The Case of the Misaligned Knee Replacement

Transcript: Hi.  I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David Holub.  We frequently do cases in medical malpractice, and when we do a medical malpractice case, we learn an awful lot about the subject, and one case I’d like to share with you is the case of the misaligned knee replacement.  Now in this particular case, a doctor removed the patient’s normal knee joint that he was born with and replaced it with a mechanical prosthetic knee joint.  One of the key things that has to happen during this process is the knee joint of the upper part of the leg and the lower part of the leg has to be properly aligned.  Now you can imagine this if you’re standing and you take one foot and point it inward, you have a misalignment.  If you take the same foot and you point it outward, you have a misalignment.  If the knee joint is not aligned properly, when a person tries to walk it will cause the joint to tear at the tissues and cause pain, and can even dislocate a knee cap.  So in our particular case, the knee was not properly aligned, and once he tried to walk, particularly bending the knee and going up stairs, the knee cap would slide over to the side in great pain and become dislocated.  Now, how do you find out that the doctors didn’t do this alignment correctly?  One of the things that you do is you check for x-rays, and when you look at the x-rays, you can put a protractor or a compass up against the x-ray and you can find what the alignment is of the upper leg bone and the lower leg bone and the joint, and you can tell if that x-ray was taken right after a surgery if there’s proper alignment.  One of the things doctors are supposed to do is use lasers to align and check the alignment before they finish a knee replacement, and they also are supposed to check with an x-ray post-surgery so that they can verify by looking at the x-ray if the alignment is correct.  So, that’s just some information about a misaligned knee and how we worked through the case to find out what was wrong with that knee.  For more informational videos, check out our website.