At the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg, our law firm is committed to helping clients throughout Orange County recover maximum compensation for their personal injury cases. Recently, our skilled team of attorneys recovered $6,250,000 on behalf of one of our clients.
The case involved a client who was admitted into an Arizona medical center after experiencing neck pain and bilateral lower and upper extremity weakness. A few weeks before the hospital visit, our client had undergone arthroscopy of her right knee with a partial medial meniscectomy.
Our client was seen by the emergency room physician who noted that her lab tests revealed that she had a significantly elevated white blood count, which indicated an infectious process. The physician ordered a CT scan of our client’s cervical spine, which showed that the posterior thecal sac was displaced anteriorly from C2 to C3. This suggested that there was some sort of lesion in the cervical spine, which would require a neurosurgical evaluation.
Because there were no neurosurgeons at the Arizona medical center, our client was transported via helicopter to a hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. When she arrived at the hospital, she was immediately evaluated by the emergency room physician, who determined that she was unable to move, was not responsive, and was intubated and sedated. The emergency room physician also noted the CT scan from Arizona revealed displacement of the thecal sac of our client’s cervical spine.
The physician consulted neurology and ordered the patient be admitted to the ICU. Shortly thereafter, the neurologist, a resident, came to the emergency room to evaluate our client. The emergency room physician signed off care to the neurology team, led by the resident. In his final entry to his note, the emergency room physician indicated that our client may need a stat MRI of the brain and spinal cord. He testified that it was his expectation that neurology would immediately order that study. Our client remained in the emergency department for eight hours. During that time, she was seen by the resident neurologist, whose impression was that she was quadriplegic, and that a spinal lesion should be ruled out.
The neurologist did not review the emergency room physician’s note, nor did she appreciate that our client’s labs revealed an infectious process in the setting of a dramatically elevated sedimentation rate. The neurologist failed to review the report of the CT scan from the Arizona hospital, which reported a displaced thecal sac in the cervical spine.
The neurologist testified at deposition that she reviewed the imaging from Arizona and misread the CT scan as showing no acute pathology. The neurologist then ordered an MRI of the spine routine, rather than STAT, and began treating our client for guillain-barre.
Later that evening, the neurologist left to go home, while our client remained in the hospital for more than 12 hours without ever having an MRI performed. The resident neurologist’s attending physician also took no steps to oversee the care provided by his resident, which left our client without any treatment for her spinal lesion.
Our client was eventually taken to the ICU where she was seen by a resident hospitalist, a resident critical care physician, and their respective attending physicians. The attending critical care physician documented that he evaluated the patient and that he agreed with the proposed plan of care. However, the attending critical care physician failed to review any of the available records, labs, or imaging.
When the resident critical care physician saw our client, she documented that Jane had weakness of her extremities, secondary to a stroke, despite the fact that stroke had already been ruled out. The resident took no steps to expedite an MRI of the spine in order to rule out a spinal cord lesion.
Our client was taken to the ICU eight hours after she arrived to the emergency room. Prior to that time, despite being seen by at least six different physicians, she had still not undergone an MRI to rule out a spinal lesion. After being admitted into the hospital for more than 32 hours, our client finally underwent an MRI of her spine. The MRI revealed an epidural abscess extending from her cervical spine to her lumbar spine, which caused severe compression of her spinal cord.
The radiologist promptly reported this condition to the on-call neurosurgeon who consulted immediately. The neurosurgeon documented that the likelihood of our client regaining any significant function was low, given the fact that it had been at least 48 hours since the onset of her symptoms.
When our client first arrived at the Las Vegas Hospital, she clearly had a spinal cord lesion, which needed to be urgently evaluated and treated. The failure to our client left her tetraplegic, with limited use of her arms and hands.
As a result of the physicians and hospital residents’ failure to timely and properly treat our client’s spinal cord lesion, our client sued the hospital for medical malpractice and settled the case for $6,250,000.
Have you or loved one suffered a serious injury due to the negligence of another person? If so, you should contact our Orange County personal injury lawyers to schedule your free consultation today. We are here to assist with all of your personal injury matters.