A 42-year-old woman claimed in her New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit that a neurosurgeon employed by the State of New Jersey performed neurosurgery on her back on January 23, 2015 after which she became partially paralyzed from her mid-back down. She alleged that she first noticed she had no sensation from her abdomen to her toes when she was taken to the post-anesthesia care unit. The State of New Jersey (the defendant neurosurgeon’s employer) agreed in February 2019 to settle the plaintiff’s claims for $5 million. The woman’s New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit had been filed in October 2015.
The defendant neurosurgeon allegedly recommended that the plaintiff undergo a laminectomy (spinal decompression surgery) to treat her complaints of bilateral numbness and back pain. The plaintiff’s New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the defendant neurosurgeon alleged that during the surgery the gelfoam dressing was not removed prior to the closing of the surgical incisions and no surgical drains were installed to drain blood and bodily fluid post-surgery. She was brought back to surgery that same day for an emergency exploration of her wounds during which drains were placed in her back to remove fluid.
Despite the second surgery, the plaintiff continued to experience motor and sensory deficits as a result of a thoracic spinal cord injury as a result of the surgery. She underwent about two months of rehabilitation at another facility beginning in February 2015. At the conclusion of the rehabilitation, she was diagnosed with T7 American Spinal Injury Association C paraplegia, spasticity, neurogenic bow, neurogenic bladder, depression, anxiety, and other disabilities.
The plaintiff’s New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer stated that her paralysis is not 100 percent but is substantial: “There is some feeling and some limited motor skills. But it’s not sufficient that she can walk, and she does have some feeling, but unfortunately, the healing is usually numbness and pain in her case.” After reaching the $5 million settlement of the woman’s medical malpractice lawsuit with the State of New Jersey, the plaintiff’s lawyer stated, “Unfortunately, the money is never going to restore her function as a wife and a mother but hopefully it will give them some degree of financial resources to make their life a little easier.”
Another specialty hospital had recommended that the woman undergo corrective surgery but even with that surgery, it is “doubtful” that her sensory and motor functions could be fully restored, according to the plaintiff.
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