Fenison for an orthopedic consultation on Jan. 11, 2012, during which the need for a total knee replacement of each knee was discussed. On Nov. 5, 2012, Fenison performed a total arthroplasty on the right knee. Williams claimed that by Dec. 31, 2012, her right knee pain was doing better, but that she was still experiencing pain in her left knee. As a result, Fenison planned to treat the right knee with more therapy and treat the left knee with a total arthroplasty. The total left knee replacement surgery was ultimately performed on April 8, 2013. Williams claimed that unlike her right knee surgery, she continued to have left knee pain following the total arthroplasty. As a result, Fenison performed a manipulation of the left knee under anesthesia on Aug. 29, 2013. X-rays did not show evidence of cystic changes, loosening or an infection. The alignment, per images, was also adequate, and there were no real difficulties at the patellofemoral joint. However, despite the manipulation and other treatment, Williams claimed that she continued to suffer from left knee pain. In addition, the range of motion for the right knee was 0-100 degrees and for the left was 0-95 degrees. As a result, Williams began to have concerns about her knees, mostly about her left knee, and last saw Fenison on Oct. 23, 2014. Williams sued Fenison, alleging that Fenison negligent performed the surgery on her left knee and that Fenison’s actions constituted medical malpractice. Loma Linda University Medical Center was also listed as a defendant, but it was ultimately removed from the case. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Fenison negligently performed the left knee surgery in April 2013, in that Fenison failed to make a straight cut of the tibial bone during the total arthroplasty of the left knee. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that the cut should have been straight, give or take a couple of degrees, but that the cut was off by approximately 10 to 15 degrees. Defense counsel argued that the April 2013 surgery on the left knee, including the tibial cut, was within the standard of care and that Williams’ stiffness and range of motion issues were likely due to lack of stretching and exercise., Williams claimed that she continues to experience pain in her left knee with a decrease in the knee’s range of motion. She alleged that she can still do everyday activities, but that they are limited by pain and mobility. Given Williams’ concerns about her left knee, and given that her attorney had indicated a lawsuit may be filed, it was agreed that Williams should see another orthopedic surgeon for treatment. The surgeon subsequently recommend that Williams undergo a revision surgery. Williams testified that she was still planning to have another surgery, but that she has not yet undergone the revision surgery as of the time of trial. Thus, Williams sought recovery of general and special damages, including recovery of future medical expenses for the revision surgery.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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