Our client, a renowned and highly successful orthopedic surgeon who specialized in hip and knee-replacement surgery, took out a high-premium, high-coverage disability policy with Certain Underwriters of Lloyd’s. High-end disability policies are often referred to colloquially as “Cadillac” policies. In this case, it was more like a “Rolls-Royce” policy. The orthopedic surgeon paid very high premiums for high-end coverage that only Lloyds makes available in the marketplace to doctors.
Many people do not realize just how physically demanding the job of orthopedic surgery really can be. For example, during an anterior approach hip-replacement surgery the surgeon stands on a hard floor for hours at a time and must manipulate and control the dead weight of the patient’s leg – which is essentially disconnected from the rest of their body during the surgery. To put that in perspective, the leg of a 150 lb person weighs an average of 26 lbs. A larger person could easily have a leg weighing 50 lbs. The surgeon must manipulate that weight throughout the surgery, which often requires the surgeon to remain in very non-ergonomic positions. Furthermore, orthopedic surgery often requires the use of heavy, battery-powered drills that the surgeon must hold and operate while leaning over the patient. The orthopedic surgeon was performing these types of surgeries back-to-back-to-back. Lastly, in many procedures the surgeon wears a lead apron weighing 50 pounds in order to take intraoperative x-rays to confirm that the procedure is being done properly.