A bench trial in which the judge – and not a jury – decides the case, recently resulted in a $4.25 million verdict to a man whose undiagnosed condition left him paralyzed. The man presented to a local clinic after being injured at work. At that time, healthcare professionals administered a shot, issued him a prescription for pain medication and authorized him to return to work. Shortly thereafter, his pain worsened to the point that he could hardly walk. He went back to the clinic where he was issued another prescription for pain medication and sent back to work.
He subsequently presented to the emergency room where it was determined that he was suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome, a surgical emergency in which something is compressing the spinal nerve roots. If not treated immediately, the condition can lead to incontinence and paralysis. The man now is permanently paralyzed. The lawsuit alleged that the healthcare providers at the clinic failed to order the testing that was warranted by the man’s symptoms, which would have resulted in an earlier diagnosis and avoidance of paralysis. The man’s wife has now become her husband’s primary caretaker. The judge’s verdict included $450,000 to the man’s wife for loss of consortium.
The most common defense to a case such as this one is that diagnosing the condition sooner would not have changed the outcome and that therefore, the delay was not a cause of the victim’s injuries. It takes experienced medical malpractice lawyers with the right experts to combat this type of argument at trial. If you or a loved one were the victim of a medical mistake, you can speak with one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys for free at 410-385-2225.