Failure to Diagnose Spinal Abscess Leads to Jury Verdict

As was reported recently in the New York times, a paralyzed father of three recently was awarded 19.2 million dollars in a negligence suit against Montefiore Medical Center in New York for its doctors' failure to timely treat a spinal abscess that led to permanent paralysis. Wilfredo Figueroa, 58, presented to the Montefiore Medical Center on September 22, 2004 with a chief complaint of severe back pain. Despite this complaint, plaintiff alleged that health care providers failed to order and take a diagnostic MRI or CT scan until nearly 2 weeks after his admission, and well after irreversible damage had already been done. As a result of this negligence, plaintiff alleged that Mr. Figueroa suffered paralysis from the chest down and will incur a lifetime of medical expenses, pain, suffering and emotional distress. 

Spinal cord abscesses are a rare condition caused when inured tissue becomes infected.  White blood cells rush to the area of infection to help fight off the infection and begin to fill up the damaged tissue, causing pus to build up.   Risk factors for the development of a spinal cord abscess include long term use of blood thinners, a weak immune system such as can be found in older or sick individuals, Crohn's disease or a ruptured gallbladder.   Some of the more common symptoms associated with spinal cord abscesses include a sudden onset of pain, sharp radiating pain into the extremities, sudden and progressive weakness, numbness / tingling of the skin or a fever.  Physicians who suspect spinal abscess should order numerous tests to confirm the same, including but not  limited to a complete blood count (CBC), and erythrocyte  sedimentation rate (ESR), a CT scan of the spinal cord, an MRI of the spinal cord or a lumbar puncture to remove a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid and test for infection. 

The lawyers at STSW routinely handle similar matters in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas involving missed diagnoses of infection / spinal infections / abscesses and other ailments resulting in paralysis.  Call our attorneys for a free consultation or visit our website for a free consultation.  Our attorneys regularly handle these types of cases on a contingency basis, meaning that our firm lays out the expenses in advance and our clients are only required to reimburse us if the case is successful via a settlement or at trial or on appeal.  Our office routinely handles cases and matters in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas against physicians and hospitals including Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical System, St. Joseph's Hospital, Union Memorial Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, Anne Arundel County Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, and Washington Adventist Hospital.   In fact, we regularly obtain million dollar plus settlements and verdicts for our clients in medical malpractice cases, and have been trial counsel in some of the largest multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in the area.