Spine surgeon owes $17M to paralyzed patient

Spine

A West Virginia man was awarded $17 million from a jury after he was left paralyzed following spine surgery, Metro News reported March 31.

Four things to know:

1. According to his 2019 lawsuit, Michael Rodgers was injured in a motorcycle crash in 2017, and two days after the accident John Orphanos, MD, a neurosurgeon, ordered him to wear a back brace for six to eight weeks. Later that day, Dr. Orphanos recommended surgery, according to the lawsuit. Before the surgery, Mr. Rodgers had no neurological deficits and could move all his extremities, according to the suit.

2. Dr. Orphanos didn't order testing to determine spinal cord issues before the surgery, and he didn't know Mr. Rodgers had issues, including spinal cord compression, spinal abnormality and injury. The lawsuit alleges Dr. Orphanos went into surgery without plans to include decompression or use neurophysiological intraoperative monitoring.

3. After surgery, Mr. Rodgers lost motor function and sensation in his lower extremities, the lawsuit states, and the issue persisted after a second surgery. "He has been unable to use his lower body ever since," according to the article.

4. A Kanawha County jury awarded Mr. Rodgers $17 million March 24, after an eight-day trial. The jury found that Dr. Orphanos was "negligent and fully responsible" for Mr. Rodger's paralysis, according to the report.

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