On September 25, 2018, a jury in Queens County held a rehabilitation facility responsible for the severe injuries suffered by a patient while undergoing physical therapy. The plaintiff/patient was an adult female who was told to stand and walk while holding onto parallel bars - unassisted. The patient fell and thereafter developed a compartment syndrome in her left lower leg. Compartment syndrome develops when there is an increased pressure within a muscle compartment of the leg or arm resulting in swelling of the soft tissues so much as to compress the nerves and blood supply. This is a medical emergency because the swelling result in tissue death.
The patient underwent a fasciotomy of he lower leg which involves cutting the fascia (or sheath of tissue enclosing the muscle) to relieve pressure on the nerves and blood vessels. The patient then required a split thickness skin graft over the operative site. Unfortunately, she developed blood clots, systemic blood infection (septicemia), a pressure ulcer and was left with a permanent deformity of her leg. The jury agreed with the plaintiff's theory that the rehab facility departed from accepted standards of practice in failing to assign at least two people to help the patient while she was attempting to walk thru the parallel bars. The defendant rehab facility is now required to pay $765,000 to the plaintiff for her pain and suffering and her diminished ability to enjoy life. Cuadrado v. Brookhaven Rehabilitation and Health Care Center LLC, 2018 WL 5301683