Paralyzed woman receives $14.9M medical malpractice verdict

Individuals in New York rely on doctors and surgeons for their health and well-being on a daily basis. With lives at stake, it can be frightening to remember that doctors are only human and may make a judgement call that turns out to be mistaken. Much more terrifying, though, is when a doctor ignores a clearly labeled warning on a medication and the patient pays the price. In a recent medical malpractice case in another state, a woman was awarded $14.9 million in just such an instance of egregious negligence.

The defendant in the suit was The Surgery Center at Lone Tree, where the woman received same-day surgical care. According to the complaint, the 57-year-old woman was given an epidural steroid injection of a drug called Kenalog. Shortly after receiving the injection, the woman experienced a spinal cord infarction that left her paralyzed.

The injection obstructed the blood supply in the area, causing tissue death and resulting in almost instant and permanent paralysis from the waist down. However, the complaint argued, these tragic results could have been easily prevented, as for the two years prior, the bottle's label had sported an FDA warning stating that the drug was not for use as an epidural. The warning label for Kenalog was apparently extensive, with a neurologic warning as well as a lengthy list of adverse reactions – including the paralysis the woman experienced – that would result from its use as an epidural.

The $14.9 million in damages are apparently the second-largest malpractice negligence verdict awarded in the state's history. However, the amount pales with the realization that the woman's permanent injuries will require full-time care day and night for the remainder of her life; also, her husband has been forced to quit his job to become her caregiver around the clock. Anyone in New York who has similarly suffered due to the negligence of a doctor or surgeon might likewise benefit from seeking justice and compensation with the guidance of a seasoned medical malpractice attorney.

Source: bizjournals.com, "Paralyzed Colorado woman wins $14.9 million malpractice verdict", Monica Mendoza, April 6, 2017

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