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Leg Amputation Due to Failure to Properly Treat

Lawsuit Against Franklin Square Hospital Center | December 8, 2020

On December 8, 2020, WVFO attorneys Keith Forman and Cecilia Lavrin filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a woman who suffered a leg amputation as a result of negligent medical care.

The complaint alleges that the patient was a diabetic which established the known risk that she, as a diabetic, could have issues with foot ulcers and infections. On June 3, 2019, the patient was seen at Greater Baltimore Medical Center for a pre-operative physical and consultation for repair of a retinal detachment. During the course of the examination the nurse noted that her left leg was significantly larger than the right and had evidence of cellulitis with abrasions on the left leg with swelling from the foot to above the left knee. She further noted that the patient had been seen 3 weeks’ prior in “urgent care” for a “fractured foot”. In the afternoon of June 3, 2019, the patient reported to her doctor’s office and was examined by him. Despite being told of the wounds on her foot, the doctor failed to remove her socks and failed to perform a thorough examination of her left foot and leg. The doctor referred her to the Franklin Square Hospital Emergency Department with the direction to rule out deep vein thrombosis in her left leg. The patient came to the emergency department for an urgent ultrasound lower extremity duplex (LE Duplex) study of her left leg to examine for deep vein thrombosis. During her examination and testing in the emergency department, the patient was found to be extremely anemic. She was admitted to receive blood transfusions and for evaluation of the cause of her anemia. On examination, a doctor noted the presence of multiple open sores on the right and left lower extremities, including on her left foot. Despite noting these wounds, the doctor failed to request a podiatry examination or any imaging studies to ascertain the depth or degree of any possible infection in the left foot of this known diabetic’s feet. Instead she told the patient to be seen by a podiatrist on an outpatient basis. On June 5, 2019, shortly before she was discharged, the patient was examined by the wound care nurse, who documented an open wound on the surface of her left foot with 100% yellow necrotic tissue slough. The surrounding skin was described as edematous. She also described that there were two other areas of dried scab of the left great toe and the left second toe. The wound nurse simply cleaned the areas with normal saline and placed a non-antibiotic treatment on the wounds. The patient was discharged from Franklin Square Hospital Center on June 5, 2019, with instructions to see her primary care physician and to follow up with a hematologist for consultation on her anemia. On June 6, 2019, she was seen for follow-up by her doctor. Despite being aware of the wounds on her left foot, he failed to examine these wounds, failed to initiate any assessment or treatment of these wounds, and failed to refer her for immediate assessment by a podiatrist. On June 14, 2019, the patient returned to the Emergency Department for continuing weakness and for evaluation of her left foot, which continued to have a wound, as well as two new wounds on the left foot. Because of the severity of the left foot wounds, the threat of further spread to her leg and the developing systemic sepsis which threatened her life, the patient was prepared immediately for surgical evaluation of her foot, with incision and drainage to attempt to remove all underlying soft tissue infection. After several surgeries over the course of several days, on June 21, 2019, an amputation was performed, leaving her with rounded stump under her ankle. On August 13, 2020, she underwent a below the knee amputation, to allow her to use a prosthesis for ambulation.

The lawsuit alleges that the amputation was a result of the negligence of the patient’s doctor and Franklin Square Hospital Center and its employees.

The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland.

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