According to the complaint, the plaintiff went to the ER with neck pain following a fall at her residence. A CT of the brain revealed a small left-sided brain bleed, and a CT of the neck revealed a hematoma at C2-3 in the cervical spine. That finding, however, was not reported by the radiologist. The patient had normal motor function and was transferred to another hospital for care and treatment, and her imaging studies, including the CT scan of the cervical spine, were transferred with her. During the next few days, she developed left-side focal neurological symptoms with deterioration of arm and leg function, to the point of complete quadriplegia. Despite her negative course, the defendant neurosurgeon did not try to investigate why her left-side movement and strength was worse than the right and why she could not use all four extremities. Further, the neurosurgeon failed to review the CT scan of the cervical spine upon arrival, which he admitted showed the blood compressing the spinal cord at C2-3.
In addition to the CT scan taken when she was admitted, a CT angiogram of the brain two days later also indicated an epidural hematoma compressing the spinal cord and causing the plaintiff’s quadriplegia at C2-C4, this finding was also accompanied by a disc spur complex that compressed the spinal cord at C5-C6. The neurosurgeon failed to diagnose the cause of the patient’s progressive neurological symptoms. It was only when a critical care doctor ordered and reviewed an MRI of the cervical spine six days later that the cause was accurately diagnosed. But by then, the plaintiff had lost all use of her extremities. She lost the opportunity to regain useful neurological function.
The plaintiff now has permanent spastic quadriparesis because of the neurosurgeon’s professional negligence. She suffers total paralysis in both legs, cannot use her right arm and hand, and has limited use of her left arm and left hand. The plaintiff resides in a nursing home and will round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.
The lawsuit alleged that, had the neurosurgeon done surgery to relieve the compression on the plaintiff’s spinal cord in her first three days in the hospital, she would have regained function in her extremities and would today enjoy independence and the normal activities of daily living.