Los Angeles County Settles Case After Man Left Paralyzed

Los Angeles County has settled a medical malpractice case after a man was left paralyzed after a two-day delay in diagnosing his condition.

Man was left paralyzed after delayed treatment of a clot at County/USC Hospital

A delay in diagnosing and treating a man's medical condition has led to a $4.5 million settlement, according to the Contra Costa Times. Los Angeles County recently agreed to the settlement after doctors at County/USC Medical Center failed to diagnose the man's agonizing condition in a timely manner, a delay which resulted in him suffering from permanent paralysis. As part of the settlement, the man's treatment costs and MediCal expenses have also been waived. The case has resulted in the county taking steps to increase communication and care at medical facilities.

Motorcycle accident

The case began in September 2010 when the 27-year-old man was injured in a motorcycle accident in the San Fernando Valley. He suffered a ruptured aorta, which was repaired by surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center using a large stent-graft.

In October 2011, however, the man collapsed while playing basketball and was in agonizing pain and had lost some feeling in his legs, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was admitted to County/USC, where it took doctors two days to discover that the cause of the pain was a clot in the stent. That clot had cut off circulation to his lower limbs for that two-day period. The delay in finding the clot resulted in the man suffering from permanent paralysis.

Settlement awarded

Instead of going to trial, the county decided to settle the case for $4.5 million. As a result of the settlement, the man's $790,000 in treatment costs will be waived as will the $200,000 the man would have otherwise had to pay to MediCal. The man also sued Cedars-Sinai, but that lawsuit was dismissed after a court found that that facility was not at fault.

The incident has led to improvements at LA County hospitals. One of the problems that led to the man's paralysis was a lack of communication between different service providers at County/USC. An "action plan" adopted by the county has resulted in improved communications at medical facilities between service providers, as well as more stringent protocols for transferring care between emergency and in-hospital services.

Medical malpractice

Patients trust that the care they receive at the hands of medical practitioners will help them get better, not make them worse. Sadly, as the above story shows, mistakes often happen at hospitals that can lead to severe and long-lasting injuries for patients.

Anybody who has been injured because of a medical practitioner's possible negligence should get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney immediately. In addition to helping cover the additional medical costs that such errors often lead to, pursuing a medical malpractice case can also sometimes help ensure that improvements are made that will better protect other patients in the future.

To request a free consultation with an Orange County medical malpractice attorney at the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg, please email us.

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