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Nerve damage after surgery leads to $1.75M settlement 

Nerve damage that left a man unable to work in the wake of surgery to remove a cyst has resulted in a $1.75 million settlement, his attorneys report.

Ryan Langley and Charles Hodge of Hodge & Langley Law Firm in Spartanburg report that their client suffered an injury to his ulnar nerve during the outpatient operation.

“The day after the procedure, he came in and said, ‘I can’t feel my pinkie and part of my thumb’,” noted Langley. “Instead of getting an MRI or a nerve conduction study or even an ultrasound, [the physician] just said we’ll sit on it for a while and see what happens.” 

Langley said that his 51-year-old client was eventually diagnosed with a laceration, but during the ensuing months after the initial surgery, no ultrasounds, CT scans, x-rays, or nerve conduction studies were done by the treating surgeon. Eventually, a hand specialist ordered an inconclusive MRI before doing an exploratory procedure. A nerve grafting operation followed but it was unable to fix the problem. 

Langley said the original physician should have done more than wait and see. 

“The doctor said he thought it was getting better, but he never got a hand consult or a specialist consult. Ultimately, by the time the guy got to a hand specialist, it was too late,” he said. 

Langley said that the plaintiff’s hand had atrophied and he was no longer able to work as a machinist. 

“There was a pretty significant lost wage component of it,” Langley said. 

The issue was complicated by the fact that the client had gone back to work after the initial operation, which Langley said opened a defense argument that the two later surgeries had caused the man’s difficulties. A nerve conduction study was ordered, but there was no evidence that it was actually done, leaving a lack of proof as to the degree to which the nerve may have been lacerated during the initial procedure. 

Langley said the defense tried to mitigate the damages by contending that while the plaintiff may no longer be able to work as a machinist, he could still find employment elsewhere. 

Langley said it took two years of litigation to resolve the matter. The names of all parties were kept confidential under the terms of the settlement. 


Amount: $1.75 million 

Injuries alleged: Nerve injury and lost wages 

Case name: Confidential 

Venue: Confidential 

Date of settlement: January 2022 

Special damages: $98,000 in medical expenses and $900,000 in lost wages 

Attorneys for plaintiff: T. Ryan Langley and Charles Hodge of Hodge & Langley Law Firm in Spartanburg 

Attorney for defendant: Confidential 

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