Case details

Surgeon claimed he operated on correct area of patient’s hand





Result type

Not present

discomfort, left middle fingers, left palm
On April 17, 2009, plaintiff Ping Situ, 70, a fashion designer, underwent a surgery on her left, non-dominant hand by Dr. Robert Roth, an orthopedic surgeon with specialization in hand surgery. Situ previously sustained a laceration to her left palm while trying to separate two pieces of frozen meat with a kitchen knife on Oct. 14, 2008. When she experienced pain and discomfort in the left palm, and left middle and ring fingers, she was evaluated by Roth and prescribed physical therapy and massage. However, when conservative treatment was without significant success in relieving Situ’s sensory complaints, Roth recommended that Situ undergo surgery. However, Situ claimed that after the April 2009 surgery, she still had severe pain in the left middle finger. Situ sued Roth and his medical office, Facey Medical Group. Situ alleged that Roth failed to properly perform the hand surgery and that this failure constituted medical malpractice. Facey Medical Group was ultimately dismissed from the case. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Roth operated on the wrong area — on the fourth web space — of her palm, when the injured nerve and neuroma were in the third web space. Counsel also contended that Roth caused pain and stiffness in the area of the palm where he should not have performed the exploratory surgery. Roth claimed that he operated in the area of the injured nerve and removed the scarred tissue that caused the nerve irritation. He also claimed that Situ’s persistent pain and comfort in the palm and middle finger were from the original laceration, which injured the unmyelinated microscopic nerves, which he could not see or treat during the exploratory surgery., Situ claimed that after the hand surgery on April 17 2009, she continued to suffer severe pain in the left middle finger. She ultimately discontinued care with Roth and began treatment with another hand surgeon, and has not undergone another surgery since April 17, 2009. Situ claimed that as a result of her continued pain and discomfort in her left, middle finger and palm, she now has to wear a glove on her left hand, which she continued to do up to, and through, the trial. Situ claimed she that had to leave her job as a fashion designer for one year as a result of her pain and that upon returning to work in the fashion industry, she had to take a lesser paying job that did not require her to cut fashion patterns. Thus, Situ sought recovery of about $50,000 in past loss of earnings and about $22,000 in future loss of earnings. She also sought recovery of $250,000 in general damages for her past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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