March 27, 2018, PNLR E-Newsletter
Negligent treatment of arterial injury
The patient sued a physician’s assistant who had examined his arm after a knife injury, alleging the defendant negligently failed to stop the bleeding in the plaintiff’s radial artery, consult with a supervising physician, and refer him to a specialist. The jury awarded $1.2 million. Bruhn v. Sioux Valley Mem’l Hosp. Ass’n.
Jared Bruhn, a veterinarian, suffered a left radial artery injury after accidentally cutting his left arm while using a knife. He went to Cherokee Regional Medical Center, where he was examined by physician’s assistant Steven Dunnick. Dunnick informed Bruhn that he did not need to see a specialist, despite his heavy bleeding. He irrigated and sutured Bruhn’s wound and sent him home.
Nine days later, Bruhn returned to the emergency room, complaining of bleeding, pain, and swelling. Additionally, he had developed a large hematoma at the site of his injury and was experiencing loss of function. A physician bandaged the injury and discharged Bruhn. His problems continued, however, and he later required carpal tunnel release surgery. Despite this treatment, he continues to suffer pain and loss of function in his left hand.
Bruhn sued Dunnick, alleging he negligently failed to stop the bleeding in Bruhn's radial artery, consult with a supervising physician, and refer him to a specialist, among other things.
The jury awarded $1.2 million, including $800,000 for Bruhn’s lost earning capacity. The jury found that Bruhn was 30 percent responsible for his injuries.
Citation: Bruhn v. Sioux Valley Mem’l Hosp. Ass’n, No. 03181LACV024534 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Cherokee Cnty. Sept. 18, 2017).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Patrick Phipps, Moville, Iowa; and Stuart Higgins and AAJ member Marc Humphrey, both of West Des Moines, Iowa.