When we are told we need surgery to correct an injury or ailment, we believe that our doctors and surgeons will do the utmost to ensure our wellbeing before, during, and after a procedure. It’s true that nearly all doctors want to keep that promise to their patients; the downside and harsh reality is that sometimes accidents can happen during surgery and these often have the gravest and most catastrophic consequences. One New York state woman is such a victim of an accident that has rendered her a quadriplegic for the rest of her life. Her additional injury is the combination of not one, but three errors made by her doctors and the staff surrounding them.
In 2009, the patient went into the hospital noting that there was tingling and pain from her hands up to and including her neck. Her doctors recommend that she have a surgery to take care of the problem, but during that time, the protective coating of her spinal cord was damaged by a piece of bone that fractured off and embedded itself. During testing and monitoring, an injury was detected and continued with the procedure making no note of any qualms or issues. This is the first issue to arise: not taking proper care during the procedure.
Post-procedure some time later, the patient suffered paralysis as her blood pressure dropped. It took three hours to order a CAT scan to identify the problem. Here we note the second of the three errors: not proving proper care at the appropriate time. After the results came back, a radiologist outside of the hospital said there was blood pressing on the spinal cord which was causing the blood pressure issue and the paralysis. Her doctors and neurosurgeons disagreed with the radiologist’s readings of the results and believed that she suffered a stroke. Due to this misdiagnosis, the pressure and pain continued resulting in the patient’s quadriplegia. The defendants (her doctors) claimed that it was in fact a stroke that she suffered and that the blood pressure on her spinal cord could be read as a false positive; they believed their judgement was correct and in the best interest of the patient.
The defendants will be appealing the verdict, but as things rest now, the patient was awarded $56 million: $20 million for pain and suffering as well as additional funds for care, lost wages, equipment, and more. The patient’s husband was also awarded $10 for lost wages as he cares for his wife.
Surgical malpractice can cause detrimental effects to a person’s quality of life increasing their suffering, sometimes indefinitely. It is imperative that you feel safe and comfortable with your doctors before, during, and after a procedure and trust that they are doing everything to the best of their medical expertise to help you. If you or a loved one believe you are a victim of surgical malpractice, contact a Texas malpractice lawyer immediately to begin building your case. We cannot change what has happened, but we can work diligently to reduce any additional stresses or burdens in the future.