Illinois court upholds $1.2M verdict over alleged botched spinal fusion

Marcus Robertson -   Print  |
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An Illinois appeals court upheld a $1.2 million verdict against a spine surgeon who allegedly botched a spinal fusion procedure, according to court documents.

Plaintiff Chaya Brunk sought care from defendant Stephen Pineda, MD, on Sept. 29, 2010 for back pain and leg pain she said stemmed from an earlier car accident. As treatment, Dr. Pineda performed a spinal fusion procedure with a StaXx XDL device.

Court records state that after Ms. Brunk continued to experience pain following the surgery, Dr. Pineda allegedly provided inadequate care when he later removed the screws securing the device but did not remove the device or install new screws.

In February 2013, Ms. Brunk sought care from another orthopedic surgeon, Timothy VanFleet, MD, who discovered that a piece of the fusion device had broken apart and had become lodged into Ms. Brunk's spinal canal.

Dr. Pineda filed an appeal arguing that the statute of limitations had passed by the time Ms. Brunk filed suit, that her expert witness failed to provide applicable standard of care testimony that supported the verdict, and that Ms. Brunk had not established a sufficient case of proximate cause, according to court records.

The appeal was ultimately denied.

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