Prosthetics clinic sued for negligence over faulty limb

By Jim Boyle | Oct 9, 2014

A Delaware County man says that a prosthetics company he has used since 1987 did

A Delaware County man says that a prosthetics company he has used since 1987 did

not properly fit his replacement leg during his last visit, causing a painful infection to spread on his limb, according to a personal injury suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

John Campopiano, or Broomall, Pa., seeks damages in excess of $150,000 from Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, headquartered in Texas with offices in Philadelphia and Havertown, Pa. The plaintiff says negligence on the company's part led to his experiencing excruciating pain and suffering.

According to the complaint, Campopiano was involved in a severe car accident in November 1987 that forced the amputation of his right leg above the knee. He has needed numerous replacements for the artificial limb over the years because of non-preventable wear and tear, relying on the expertise of Hanger's experts each time, according to the complaint.

At his last replacement appointment in September 2013, the suit says, the process was performed a little differently than from the past. According to the complaint, previously a cast would be made of his remaining leg to check for any changes or disfigurements that may have occurred, a method that ensured a better fit of the artificial limb.

The suit says that no such casts were made in September 2013. After taking basic measurements of Campopiano's leg, a new prosthetic was fabricated and sold to the plaintiff. Two days later, the complaint says, Campopiano felt sharp pain and soreness and noticed inflammation and redness around the limb and a distinctive odor.

When he returned to the prosthetics clinic in October 2013, Campopiano was told to use hand soap instead of a pull sock to slip the artificial limb on, the claim says. This would stop any further damage to the plaintiff's leg. The complaint makes a point to emphasize that Campopiano was told to continue using the prosthetic.

A few days later, on Oct. 10, 2013, Campopiano went to his local emergency room because of extreme soreness and overall unhealthy look to his leg. A vascular surgeon admitted the plaintiff to the hospital and started treatment on a severe infection that developed around the prosthetic. According to the complaint, Campopiano was placed on intravenous antibiotics and a painful procedure was performed to drain an abscess on his right thigh.

Campopiano remained hospitalized for five days, with continued IV care and dressing of the wound. After discharge, he was sent to an extended care facility for continued treatment of his open wound. Following his stay at the facility, Campopiano was assigned a visiting nurse who came by his home once a day for three weeks to change the bandages and monitor the wound.

According to the complaint, Campopiano returned to Hanger soon after, who placed the artificial limb back on the residual leg. During a follow-up with his vascular surgeon, Campopiano was told to discard the artificial limb entirely and allow the remaining leg to completely heal.

The plaintiff says his injuries and ongoing pain and suffering were a direct result of representatives from Hanger improperly measuring, fabricating and placing the artificial limb to his leg. The company's employees failed to breach the basic standard of care owed to Campopiano and failed to recognize the serious infection that had begun to form during subsequent visits.

The plaintiff is represented by Mark Sophocles in Paoli, Pa.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-05697-JD.

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