During Samantha Alpert’s senior year at Livingston High School, she was informed by her doctors that she had a benign bone growth in her left leg called osteochondroma. Steven Robbins, her orthopedic surgeon, wanted to check for cancer and performed a biopsy on June 5, 2013. According to a medical malpractice lawsuit, filed on behalf of Alpert, during the procedure Robbins mistakenly cut into her saphenous nerve. This alleged negligence has left Alpert with chronic pain and numbness in her left leg to this day. The incident also confined her to a wheelchair for several months.
Alpert, now 22, was a star tennis player for her high school, which is located in Livingston, New Jersey. Because of the botched biopsy her lawyers claimed in court that she will never play tennis again and has trouble running or jogging. According to the suit the biopsy was unnecessary and Robbins never obtained proper consent from Alpert or her parents to perform the operation. Both Robbins and the Center for Orthopedics, which is located in West Orange, New Jersey, were named as defendants in the suit.
“What Dr. Robbins did was inexcusable and he permanently injured Samantha,” said one of the attorneys representing the Alpert family. “We are grateful the jury held him accountable for his substandard medical care.”
After more than four years the two sides could not come to a settlement out of court and the medical malpractice lawsuit went to trial in October 2017. The Essex County jury heard from both sides over the course of a two-week trial in a New Jersey Superior Court. After deliberating, the jury returned with a verdict in favor of Alpert, claiming that Robbins never informed the plaintiff of her options or the risks. The verdict came with a $1.2 million award.