Delay in Spinal Surgery: $2.25 Million Settlement
2018 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Failure to timely operate on epidual hematoma results in paraplegia, bowel and bladder abnormalties, sepsis and death.
In May 2013 the decedent underwent spinal cord stimulator placement with the defendant to treat chronic back pain. The surgery was noted to go well, and the decedent was discharged to home in stable condition. He did well for the week following surgery.
Six days post-surgery, the decedent experienced an acute onset of numbness and weakness of both legs with an inability to walk. Upon arrival to the hospital he was found to be acutely paraplegic. The defendant was several hours away from the hospital. The on-call surgeon indicated he would not operate on the patient. There was a significant dispute in the case as to which surgeon was responsible for the decedent when he returned to the hospital. Ultimately, the defendant returned to the hospital after the decedent waited for several hours with paralysis.
During surgery an epidural hematoma was found and decompressed. The decedent’s paraplegia did not resolve following the surgery, and he suffered from both bowel and bladder abnormalities. As a result of the urinary abnormalities, the decedent ultimately contracted an infection which resulted in sepsis and death in May 2014.
The plaintiff consulted with an expert witness who opined that the defendant was negligent when he failed to immediately recognize the signs and symptoms of an epidural hematoma and ensure that the patient was taken into surgery immediately to correct the paraplegia.
The case settled for $2,250,000.
Hampden Superior Court
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