MRSA Infection Post Surgery: $2M Settlement

2017 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Lawsuit claims failure to properly treat surgical wound leads to spinal abscess and paralysis

In November 2011, the plaintiff, a 65-year-old man, underwent surgery to remove a rectal tumor by the defendant surgeon.

In late January 2012, the plaintiff returned to see the defendant surgeon. The plaintiff reported that he was weak, had discomfort in his back and had lost 45 pounds since the surgery. He also continued to have drainage from the surgical site. The defendant indicated he would watch the incision closely but there was no treatment given to the plaintiff at this visit.

In early February, the plaintiff presented to the emergency room feeling run down with a fever and continued discharge from his surgical site. He had blood cultures performed which grew out the bacteria MRSA. He was given an antibiotic and told to follow up with his surgeon for further treatment of his wound. When the plaintiff saw the defendant surgeon a few days later, the defendant indicated that he thought the MRSA diagnosis was incorrect and that he did not have MRSA. He was given no further treatment by the defendant.

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On 4/19/12, the plaintiff presented to another emergency room with complaints of leg paralysis, no leg sensation and worsening back pain for the past few weeks. An MRI was performed which revealed spinal abscess and epidural collections resulting in severe spinal canal stenosis and cord compression. He was taken into surgery where pus-like material was found in the area of the spinal cord compression. The pus-like material was sent to the lab and it came back as MRSA — the same bacteria the plaintiff had back in February.

Presently the plaintiff has no motor function in his legs and is confined to a wheelchair.

The plaintiff was prepared to present an expert surgeon who was of the opinion that the defendant was negligent in failing to properly treat the plaintiff’s wound once there was a positive MRSA culture. As a result of that failure, the plaintiff developed a spinal abscess which caused compression on his spinal cord and caused his paralysis.

The defendant was prepared to present expert testimony that the defendant treated the plaintiff appropriately and that his spinal cord compression was as a result of a new infection that developed quickly and caused the spinal cord compression rapidly and before anyone could treat.

The case settled for $2,000,000 in the weeks prior to the scheduled trial date.

Middlesex Superior Court

Lubin & Meyer attorneys for the plaintiff: Andrew C. Meyer and Robert M. Higgins.

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