On May 26, 2020 an appellate court covering Orange County Supreme Court agreed that an Urgent Care Center must stand trial on a claim of medical malpractice which deprived a patient of a substantial opportunity to avoid a below-the-knee amputation. The patient had one visit to an Urgent Care Center (UCC) complaining of left leg pain. A clot was properly suspected but the investigation ordered was limited to an ultrasound study of the veins-none of the arteries in the leg. A Venous Doppler study was performed to rule out a DVT (deep vein thrombosis or clot in vein) which came back negative so the patient was referred to an orthopedist.
An angiogram 17 days later revealed that indeed the patient had a clot causing a complete blockage of the superficial and deep femoral arteries of the left leg. Some 23 days after visiting the UCC the patient underwent surgery to relieve the arterial insufficiency caused by the clot but post operatively the patient lost circulation and developed gangrene. As a result, the patient required a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg. A jury will decide whether the Urgent Care Center departed from accepted standards of care in failing to order arterial testing, or at least have emergently referred the patient to a vascular surgeon or emergency room. Joyner v Middletown Medical, PC, 2020 WL 2171607