Mistrial declared in med mal suit against Belleville orthopedic surgeon

Christina Stueve Jun. 20, 2012, 12:37pm




Attorneys in a medical malpractice case agreed to a mistrial Wednesday in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto's courtroom.

The lawsuit was filed by a disabled chicken farmer against a Belleville orthopedic surgeon.

Cueto was not available for comment.

Jerry Moeser filed the medical malpractice lawsuit against Donald Serot, M.D. and Memorial Hospital in March 2004.

Moeser claimed Serot carelessly misplaced a hip replacement surgical device called the "acetabular component" on Nov. 2, 2004.

Moeser's attorney Joe Bartholomew told the jury during opening arguments that Serot recommended the surgery.

"It is not an easy surgery to go through," Bartholomew said. "When a doctor attempts to cushion the joint, he tries to recreate a cushion."

Moeser visited Serot after surgery and Serot told him "the components are in excellent condition," Bartholomew said.

"He knew that was false. The acetabular component was not in excellent position.

"He never told his patient there was a problem with the acetabular component."

Moeser and his wife who works as a custodian at a local school district then obtained a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon in St. Louis identified by Bartholomew as Dr. Ryan Couchman.

"Dr. Couchman will testify that this is negligence to place an acetabular component in the direction that he saw."

"Dr. Couchman will testify it was malpractice. It was placed in incorrectly. Dr. Serot never advised his patient that this component had moved.

"We will ask you at the end of the case to compensate Mr. Moeser as a result of this surgery done incorrectly."

Serot's attorney Ted Dennis started his portion of the trial by telling the jury Moeser is disabled.

"It has nothing to do with his leg or hip. He has been disabled for a number of years," Dennis said.

Jerry Moeser saw Serot on March 19, 2003 after having a knee replacement in June 1998, Dennis said.

"He had nothing but pain. He was seen twice after surgery. This is not a patient Dr. Serot quit seeing."

About a year passed and Serot tried numerous things. He never did get the knee to turn around, Dennis said.

"A doctor has difficulty telling if it's the knee or the hip," Dennis said.

In September 2004, Serot examined the hip and found Moeser had advanced degenerative arthritis, Dennis said.

The doctor offered treatment of several kinds: arthritis medication, physical therapy, pain medication and surgery.

The issue is how you know the exact location of where the acetabular component should be, Dennis said.

"Dr. Serot will tell you this isn't in a bad position," he said.
"The evidence is going to be that this is a caring doctor who is trying to help this gentleman."

Bartholomew is with Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin of Belleville.

Shane Moskop of Freeark, Harvey and Mendillo of Belleville also represents Serot.

Bartholomew and Dennis have been contacted for comment regarding the mistrial, but have not returned phone calls.

St. Clair County Case number 06L210.

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