Delayed Surgery Will Cost Accountable Health $7.2M

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Delayed surgery on a broken thumb cost a freelance videographer his livelihood, and will cost Accountable Health Care IPA over $7.2 million, a Los Angeles jury decided Thursday.

The state court jury awarded plaintiff Terry LaRue, a freelance sports videographer who had to wait six weeks for surgery on his broken left thumb, a total of $7,225,000.

LaRue’s attorney Robert Gianelli said in a statement on Friday that the surgery should have occurred within two weeks of LaRue’s injury.

“Despite being advised on the seriousness of Terry’s injury, Accountable took no steps to authorize surgery for his hand,” Gianelli said.

Gianelli said LaRue suffered a Bennett’s fracture while working two years ago, and now suffers from chronic pain and has minimal movement in this injured thumb.

A Bennett’s fracture is a lesion on the metacarpal-trapezial joint beneath the thumb and often is mistaken for a sprained thumb, according to the American Medical Society.

Instead of referring LaRue to a specialist right away, Gianelli said Accountable repeatedly referred LaRue to doctors who were not hand surgeons – delaying treatment.

Accountable was supposed to maintain a network of suitable medical professionals to treat LaRue and others but did not, Gianelli said.

Because of the delay, LaRue’s thumb “healed in a misaligned position, resulting in complex regional pain syndrome” due to nerve damage, Gianelli said.

The thumb injury means LaRue no longer can hold a video camera with both hands and has lost income as a result, Gianelli said.

In a phone interview Friday, Gianelli – a partner at Gianelli & Morris in Los Angeles – said LaRue is no longer capable of working as a videographer due to the injury and delayed treatment.

A jury delivered the verdict Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Accountable Health Care is based in Signal Hill, California, and did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday.


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