Paralysis Following Spinal Hematoma: $3.75 Million Settlement
2018 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Delay in the diagnosis and treatment of a spinal cord hematoma while recovering from stroke results in paralysis
The plaintiff was a 60-year-old man who suffered paralysis from the waist down and neurogenic bowel and bladder, due to an alleged delay in the diagnosis and treatment of a spinal cord hematoma and resulting cord compression. Prior to the alleged negligence, the plaintiff had a stroke and spent nine days in the hospital. He was then sent to a rehabilitation facility with weakness on his left side and needing assistance for activities of daily living. He was on anticoagulation, and was getting physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. He complained of back pain, but he had a history of back pain for which he had seen a chiropractor.
During an overnight shift, the plaintiff began complaining of bilateral lower extremity pain, tingling, and numbness that progressed to lack of sensation, reflexes, and two episodes of urinary incontinence. The nurse notified the doctor who reassured the plaintiff that his pain was neuropathic with a component of chronic back pain.
A short while later, the plaintiff reported complete lack of sensation. He was unable to move his legs and had episodes of urinary incontinence. On exam, he had no sensation below the T10-T11 level in his left leg and no sensation below his mid-thigh in his right leg without reflexes.
He was transferred to a hospital where he was complaining that he was unable to feel his legs, and had minimal rectal tone. He had an MRI of the spine, reversal of his anticoagulation, and underwent decompression surgery at T10-L3. He was found to have a spinal hematoma.
Upon discharge, he had no sensation below the T10 level. It was deemed unlikely he would have any further recovery. The plaintiff alleged a delay in transferring him to the hospital, and once at the hospital, a delay in getting the MRI which led to the ultimate surgery. The plaintiff claimed that had things moved more quickly, he would not have been injured to the same degree.
The case settled during discovery for $3,750,000.
Suffolk Superior Court
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