Ex-Ballerina Wins Malpractice Case vs. Star Surgeon
Doctors who treats pro athletes loses $4.3 million case
A former teen ballerina from Coconut Creek whose hip
was damaged during surgery has won a $4.3 million malpractice case
against a star doctor who has operated on dozens of pro athletes.
Hip specialist Marc Philippon,
who used to practice at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale,
has operated on New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, Miami Dolphins
quarterback Jay Fiedler, golfer Greg Norman, hockey star Mario Lemieux
and Olympic skater Tara Lipinski, among others.
In this case, high school ballerina Katie Shreffler,
now 30, was left with a permanent limp and chronic pain, and can't
walk without a cane after Philippon gouged the smooth lining of
her hip joint trying to repair an injury in 1997, her attorney said.
A Broward County jury awarded Shreffler $2.15 million
after a 2007 trial. Philippon and the hospital lost on appeal, and
the Florida Supreme Court ended the 13-year-old lawsuit last week
by declining to review the case. The award has doubled over the
years, counting interest and legal fees.
"The jury believed he caused her injury, the
judge believed it and the appeals courts believed it," said
Crane Johnstone, Shreffler's attorney.
Shreffler went to Dr.
Marc Philippon after she injured the smooth cartilage that lines
the hip and tore muscles as a result of dancing. He performed a
minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery that was considered experimental
at the time; it is now more common.
While attempting to shave the damaged cartilage, Philippon
used too much force and snapped off two shaving devices in her hip
joint, gouging the cartilage, Johnstone said.
Marc Philippon and
the hospital contended during trial and appeals that he was not
negligent and the damage was a known risk from the procedure.
The malpractice award will be paid by the hospital,
which employed Dr. Marc Philippon
at the time. He now is a partner at the nationally known Steadman
Institute in Vail, Colo.
The attorney for Dr. Marc
Philippon and the hospital could not be reached for comment
despite phone calls to the office.
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