Surgical Positioning Causes Serious Injury

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on May 18, 2017

Anesthesia Expert WitnessThis case takes place in North Carolina and involves a male patient who was admitted to hospital for performance of laparoscopic surgery. During surgery, he was placed in an inclined position for several hours. Post-operatively, severe swelling was noted to the top of the shoulders from the restraints used to keep the patient in position. The patient had weakness in his upper extremities. Physical examination noted that he was not able to raise one of his arms. An MRI revealed potential nerve and muscle damage in the patient’s shoulder. A multitude of follow-up examinations have been performed on the patient, all of which have consistently indicated the presence of nerve and muscle damage that has been linked to the patient’s positioning during surgery. The patient continues to have difficulty, and is unable to use one of his arms.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have experience positioning or supervising the patients for lengthy procedures?
  • 2. What measures should be taken prevent this type of injury to a patient?

Expert Witness Response E-000108

From this description, a positioning injury ranks high in the differential diagnosis. I would need to review the records to further develop my opinion. As I am a board certified Anesthesiologist with experience in both gynecologic and spinal surgery procedures of this duration, I am well qualified to opine on this case.

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