Lawsuit Claims Nurse Injured In Mid-Surgery Explosion


By Jordan Nathaniel Fenster

A hospital worker says he was injured when a machine called a “spider” that moves a patients' extremities exploded during an operation, and he is suing the hospital for damages.

David White of Madison was a certified nurse anesthetist on Aug. 4, 2021 at MidState Medical Center in Meriden when, he said in a lawsuit filed January against Hartford Healthcare, a limb-positioning machine exploded, mid-surgery.

The spider limb positioner device is a hydraulic arm, used to manipulate and stabilize a patient’s extremities during surgery. White claims in his lawsuit that when the surgeon pressed on the pedal controlling the device, it “exploded or separated under pressure with one or more parts of the device striking Mr. White’s left shin causing a deep laceration.”

White claims that Hartford Healthcare employees improperly installed, maintained and used the spider device, which he called “a substantial factor in causing David White to suffer serious and painful injuries, some or all of which may be permanent,” the lawsuit states.

That explosion resulted in a variety of health issues, the lawsuit claims, in addition to the damage allegedly done to White’s left leg. According to the lawsuit, White contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as “flesh eating disease,” cellulitis, scarring and disfigurement, multiorgan dysfunction, liver shock, nerve and tendon issues, as well as depression, anxiety and a “fear of loud noises,” among other ailments.

"The injuries described in the complaint are straight out of the medical records," said White's attorney, William Bloss of New Haven and Bridgeport-based law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder. "They followed sequentially after the original, the original trauma. In some ways shocking how this developed, but that's how it developed."

“As a further result of said injuries, David White has suffered a loss of earnings and/or earning capacity, and further has incurred medical and hospital bills, all to his financial loss,” the lawsuit claims.

White’s wife and three minor children are also plaintiffs in the case, claiming that their relationships suffered as a result of his medical issues. The family is seeking the base minimum of a $15,000 settlement, at the least.

"In any serious case, there's going to be a loss of marital consortium claim," Bloss explained.

In its response, lawyers for Hartford Healthcare claim it “lacks knowledge or information sufficient to admit or deny such allegations,” putting the burden of proof on the plaintiffs, and that White’s alleged injuries were caused by the acts or omissions of third parties for which HHC has no legal responsibility.”

Hartford Healthcare is represented by Mark K. Ostrowski of Hartford-based Shipman & Goodwin, who did not respond to requests for comment.

In May, Hartford Healthcare filed a motion requesting a confidentiality agreement and protective order, which was granted.

The case is being heard by Judge James Wilson Abrams in New Haven Superior Court. Jury selection is scheduled for Oct. 22, 2024.


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