This was a case involving a 45 year old woman and mother of four who, in a community hospital setting, developed sudden weakness in all four extremities several days post op following amputation of a gangrenous toe brought on by uncontrolled diabetes and group b strep bacteremia. (During the course of the trial it was established that the patient was grossly non-compliant in terms of her diabetic management). Michael A. Badowski, Esq., in our Central Pennsylvania office represented the patient’s primary care physician and attending medical doctor in the hospital. The woman was eventually transferred to a tertiary care center for neurosurgical evaluation and treatment; she never regained any motor functioning in her legs and only minimal return of arm functioning. Plaintiff contended that our Doctor negligently failed to timely secure a spine MRI and that had the patient been transferred sooner, her paralysis would not have progressed to permanency. Plaintiff asserted that there was a two day delay in securing the MRI which revealed a fluid collection in the posterior epidural space of her cervical spine which, her experts contended, represented an epidural abscess severely compressing upon the spinal cord which mandated immediate surgical drainage.
By way of her treating neurosurgeon, neurologist and neuroradiologist, along with well credentialed experts in each of these specialized fields, the defense cogently established that the extradural fluid collection seen on MRI was not a compressive epidural abscess and that the MRI demonstrated a diffuse inflammatory process within the entirety of the woman’s spinal cord which was thought to be most likely related to her systemic infection. The treatment employed at the tertiary care facility was aggressive antibiotics and high dose steroids which was the same modalities afforded to her by our client at the community hospital. The Patient’s treaters had concluded that she was, at no time, a surgical candidate and that earlier imaging studies and transfer would not have altered the progression of her paralysis.
The Plaintiff remains wheel chair bound and resides in an assisted nursing facility. Her minor children live in separate foster homes as the father left the family following his wife’s paralysis. Economic damages, alone, were blackboarded in excess of $25 million. A ten day jury trial in Wayne County resulted in a no negligence verdict in favor of our client.