Two medical claim settlements approved in the Court of Claims of Ohio on July 20 will cost the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center a total of $200,000.
Both claims were filed on July 15 by attorney Craig Tuttle of Leeseberg & Valentine in Columbus, but Tuttle said in a follow-up interview that, in both cases, his clients and the Wexner Center were able to reach agreements before the documents were filed in court.
In the first complaint filed, Tuttle explained that his client, Mackenna Mayfield, of Hilliard, Ohio, went to the Wexner Center for medical care and treatment in May 2014.
Tuttle argued that Wexner Center employees failed to “timely and appropriately diagnose and treat” Mayfield’s compartment syndrome in her left leg.
Compartment syndrome, which usually results from bleeding or swelling after injury, occurs when there is an excessive pressure build up inside an enclosed space in the body. The high pressure delays or prevents the flow of blood to and from tissues.
Tuttle explained in the complaint that the Wexner Center’s negligence caused Mayfield to suffer the loss of two muscles in her leg, permanent scarring and partial loss of function in her left leg and foot.
He also said that these injuries and ailments resulted in Mayfield incurring “hospital, medical and other related expenses.”
In a settlement agreement document filed on the same day and at the same time as the complaint, the Wexner Center agreed to pay Mayfield $75,000. The settlement stated that Mayfield would not make further claims against OSU in regards to this case and also said that the settlement and subsequent payment did not equate to admission of liability by OSU.
Tuttle filed another claim against the Wexner Center on behalf of his client, Jeremy Tester of Duffield, Virginia, on July 15.
In the complaint filed on Mayfield’s behalf, Tuttle said his client was treated at the Wexner Center in September 2013 for a broken tibia and fibula in his left leg.
Tuttle said that, during the surgery, Wexner Center employees caused “significant injury” to Tester’s left knee.
Tester suffered a full thickness lesion, or a deep tear in the cartilage that covers the ends of bones to prevent them from rubbing together, in the area where the kneecap rests on top of the thighbone.
The injury has caused Tester “pain and suffering and mental anguish,” Tuttle argued in the complaint. He further stated that, since the surgery, Tester has “incurred hospital, medical and other related expenses for the necessary treatment of his knee injuries.”
In a settlement agreement document filed on July 15, the Wexner Center agreed to pay Tester $125,000. As part of the settlement, Tester agreed to not pursue further claims against OSU in regards to this case. The settlement and payment by the Wexner Center does not mean OSU admits liability.
Tuttle said he appreciates how the Wexner Center handled its response to the claims.
“On behalf of the clients, we appreciate OSU’s attitude in trying to resolve those claims,” he said. “It is good of the provider to be proactive in trying to resolve issues.”
The Wexner Center did not respond to a request for comment.
The payment of $200,000 in these two settlements follows a $25,000 settlement approved by the Ohio Court of Claims in June for a lawsuit against the Wexner Center by the estate of James Thaxton Jr.
Thaxton was an inmate at Mansfield Correctional Institution who, prior to his death, filed a lawsuit after he claimed surgeons left a surgical retractor in his stomach following an operation at the Wexner Center.
Editor’s Note 7/28: The feature photo accompanying this article has been replaced.