Motorcyclist Wins $17M After Doctor Causes Paralysis
This is a tough case to win, but the plaintiffs did. A motorcyclist who had recently gotten into an accident was rushed to the emergency room. While he was there, he had sensation in his legs. Two days later, he could not feel or move them at all. He is now a paraplegic.
The doctors had performed two spinal surgeries after which the patient was left paralyzed. The plaintiffs blamed the surgeon for taking shortcuts and failing to order necessary scans before treating the plaintiff.
The trial lasted 8 days with the jury eventually siding with the plaintiff and awarding him $17 million for medical expenses, lost income, and reduced quality of life. The plaintiff was awarded $10 million for the loss of his legs and an additional $6 million related to an avoidable stroke.
Elements of negligence
Cases like this can be difficult to prove because the plaintiff’s attorney must be able to discern what was caused by the motorcycle accident and what was caused by the doctor’s negligence. In this case, the patient presented to the emergency room with a spinal fracture, but still had sensation in his legs. At the time, the patient had no neurological deficits.
Then, the doctor changed his course of treatment. At first, the doctor recommended that the patient wear a back brace for two weeks but corrected his course of action and recommended emergency surgery. However, prior to conducting the surgery, the doctor never ordered MRI scans which would have shown issues with the soft tissue. Further, during the surgery, the doctor did not use special monitoring equipment that would have caught the issue before it became catastrophic. Some of the vertebrae were fused and when the patient woke up from the surgery, he was paralyzed from the waist down.
At this point, the doctor did order an MRI, but the post-surgical intervention prevented the doctor from getting a clear image. The doctor did not order additional testing to look at the area before conducting a second surgery.
The patient is now fully paralyzed from the waste down with no chance of ever recovering movement in his lower extremities.
Damages were related to two preventable injuries suffered during the multiple surgeries. In this case, the patient suffered a worsening of his condition and he suffered a stroke. The paralysis will prevent him from sustaining any employment that requires the use of his legs while the stroke will likely create cognitive problems that impair his ability to concentrate. His life is forever diminished.
Talk to an Atlanta, GA Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you have been injured due to negligence committed by a doctor, hospital staff, or nursing home, call the Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at The Moses Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.