FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 26, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It took 13 years, but Katie Shreffler of Coconut Creek, Florida, finally won in court against a South Florida hospital and a prominent orthopedic surgeon who counts big-named professional athletes such as Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and golfer Greg Norman as his patients. Shreffler was left permanently injured by the doctor who at the time was using an experimental procedure on her to repair a bad hip.
The Florida Supreme Court has refused to hear the case against Holy Cross Hospital and Dr. Marc Philippon, letting stand a lower court appeal and the original Fort Lauderdale jury's 2007 $2.15 million verdict. With fees, costs and interest, the award now is $4.3 million.
"Her medical future is uncertain and she faces more procedures to correct Dr. Philippon's mistake," said her attorney Crane Johnstone from the Law Offices of Sheldon J. Schlesinger P.A. in Fort Lauderdale.
In 1997, Ms. Shreffler was a 17 year old when she underwent an experimental procedure, called hip arthroscopy at Holy Cross. Dr. Philippon made two small incisions – one for the medical instrument, the other for a camera to view the hip area. Other physicians, including those who attempted corrective surgery at a Harvard-affiliated hospital, later discovered that cartilage that prevents bone-on-bone rubbing was permanently damaged in the original procedure. Experts testified Dr. Philippon applied too much pressure with a shaving device, damaging the cartilage, as he broke off two of the devices in her hip joint during the procedure.
The original jury found Holy Cross Hospital liable for allowing Dr. Philippon to perform the procedure without privileges to do so, and found Dr. Philippon medically negligent. The defendants appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which ruled in Shreffler's favor. And their appeal to the Florida Supreme Court was denied late last week.
Today, Dr. Philippon is a partner at a well-known sports medicine clinic in Vail, Colo. where he's touted as "one of the world's leading orthopedic hip surgeons." According to his online bio, he is a consultant to the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball and has treated a number of professional athletes over his career.
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