Democratic Candidate Steve Henry sued for Medical Malpractice
By Ryan Alessi, Herald-Leader
A 22-year-old woman is alleging in a lawsuit that she had to receive a new hip after surgeons, including Democratic candidate for governor Steve Henry, damaged the bone during an operation and failed to check X-rays later that would have revealed their mistake.
Amie Fuchs, of Finchville in Shelby County, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Henry, an orthopedic surgeon, and two other surgeons, the University of Louisville Medical School Practice Association and University Orthopaedic Associates Inc. in Jefferson Circuit Court.
“Defendant Stephen Henry, M.D., was negligent in his care and treatment of (Fuchs) by acts of omission and/or commission,” the suit says. Fuchs is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, but doesn’t specify amounts.
Henry contends the surgery was conducted using a motion-picture X-ray device, and that any damage to Fuchs’ hip occurred after the operation, said Richard Schiller, Henry’s attorney.
The lawsuit, which has not previously been made public, was filed in August 2005 but won’t be heard in court until June 2008, said Fuchs’ attorney Maury Kommor.
Kommor said the issue stems from an Aug. 2, 2004, procedure in which Henry and two other surgeons operated on both of Fuchs’ legs to remove metal pins and hardware put in after a car accident April 28, 2002, broke both her legs.
During the surgery, Fuchs’ left femoral neck, which is below the hip joint, was broken.
“The post-operative X-rays were taken after the surgery but never reviewed by the doctors,” Kommor said. “She stayed overnight in excruciating pain.” The next day, when Henry’s colleague, Dr. Justin Ogden, checked in on Fuchs, she told him of the pain in her left leg. He checked her X-rays and scheduled another surgery for Aug. 4, Kommor said.
By the time they operated, the blood supply had been cut off to the bone for so long that part of it died, the suit says. “That’s why they take the X-rays — to catch things like this,” Kommor said.
Fuchs had to have her hip replaced 15 months later, Kommor said.
Schiller, Henry’s attorney, said the surgeons would have caught any kind of damage during the operation. “The thought is that it happened sometime after that,” especially because the bone would have been fragile after Henry and the other surgeons removed a metal rod from it, Schiller said.
“You have an eggshell hip,” Schiller said. “It’s a known complication.”