A New York medical malpractice plaintiff obtained a $55.9 million medical malpractice verdict after a five-month jury trial regarding the laminectomy performed on her in 2009 at a New York hospital following her complaints of pain and tingling in her neck, arms, and hands. During the surgery, her spinal cord suffered a contusion from a bone fragment, which the plaintiff alleged the physicians were aware of during the surgery due to neurological monitoring that detected the injury during the surgery, but the operative records did not mention the adverse event.
The day after the surgery, the plaintiff’s blood pressure dropped and she became paralyzed but a CT scan was not ordered until three hours later. According to the plaintiff, an outside radiologist who originally read the CT scan determined that she had suffered an epidural hematoma but other physicians determined that there was no epidural hematoma and instead told the plaintiff that she had suffered a spinal cord infarction.
The plaintiff alleged that had the physicians timely and properly diagnosed her epidural hematoma that was causing her problems, the hematoma could have been promptly evacuated, which would have prevented the paralysis from becoming permanent. The plaintiff also faulted the defendants for recommending the laminectomy before trying physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and/or acupuncture first.
The defense argued to the jury that the plaintiff suffered a spinal cord infarction that was unavoidable and that her quadriplegia was unavoidable as well. The defense further argued that the intraoperative neurological monitoring detection of a possible injury was a “false positive.” The defense also told the jury that the surgery was appropriate.
The woman’s New York medical malpractice lawyer stated after the verdict, “What she didn’t know is that surgeons, who were operating on her neck, would find out that her cords had been damaged through monitors during the procedure. And what she now knows is they didn’t tell anybody that.”
The New York medical malpractice jury included in its award $20 million for the now 66-year-old plaintiff’s pain and suffering and $10 million to her husband for his loss of consortium claim. The balanace of the jury’s verdict compensated the woman for her past and future medical care and loss of earnings as well as necessary equipment and modifications to her home due to her injury. The jury’s award will be reduced by fifty percent to reflect the amounts the plaintiff received from other defendants who settled the claims against them before trial.
If you or a loved one were injured during or following neck surgery in New York or in another U.S. state and the harm suffered was unexpected or unanticipated, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in New York or in your U.S. state who may investigate your neck surgery claim for you and represent you in a surgical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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