$3.25 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 male who developed complaints of mid back pain. A series of physicians attributed his pain to soft tissue disorders of the spine. His physicians recommended pain management. Before his pain management appointment could take place, the plaintiff developed severe and unrelenting acute mid back pain which required hospitalization. His treating physicians managed his back pain medically pending his pain management appointment. However, during the 4 day hospitalization his complaints worsened from pain to bilateral weakness in the arms , to chest numbness to ultimately paralysis of both legs. No action was taken to investigate the progressing complaints until the plaintiff could not walk. At that time, an emergency MRI was performed which revealed a spinal epidural abscess. That led to emergency back surgery to remove the abscess and other surgeries. However, by the time the surgery was performed it was too late to reverse the bilateral leg paralysis. Plaintiff was left with a permanent paralysis of both legs. The plaintiff alleged the hospital nurses and multiple treating physicians were negligent by failing to timely appreciate, investigate, diagnose and treat the abscess. The defendants denied any negligence, blamed each other and further argued the abscess was not treatable. The case had unique challenges because the physicians carried low liability insurance coverage. The case settled globally for $3.25 million prior to trial.