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DONALDSON v. MAFFUCCI. (11/24/59)

November 24, 1959

DONALDSON, APPELLANT,
v.
MAFFUCCI.



Appeals, Nos. 360 and 361, Jan. T., 1958, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Bedford County, Sept. T., 1956, No. 126, in case of Merrill Donaldson et ux. v. Victor Maffucci, Jr. Order affirmed. Trespass for personal injuries. Before SNYDER, P.J. Motion to take off compulsory non-suit refused. Plaintiffs appealed.

COUNSEL

Michael Hahalyak, for appellants.

Samuel H. Jubelirer, with him Ellis William Van Horn, Jr., for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 397 Pa. Page 550]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

Dorothy Donaldson, the wife-appellant, was injured in an automobile accident in the late evening of July

[ 397 Pa. Page 55117]

, 1954 and admitted to the Bedford County Memorial Hospital in the early morning of July 18, 1954. The appellee, Dr. Maffucci, her private physician, was summoned and upon his arrival at the hospital an X-ray examination, at his direction, was made of Mrs. Donaldson's left wrist and jaw. This examination indicated a "Colles fracture" of the left wrist consisting of a "fracture of the distal radial metaphysis with marked posterior and lateral displacement of the distal fragment which is rotated posteriorly and over-rides the proximal fragment for about 1cm" and a "fracture of the ulnar styloid". Mrs. Donaldson's upper lip had a 2"-2 1/2" laceration.

Dr. Maffucci then performed a "closed reduction"*fn1 of the fractured wrist, under anesthesia, sutured the lip, directed another X-ray examination and applied a cast to the left arm from the elbow down to the tips of the fingers. Later on the same morning Dr. Maffucci removed the cast and manipulated the fracture, without anesthesia. An X-ray examination then made indicated that the overriding of the bones had been corrected, that there was "about 5mm posterior displacement of the distal fragment ... now rotated posteriorly for only 15 degrees" and that the position was improved over that shown in the previous film. The cast was then reapplied. Dr. Sipes, the senior surgeon of the hospital was called into consultation by Dr. Maffucci; on July 22nd Dr. Sipes recommended an "open reduction"*fn2 which never took place. Another X-ray examination was made on July 23rd which indicated

[ 397 Pa. Page 552]

    that the improvement of position obtained by the second "closed reduction" had been lost. This examination was not interpreted for Dr. Maffucci until after Mrs. Donaldson had left the hospital on July 24th. At the time Mrs. Donaldson left the hospital her left arm from the elbow to the tips of her fingers was enclosed in a cast. Dr. Maffucci did not treat Mrs. Donaldson subsequent to July 24th.

On July 28th Mrs. Donaldson consulted a Dr. Palin, who, upon examination, found some deformity in the wrist and some stiffness in the finger joints. Mrs. Donaldson was readmitted on July 28th to the hospital where a further examination by X-ray and fluoroscope revealed the existence of the same conditions as noted in the X-ray examination of July 23rd. Dr. Palin then attempted another "closed reduction" on July 29th. Mrs. Donaldson left the hospital on July 31st and remained thereafter under Dr. Palin's care. She was readmitted to the hospital on September 20th, it having been discovered that, despite Dr. Palin's attempt at a "closed reduction", a non-union of the bones existed. While at the hospital two "open reductions" were performed by Dr. Palin which included the ...


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