Medical Malpractice claim filed over bunion surgery

By Jon Campisi | Nov 2, 2011

A Philadelphia woman who alleges a botched bunion removal procedure led her to sustain multiple injuries, including the need to have additional surgeries, has filed a civil complaint against those charged with her medical care.

Philadelphia attorney Andrew R. Spirit, of the firm Golomb & Honik, filed the medical malpractice claim Oct. 31 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Emeline Colon.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are doctors Neil S. Rapoport, David G. Geltzer, and Steven M. Raikin, as well as Philadelphia Podiatry Associates, Aria Health System, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.

According to the complaint, Colon went to Philadelphia Podiatry Associates in the spring of 2010 to undergo a right-sided bunionectomy. The procedure was performed by defendant Rapoport at Frankford Hospital, which is operated by defendant Aria Health System.

In late June 2010, Colon returned to her doctor’s office complaining of pain and swelling in the area where she had the bunions removed, the suit states. It was determined that an infection had developed in the region of her foot where the procedure took place, and Colon was required to go back to the hospital for treatment of the condition.

Colon continued to see doctors for regular check-ups, incision and drainage procedures, as well as testing and monitoring of the infectious process to ensure that the infection subsided and wouldn’t spread or worsen, the suit states.

Nevertheless, the infection did soon begin to spread and worsen, the suit claims, and Colon eventually ended up having to go to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for additional evaluation and care.

Initial examination and testing showed that the infection had spread to the bone by late September 2010, the suit states, and Colon was required to take intravenous antibiotics, undergo diagnostic testing and have an orthopedic consultation with defendant Raikin.

“Dr. Raiken’s impression was that no infection existed and he discontinued the treatment, medications and testing for the infectious process and ordered further testing,” the suit states. “No such testing was ever performed and the Plaintiff was discharged.”

On or about Sept. 30, 2010, Colon went to another doctor, who is not party to this suit, and had the symptoms in her foot addressed. Extensive testing was performed during the next several weeks, which confirmed acute and chronic osteomyelitis. The condition had worsened to the point of requiring surgery, the lawsuit claims.

As a result of her ordeal, the lawsuit states, Colon sustained multiple injuries, and required “significant treatment in an effort to cure the infection and prevent further disability and amputation, all of which resulted in substantial unnecessary pain, disability and scarring, which continues through the present time and is likely permanent.”

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence for failing to prescribe the appropriate medications, treatment and examination to prevent infection; failing to recognize and diagnose the signs and symptoms of infection and the need for treatment; failing to perform appropriate clinical examinations, testing and follow-up care; failing to admit the plaintiff to the hospital for continued treatment and testing; and failing to communicate with other physicians and members of the medical community.

The lawsuit also contains additional counts of corporate liability.

For each of the five counts in the complaint, the plaintiff demands judgment against the defendants in excess of $50,000, plus interest, court costs and additional damages that the court deems appropriate.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The case number is 111003984.

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