Medical device manufacturer and doctor being sued by Louisiana woman

By Kyle Barnett | Apr 3, 2012

NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana woman is suing over the alleged malfunctioning of a medical device implanted in her spine.

Paulette Marie Stall filed suit on March 15 against Synthes Inc, Evalina L. Burger and LSU Hospital in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Stall claims she previously underwent back surgery, but her doctor had moved by the time she needed subsequent care for back pain.

The plaintiff claims Burger misrepresented her qualifications as an orthopedic surgeon and was granted a waiver of qualifications by the state's licensing board so she could take a position as a clinical professor at the LSU Department of Orthopedics. Stall claims she was diagnosed by Burger as having a serious back condition that required immediate surgery including implantation of mesh and screws in her lumbar spine.

The plaintiff asserts Burger did not seek assistance from a more knowledgeable peer for the procedure even though she had never participated in a procedure utilizing the implants before. In addition, the plaintiff alleges Burger let a resident physician complete part of the surgery despite an oral agreement that Burger would complete the procedure alone.

The ensuing surgery allegedly left Stall in excruciating pain and in worsening condition with symptoms including nerve damage. The plaintiff claims due to the faulty medical procedure the implant slipped out of place and did not allow proper healing. Upon removing the implant Burger claimed the screws had fallen out, the suit says.

The defendants are accused of misdiagnosis, failing to communicate with patient regarding off-label usage of implant, completing an unnecessary medical procedure, failing to obtain patient consent to operate, failing to adequately document patient's status, failing to address patient's physical complaints, failing to perform adequate follow-up, failing to inform patient of risks of surgery, failing to disclose health condition of patient, failing to implement reasonable treatment measures, failing to disclose patient was being used as a research subject, failing to maintain proper records, negligent credentialing and failing to abide by oral agreement that Burger would do all of surgery.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for unreasonably dangerous design of product, false marketing, misrepresentation of device risks, not adequately overseeing surgeon, not communicating dangerous conditions of surgery, negligent entrustment of unqualified surgeon, physical pain, mental pain, medical expenses, anatomical disabilities, loss of enjoyment of lifestyle, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, post traumatic stress disorder and redhibition.

Stall is being represented by New Orleans-based attorney David A. Binegar.

The case has been assigned to Division A Judge Tiffany G. Chase.

Case number 2012-02660

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