Humpty Dumpty Expresses Disappointment in All the King’s Men

June 4, 2013

A 49-year old professional fighter went to the Montefiore Medical Center in New York back in 2006, complaining of arm pain. A resident applied an immobilizer, a device used to resolve bursitis of the elbow in the right arm. The device was later removed by a different physician who diagnosed wrist-drop. The professional fighter claimed that the wrist drop was due to the immobilizer the resident applied. The patient blames the placement of the cast for his injury, when his medical record showed he had a splint. According to a published account a defense verdict was returned.

The 49-year old professional fighter case reminds me of a current high profile medical malpractice action. World Wrestling Federation star Hulk Hogan has launched a $50 million dollar malpractice action against his spinal surgeons. Hulk Hogan’s malpractice action alleges that he did not receive significant enough relief from the surgical procedures performed by his physicians to allow him to make millions of dollars in his role as a professional wrestler. Mr. Hogan whose real name is Terry Bollea is 59-years old.

Hulk Hogan’s malpractice action as well as that of the professional fighter mentioned above display a common cause for malpractice claims. Both gentlemen seem to have unrealistic expectations of their physicians and medicine in general. Clearly these men have independently endured decades of all out abuse of their body. In the twilight of their career, they looked to physicians to erase the wholesale disregard of their body over the past decades. When they couldn’t be put back into fighting shape they traded out the boxing ring for the litigation ring. These gentlemen’s physicians would have been well served to have given their patients a document up front that said there were no guarantees to career extension resulting from medical care.