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MALPRACTICE CASE ITURRLADE V. HILO MEDICAL CENTER1Holly L. DesimoneSouthern New Hampshire UniversityIHP-Ethical and Legal ConsiderationsFinal Milestone, Iturralde v. Hilo Medical Center
MALPRACTICE CASE ITURRLADE V. HILO MEDICAL CENTER2Summary/IntroductionIturralde v. Hilo Medical Center (HMC) is a medical malpractice case that involves the plaintiff, Rosalinda Iturralde, acting on behalf of her brother Arturo Iturralde, as well as his estate, and the defendants, Dr. Robert Ricketson and Hilo Medical Center. Rosalinda Iturralde, Arturo’s younger sister and personal caregiver, sued Hilo Medical Center and Dr. Ricketson for negligence and wrong doing regarding a surgical procedure performed on Arturo. The case timeline includes Mr. Iturralde’s care for treatment at HMC beginning January 24, 2001, with thefinal court decision in favor of Rosalinda Iturralde made on September 10, 2007. Arturo Iturralde began his treatment with Dr. Ricketson, an orthopedic surgeon, for increased weakness in his legs that resulted in several falls. Arturo was diagnosed with degenerative spondylolisthesis with stenosis at L4-5, a condition that exerts pressure on the nerves. It was recommended by Dr. Ricketson that Mr. Iturralde have surgery to correct this condition. Mr. Iturralde underwent spinal fusion surgery performed by Dr. Ricketson at Hilo Medical Center on January 29, 2001. The agreed upon surgery involved the placement of two spinal rods to form a bilateral fixation of the spine. Dr. Ricketson directed HMC to order the required supplies for this surgery, specifically the M8 Titanium CD Horizon Kit needed for the operation. This needed medical equipment was ordered from Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA. The necessary shipments came from two different facilities, one in Memphis and the other in Tulane. HCM received the shipments on January 27, 2001, two days prior to Arturo’s scheduled surgery and the equipment was sterilized and sent to the operating room per hospital policy. A complete inventory of the kit was not performed until the day of the procedure. Prior to the surgery, Dr. Ricketson was informed that an inventory of the kits had not been performed, but the doctor
MALPRACTICE CASE ITURRLADE V. HILO MEDICAL CENTER3chose to begin the procedure, disregarding this information. After Dr. Ricketson started the surgery and removed parts of Mr. Iturralde’s spine, he was informed that the necessary rods needed for surgery were missing from the kit. Despite an extensive search of the hospital and communications with the kit manufacturer, it was determined that the titanium rods could not be located and used for the procedure. Dr. Ricketson decided to continue with the surgery and improvised by implanting a section from a surgical screwdriver shaft that had come in the kit.