A Missouri jury has sided with St. Louis-based Orthopedic Specialists and orthopedic surgeon Kevin Rutz, MD, in a malpractice lawsuit brought by a former patient, according to a Jan. 5 report from Missouri Lawyers Media.
Former patient William O'Connell alleged that Dr. Rutz failed to accurately diagnose and treat his condition, leading to a spinal cord injury that put him in a wheelchair.
The 2017 lawsuit was brought after Mr. O'Connell underwent four surgical procedures over six months to address lower back, neck and shoulder pain, leg weakness when standing, and decreased balance.
The jury returned its verdict in just 20 minutes following the five-day trial.
"Even though the plaintiff had general symptoms that might be myelopathy — or numerous other things instead — he lacked any of the findings that point specifically to the diagnosis," Halle Dimar, a defense attorney on the case, told Lawyers Media. "The plaintiff also had an uphill battle on causation, as Mr. O’Connell’s condition waxed and waned for some time after his care with our client and he didn’t dramatically deteriorate until many years later."