By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 21, 2021
SCRANTON – A woman who alleges she suffered arm and neurological damage during a tenodesis surgery last year has brought a professional liability action against the hospital system through which the procedure was conducted.
Dontasia Britt of Kingston first filed suit in the Lackawanna Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 9 versus Community Medical Center (doing business as “Geisinger – Community Medical Center (GCMC) and Geisinger Clinic, both of Scranton.
“The plaintiff, Ms. Britt, is a 26 year-old woman who sought treatment with Dr. Gillette, the employee, agent, and/or ostensible agent of defendants, after suffering a SLAP tear in the left shoulder as the result of a workplace injury. The plaintiff, Ms. Britt, consented to a left shoulder arthroscopy with possible labral repair and biceps tenodesis to repair the SLAP tear. On Aug. 19, 2020, Dr. Jeffery Gillette commenced surgery upon the plaintiff, Britt, at GCMC,” the suit says.
“During surgery, Dr. Gillette noted that the biceps tendon was intact; however, he decided to tenotomize the biceps tendon and to perform a tenodesis surgery using a sub-pectoral approach. After unnecessarily tenotomizing the biceps tendon, Dr. Gillette entered the surgical field in the wrong interval, and, instead of realizing his error, continued to search for the biceps tendon by dissecting in and around the brachial plexus, causing extensive nerve damage.”
The suit specifically alleges that Dr. Gillette never located the biceps tendon during the tenodesis procedure because he entered through the wrong interval and was searching for the biceps tendon in the wrong region – and that after dissecting around the radial and ulnar nerves for a “significant amount of time,” Dr. Gillette eventually abandoned the procedure to prevent “further soft tissue damage.”
The suit continues that Dr. Gillette’s failure to realize that he had entered the wrong interval and persistent dissection in an effort to locate the biceps tendon, caused severe nerve injuries resulting in “partial and/or complete loss of function in Ms. Britt’s left shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand.”
“The plaintiff’s injuries were the direct and proximate result of the negligence and carelessness of the defendants, GCMC and Geisinger Clinic, by and through their agents, servants, ostensible agents and/or employees, specifically, Dr. Gillette, in failing to recognize that he was operating in the wrong interval and proceeding to dissect through the tissues and nerves of the brachial plexus in a search for the biceps tendon,” per the suit.
“As a result of the injuries she sustained due to the negligence and carelessness of the defendants, GCMC and Geisinger Clinic, by and through their agents, servants, ostensible agents and/or employees, specifically Dr. Gillette, the plaintiff, underwent unnecessary testing, required an additional surgery and has suffered permanent neurologic damage. Despite Ms. Britt’s persistent injuries and limited improvement following his initial surgery, Dr. Gillette discouraged Ms. Britt from undergoing an exploratory surgery to identify and repair the nerve damage that he caused during the tenodesis surgery and instead suggested that Britt consult with a neurologist.”
On Dec. 8, 2020, Dr. Daniel Zlotolow performed an exploratory surgery that allegedly revealed extensive scarring of the branches of the medial and posterior cords of the brachial plexus, with the ulnar nerve and motor branch nerves to the biceps sustaining the most significant injury during Dr. Gillette’s negligent dissection and search for the biceps tendon during the prior tenodesis surgery.
For a lone count of negligence, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit required for compulsory arbitration pursuant to the applicable Statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the Local Rules of Court.
The plaintiffs are represented by Patrick J. Doyle Jr. and Caelie M. Sweigart of Anzalone Law Offices, in Wilkes-Barre.
The defendants have not yet obtained legal counsel.
Lackawanna Court of Common Pleas case 2021-CV-03851
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at email@example.com