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Former all-star tennis player settles medical malpractice case

A young woman, aged 22, suffered a life-altering injury due to malpractice when she was still only in high school. Now, a New Jersey jury has handed down a $1.2 million malpractice award to compensate her.

At the time of her injury, the high school student was a top-ranked tennis player -- athletically gifted by all accounts. The medical mistake left her unable to walk for an extended period (including through her prom and graduation). It also subjected her to long hours of grueling physical therapy in order to regain her mobility. In addition, her days of playing tennis are permanently over.

A New Jersey jury found that her doctor was negligent in several different ways. He not only provided substandard care and botched the operation he did on the teenager's leg, but he subjected her to a procedure that could have been avoided in the first place.

He also failed to inform his patient about other available options for handling the problem -- all of which were less invasive and less likely to put her at risk of an error.

The teenager had a benign growth on one of the bones in her leg, and the doctor scheduled a biopsy independent of the procedure to actually remove the growth. Two separate procedures were unnecessary -- since the growth had to be removed anyway, doing a unique procedure for the biopsy only doubled the patient's risk of an injury.

During the biopsy, the doctor cut a nerve in the teen's leg, disabling her. While she eventually regained her ability to walk, she is left with permanent injuries that can't be reversed.

This wasn't the first time the doctor involved had done something similar. In 2011, he'd performed another medically unnecessary surgery that also affected his patient's capacity to walk. That may have played into the jury's decision and the amount of the compensation they ordered.

It's important to be aware of cases like this because they show that a lack of informed consent robs patients of their right to choose their own risks -- and unnecessary procedures never have a sound medical basis.

An attorney can help if you've been the victim of medical malpractice where a doctor didn't inform you of the risks you faced or took an unnecessarily drastic approach over a conservative one.

Source: www.legalreader.com, "Former High School Athlete Awarded $1.2 Million Medical Malpractice Lawsuit," Ryan J. Farrick, Nov. 01, 2017

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Gary D. Ginsberg is a Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has been recognized as an expert in litigating cases in the courts of New Jersey.

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