A woman was awarded nearly $56 million after a spinal surgery left her a quadriplegic. The woman went to the hospital after complaining of pain and tingling throughout her body. According to the plaintiff, the woman was injured when a piece of detached bone lodged in her spinal cord, leading to a contusion in the cord itself. The procedure sought to remove the piece of bone from the spinal cord.
The plaintiffs contend that a series of medical errors resulted in the patient being left a quadriplegic. The defendants, however, say that the plaintiff suffered a stroke. In a case like this, whoever is correct would win the lawsuit. If the spinal cord suffered an infarction (stroke), the doctors would not have been able to do anything about it. But the plaintiffs contend that it was not an infarction, but an epidural hematoma that was putting pressure on the spinal cord. The hematoma could have been removed to alleviate the patient’s paralysis.
There are a number of situations that could fall under the Ohio definition of medical malpractice. A plaintiff must generally prove that the doctor made some mistake that breached the prevailing standard of care for the profession. In other words, a reasonable doctor would not have made the same mistake. Additionally, this breach must cause the patient some kind of injury.
In Ohio, a patient only has one year after the date of the surgery (or the discovery of the injury) to file a lawsuit against the doctor. Also, Ohio limits the amount of non-economic (pain and suffering) damages to either $250,000 or three times the amount awarded for compensatory damages so long as that amount does not exceed $350,000.
In the case mentioned above, the argument involves whether or not the doctor’s diagnosis of a spinal infarction was correct. If it was not correct, then the doctor misdiagnosed the patient’s condition, allowing it to worsen to the extent that it left her a quadriplegic. Since the doctor admittedly considered the possibility of an epidural hematoma but then determined (erroneously) that the issue was a spinal infarction, the doctor is liable. The jury agreed, awarding the plaintiff $56 million in damages.
If you have been injured by a negligent doctor, the Bowling Green medical malpractice attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher, & Scott can help you recover damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Talk to us today for a free consultation.
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