San Francisco Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed After Surgery Goes Wrong, Part 1 of 4

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of a medical malpractice case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court. It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco General, California Pacific Medical Center, or St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury case and its proceedings.)


According to Defendant: Defendant Matt Melon, M.D. first saw plaintiff Ruth Clementine, age 56, on March 1, 2007. Defendant took a history, performed a physical exam, and reviewed an MRI previously taken of the patient’s cervical spine. The MRI showed a syrinx at C7-T1. Plaintiff complained of pain in her right arm and neck, and, to a lesser extent, her left arm. Defendant prescribed pain medication and physical therapy and planned to obtain a repeat MRI to see if the size of the syrinx had changed.

After conservative management of the syrinx proved unsuccessful, defendant recommended surgery. Defendant’s H&P, dictated on July 6, 2007, indicated that he discussed the risks and benefits of surgery with plaintiff and that the risks included paraplegia, cerebrospinal fluid (“CSF”) leak, CSF infection, and hemorrhage. Plaintiff also signed written consents for the procedure. Plaintiff claimed that, before surgery, defendant stated he was 98 percent certain that after plaintiff healed from the surgery, she would be pain free. Defendant denied making any guarantees of success to plaintiff.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

On August 8, 2007, defendant performed a laminectomy and syringo-subarachnoid shunt placement on plaintiff at a local hospital. Defendant placed the shunt and visualized CSF draining from it. The shunt was secured with 6-0 sutures into the surrounding subarachnoid membrane.

While in recovery, plaintiff reported numbness in her left leg and groin. Such complaints were known risks of the procedure. Defendant ordered Decadron to control possible post-operative swelling of the spinal cord. Defendant believed that plaintiff’s complaints were due to normal post-operative swelling and the surgery.

Following plaintiff’s surgery, defendant’s employer suspended him from all patient care and treatment for reasons unrelated to plaintiff’s care and treatment. Defendant’s hospital privileges were also suspended. Defendant expected that he would be re-instated following the investigation.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Contact Information