Katie Shreffler, of Broward County Florida, was awarded $2.15 million for her medical malpractice claim against Dr. Marc Philippon, a well known orthopaedic hip surgeon. When Shreffler, who had been a ballerina for 15 years, underwent surgery for pain in her hip, she never expected that 10 years later she would still be in pain, would need to walk with a crutch, and that she would need more surgery to correct the damage done form the original procedure. This ended her career as a dancer. Attorneys for Shreffler stated that she was the victim of an unnecessary surgery and Philippon was using the teenager for practice. Lawyers for the doctor disagreed by stating that her pain and problems were not caused by the surgery. Rather they were caused by Shreffler being born with an abnormal hip.
The surgery, called a hip arthroscopy, took place July 31, 1997. The surgeon makes a small incision in the patient and inserts a camera to look at the hip area. The doctor then makes another incision for a device, in this surgery a bone shaver, to provide the treatment. In Shreffler’s case, a different doctor discovered grinding in her hip caused by torn cartilage. It appears that Philippon put too much pressure on the bone shaver, or may have broken a shaver during the surgery and caused cartilage damage while retrieving it. Shreffler was one of the first patients Philippon had performed this particular surgery on. The $2.15 million settlement will cover Shreffler’s past suffering, her future medical treatment and her inability to work. Attorneys for the doctor said they would appeal the jury’s decision.