Orthopedic Surgery Expert Opines on Fatal Knee Surgery


Orthopedic Surgery Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Missouri and involves a female with arthritis in her left knee that was greatly reducing her mobility. She previously underwent radiofrequency ablation, but it was unsuccessful in managing her pain. The patient was admitted and prepped for surgery, however, the patient remained conscious after the initial administration of anesthesia. She was then administered a second round of anesthesia, was found to be unconscious, and the procedure was initiated. During the procedure the anesthesiolgist realized the patient was not breathing, and attempted to intubate her unsuccessfully. The patient eventually was found to be in cardiac arrest, and chest compressions were performed in the OR. As a result of this experience the patient suffers from permanent cognitive impairment.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you routinely perform knee arthroscopies?
  • 2. Do you have experience working in outpatient surgical centers?
  • 3. Have you seen this outcome occur in similar procedures?
  • 4. Do you believe there was a deviation in the standard of care that contributed to this patient's poor outcome? If so, please explain.
  • 5. Have you ever been the target of a malpractice claim? If so, please explain.
  • 6. What makes you qualified to serve as an expert witness on this matter?

Expert Witness Response E-007404

In my practice I routinely treat patients with degenerative knee conditions. I am very experienced in this sort of case and there seems to be a deviation in the standard of care. Patient safety and life were compromised when the airway was not protected. Additionally, the patient underwent a general anesthetic for a bilateral procedure that is entirely elective, with or without a defective operating room table. I have worked extensively in outpatient  centers and am quite familiar with the practices and procedures of these types of facilities.

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