Charles Blevins had arthroscopic knee surgery at an outpatient surgical center. Three days later, he went to an emergency room with a fever and severe pain. He had to undergo further surgery and receive antibiotics for a bacterial infection. He later learned about three other patients who had been operated on at the same outpatient center and who had also contracted an infection with the same bacteria. The surgeon later testified in court that he never confirmed whether the surgical instruments had been sterilized. Furthermore, the facility did not keep records that would have noted if the same instruments had been used on all the infected patients. Blevins went on to have two more operations on the knee and eventually a complete knee replacement.
Blevins is unable to walk more than four blocks. A jury awarded him more than half a million dollars to compensate him for his pain and suffering, but under California’s outdated cap on compensation for injured patients, that number was reduced to $250,000.