Sommers Schwartz attorneys Michael Cunningham and Richard Groffsky secured a confidential settlement in a lawsuit claiming that a hospital and its doctors failed to properly and timely diagnosis an epidural abscess on the plaintiff’s cervical spine. The complaint alleged the plaintiff presented to the hospital’s emergency room with an elevated temperature, complaining of neck and back pain, and experiencing walking difficulties. An MRI of the plaintiff’s cervical spine was performed, but the physician who read the MRI failed to note changes consistent with an epidural abscess. Subsequently, another physician performed a lumbar puncture on the plaintiff but failed to read the MRI himself before doing so.
As the plaintiff remained in the hospital, her condition deteriorated. Six days after the first MRI was performed, a second MRI was ordered, but it was not deemed urgent and nearly 24 hours passed. When it was read, the scan showed a large epidural abscess on the plaintiff’s cervical spine. She underwent surgery to remove the abscess, endured a long and complicated course of medical treatment, including being placed on a ventilator, and suffered permanent neurological damage (loss of bowel and bladder control, and paraplegia) because of the delay in recognizing and addressing the abscess.