A New Jersey high school student forced to attend her prom in a wheelchair was awarded $1.2 million following a successful medical malpractice lawsuit.
Samantha Alpert – now 22 – was once an all-star tennis player at Livingstone High School, according to NJ.com. After a biopsy on her leg went wrong, the woman suffered nerve damage that left her in a wheelchair for months.
Lawyers for Alpert say orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Robbins didn’t follow procedure properly.
The girl had scheduled a surgery to address concerns over benign bone growth, which is medically termed osteochondroma.
However, the surgery went awry when Robbins cut a nerve in Alpert’s leg.
For months afterward, Alpert was confined to a wheelchair. She had to undergo months of intensive physical therapy and rehabilitation before regaining the ability to walk.
NJ.com reports that Alpert had to attend both her high school prom and graduation ceremony in a wheelchair.
The biopsy, says attorney Bruce Nagel, was an “unnecessary surgery,” and could have been done along with the removal of the excess bone growth, rather than as a separate procedure entirely.
On top of having her mobility severely – albeit temporarily – restricted, Alpert won’t be able to play tennis for the rest of her life.
A jury awarded Alpert $1.2 million compensation after finding that Robbins hadn’t informed his patient or her parents about other, less-intrusive treatments.
“What Dr. Robbins did was inexcusable and he permanently injured Samantha,” Nagel told a reporter. “We are grateful the jury held him accountable for his substandard medical care.”
NJ.com reports that calls to Robbins’ attorney weren’t answered.
A similar case recounted on Justia shows that Robbins was previously sued by another former patient in 2011.
In that instance, too, the plaintiffs argued that Robbins had performed a medically unnecessary procedure which caused damage to a patient’s ability to walk. However, a verdict was returned in favor of the doctor before being sent to an appellate court.