On September 13, 2013, a Horry County, South Carolina medical malpractice jury awarded a hospital emergency room patient and his wife $2.85 million ($2,300,000 to the man and $550,000 to his wife) for the paraplegia the man suffered as a result of medical malpractice at the hospital. The man’s paraplegia allegedly was due to a 30-minute delay in surgery on his injured arm that was caused by his orthopedic surgeon ordering a CT scan of his injured knee while the man was in a pre-surgery holding area.
The man had been involved in a serious car wreck on April 17, 2004. He was transported by ambulance from the scene of the collision to a local hospital. His severe injuries included severed arteries in his forearm for which he was scheduled for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. While the man was waiting for surgery, his blood pressure dropped precipitously. At the time the man had the CT scan of his injured knee that was ordered by the orthopedic surgeon, his blood pressure was 72 over 56.
The delay in surgery resulted in the man suffering cardiac and respiratory arrest that lasted between eight and twenty seven minutes (the witnesses’ testimony differed as to the amount of time the man had no pulse). He was resuscitated but not before a portion of his spinal cord was irreversibly damaged, leading to permanent partial paralysis of the lower portion of his body from just above his waist. The man’s wife has been his sole caregiver since he suffered the catastrophic injury.
The medical malpractice plaintiffs entered into a separate confidential settlement with the defendant hospital.
After the South Carolina medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the man and his wife, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyer stated, ““Doctors from Harvard Medical School, Charleston, and Connecticut testified that this was an indication that the patient was on the verge of a cardiac arrest and that to interrupt the treatment of the arm was negligent. Even doctors who testified on behalf of [the orthopedic doctor] conceded that the patient should not have been diverted from the pre-operative holding area with those vital signs.”
When our loved ones are in need of emergency medical care due to an accident or other critical medical situation, we necessarily rely on the expertise and competence of the emergency room and hospital personnel to provide timely and appropriate medical care to treat injuries and save lives. Most emergency room and hospital medical personnel perform admirably when the need for emergency care is essential. Sometimes injuries are so severe or no medical treatment is available to prevent permanent disabilities or death. However, avoidable injuries can be devastating or catastrophic if the care provided (or not provided) in the emergency department falls below the standard of care under the circumstances.
If you or a family member suffered serious injuries due to negligent emergency room care, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney to investigate your emergency medicine malpractice claim for you and represent you in an emergency room medical malpractice claim, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with South Carolina medical malpractice lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers in your U.S. state who may assist you with your emergency room negligence claim.
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