$1.25 Million Settlement in Medical Malpractice Action Against Physicians and Hospital For Failing To Timely Diagnose and Treat Spinal Epidural Abscess

The plaintiff was an adult female with a history of fibromyalgia who developed complaints of chest, neck and shoulder pain. She went to the emergency department was diagnosed with torticollis and discharged with a prescription for muscle relaxers. Approximately seven days later she returned to the emergency department with the same complaints, severe pain and right arm numbness. She was again diagnosed with a stiff neck and discharged with a prescription for steroidal antiinflammatories. Approximately four days later she started losing sensations in her legs and bowels and bladder problems. She went to a different emergency department and was diagnosed with a spinal epidural abscess. She underwent emergency surgery to remove the abscess. The plaintiff alleged the emergency department physician and hospital were negligent by failing to timely investigate, diagnose and treat the abscess. The defendants denied any negligence because the plaintiff's complaints did not raise a suspicion for a spinal epidural abscess. The case had unique challenges due to the plaintiff's background and communication difficulties. The case settled globally for $1.25 million prior to trial.