NFL Team Doc Ordered to Pay $2.2M for Botched Hip Surgery
Arbitration panel finds surgeon negligent in surgery that left woman with permanent damage to leg.
Published: January 13, 2011
David Chao, MD, a team doctor for the San Diego Chargers, has been ordered to pay $2.2 million to a patient who suffered permanent injuries while undergoing hip surgery at a surgery center in 2007.
Kathleen Adams, the patient who sued Dr. Chao in late 2008, accused the surgeon of lacerating her femoral artery and the surrounding tissue in her right leg during the procedure at Oasis Surgery Center in San Diego, according to local reports. When the injury became clear during the surgery, Dr. Chao transferred Ms. Adams to Scripps Mercy Hospital, where doctors were able to save her leg but were unable to spare her permanent damage, including chronic pain and a limp.
As the case went before a 3-person arbitration panel, Dr. Chao first claimed surgical scissors caused the damage, then said it may have been caused by retractors used during the case. The panel found him negligent and ordered him to pay Ms. Adams $2.2 million.
This is not the first time the Chargers team doctor has found himself in legal trouble, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The paper notes that Dr. Chao has been sued by patients for malpractice, personal injury, negligence or fraud 20 times since 1998 and that the state medical board filed a complaint against him in 2009 related to 2 prior drinking and driving incidents.
Last year, federal drug enforcement authorities accused Dr. Chao of writing more than 100 prescriptions to himself. He denied those allegations, saying the prescriptions were a clerical error; officials say the investigation is still ongoing.
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