State of Iowa to pay patient $350,000 following negligence lawsuit

A University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics patient filed a lawsuit in 2018 after alleged negligence during a 2016 hip surgery.

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Tate Hildyard

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are seen on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

Lillian Poulsen, News Reporter


The State of Iowa agreed to pay a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics patient a $350,000 settlement because of alleged negligence from a hip surgery in 2016.

Following a right total hip arthroplasty on Feb. 9, 2016, patient Erin Jacobson experienced problems post-operatively including weakness, numbness, and tingling pain, according to the lawsuit.

Jacobson was later diagnosed with femoral nerve palsy as a result of UIHC doctor Melissa Willenborg’s improper use of a retractor, the lawsuit alleges.

The UI Physicians group will pay the full amount, pending State Appeal Board approval, to Jacobsen. 

On July 9, 2018, the State Appeal Board denied payment to Jacobsen and agreed to resolve the dispute if she dropped her claims against UIHC. The State of Iowa approved the compromise and settlement in 2020. The state still denies negligence. 

A study from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine published in 2019 found that the anterior acetabular retractor – the one used in Jacobson’s surgery – must be placed properly to avoid femoral nerve palsy. 

The State Appeal Board unanimously approved the settlement on Monday.

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