Yesterday a Salt Lake jury returned a defense verdict on a podiatry malpractice claim after a week-long trial. Tripp v. Anderson, C/N 180900310 (Judge Andrew Stone).
The care involved a Morton’s Neuroma surgery in the patient’s left second webspace in January, 2015. Dr. Mikol Anderson, a podiatrist, removed a 3.1 cm neuroma but Ms. Tripp had an extended and difficult post-operative course with pain. She treated with Dr. Anderson for a year, and went on to treat with several other providers. Two years later, Dr. Jonathan Faux (orthopedic surgeon) diagnosed a stump/recurrent neuroma and performed a revision neuroma surgery.
Dr. Faux was also the the plaintiff’s expert on negligence and causation. The defense experts were Nathan Davis, DPM and Paul Winterton, M.D.
Dr. Faux testified that Dr. Anderson failed to cut the intermetatarsal ligament in the initial surgery (which is needed in order to obtain a full nerve resection), and that he failed to resect the nerve back enough— making it more likely to form a painful stump/recurrent neuroma. Dr. Faux alleged that during surgery he found a nerve ending under the uncut intermetatarsal ligament with a stump distal to the ligament. The nerve was essentially under the weight-bearing portion of the foot, producing pain and discomfort. He therefore concluded that Dr. Anderson’s surgery was substandard.
The defense argued that recurrent/stump neuromas are a known risk of the surgery, that Dr. Anderson’s operative report documents that he cut the intermetatarsal ligament, and that the pathology report showed that he removed an appropriate amount of nerve. Other issues included Dr. Anderson’s operative technique, the size of the neuroma removed, the webspace and anatomy size, and Dr. Faux’s intraoperative findings.
The jury was out for close to three hours before returning a defense verdict finding no breach in the standard of care.