Case Archive
Physical Therapy
Ref. # 18128

A Michigan janitor suffered a back strain while pushing a piano. After one month of physical therapy, during which he did well, he was started on bridging with leg raise on a thermal ball. A student physical therapist, not the managing physical therapist, directed the patient through the procedure, which was comprised of two sets of five repetitions. Three days later the patient complained of severe pain (9 on a scale of 1-10) in the right lower extremity, buttock and back. A lumbosacral MRI demonstrated disc herniation at right L3-L4 and right L5-S1. A medQuest physical therapist opined that the patient was negligently progressed too quickly, which probably caused the herniation. The patient's two subsequent surgeries were preventable.

Physical Therapy
Ref. # 74118

A 47 year old New York woman fractured the right patella and underwent an open reduction and internal fixation. Physical therapy at the hospital began two weeks later. The staples had been removed and the knee was swollen and braced. Restricted motion was 0 to 95 degrees. Two days later the patient was placed on an exercise bicycle. While the second foot was strapped to the pedal, the pedals moved, refracturing the patella. A medQuest physical therapist opined the use of the bicycle was negligently premature. The knee was not healed and was therefore subject to the negative effects of too much external pressure.

Physical Therapy
Ref. # 94897

An Alabama man had a 20-year history of C-7 quadriplegia and a 5-year history of total bed rest with attendant care at home. In order to become limber enough to get into his wheelchair, he underwent physical therapy at home, which consisted of 11 treatments. During the last treatment the physical therapy assistant bent the patient's leg back and a pop occurred. Four days later left thigh swelling and leg length discrepancy were observed. The patient was diagnosed with inter-trochanteric fracture. He underwent surgery with an extended recovery period. A medQuest physical therapist reported the attending physical therapist and assistant failed to obtain appropriate Doctor supervision for a complicated, debilitated patient at high risk for fracture. There was a negligent delay in recognizing the fracture and making the appropriate referral. Furthermore, the physical therapist failed to obtain informed consent and failed to supervise the assistant.

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