Dr. Darnell Blackmon is a Tulsa-based orthopedic surgeon who is being sued for medical malpractice after performing hip replacement surgery on Robert Leland Kidd. Fox 23 News spoke to a medical professional that wished to remain anonymous concerning a troubling trend of poor surgical outcomes that she has personally witnessed. She has seen patients of Dr. Blackmon who have experienced “too many bad outcomes.” Dr. Blackmon has since responded indicating that the majority of his patients are “extremely happy” with the care they receive. He says that the primary reason for a poor surgical result is patients who are not compliant with the post-surgery regimen for treatment that he prescribes.
- Leg: Raymond Jones underwent ankle surgery performed by Dr. Blackmon. Shortly after the procedure, he noticed the presence of puss and blood accumulating near the wound that was evidence of a severe infection. Blackmon prescribed antibiotics for the infection; however, the problem worsened and Jones later had to have the leg amputated. He is now adapting to life using a prosthetic leg.
- Foot: Cynthia Smith, the daughter of Lucille Elmore-Wright, explained her mother saw Blackmon for treatment of a bunion. After conducting the procedure, blood flow to her foot was unable to be restored. She visited another physician who told her that the foot must be amputated.
- Hip: Robert Leland Kidd's attorney, who has filed a medical malpractice claim against Dr. Blackmon, says the replacement hip that Blackmon implanted was “too small”. He says his client is pursuing compensation for his life-altering condition. Dr. Blackmon has disputed the allegations in the claim.
Prior Disciplinary Action
A suspension of 20 days and a $50,000 fine was recommended by the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure recently for Dr. Blackmon. He had established a business arrangement with Enhance Skin & Body Spa. Apparently, he assumed the role of medical director for the facility, which was since found to be inappropriately dispensing testosterone. A federal judge recently levied a $296,000 fine against Blackmon in this matter.
In the meanwhile, Dr. Blackmon's case involving the hip replacement is underway. Over 330,000 such replacements are performed annually. Common conditions that lead to replacement surgery include osteoarthritis, breaks or dislocation, as well as hip trauma. The procedures typically take less than 90 minutes and have a low rate of complications. The size of the replacement hip is usually selected based on the results of x-rays.
Infections Following Orthopedic Procedures
Infections such as the one incurred by Kidd, are the result of bacterial exposure. Some surgeons prescribe antibiotics as a preventative measure. Symptoms are likely to include pain, redness, and significant swelling in the area. It is possible that bacteria may gain entry to the body and infect the area of the fracture after the wound has healed.
Prosthetics such as those used for replacing limbs have continued to develop. They are fused to the body of the patient and can allow the individual to function at a reasonable level. Patients must undergo therapy to begin properly using their replacement limb.