Jury awards $56M in spine malpractice case

Written by Laura Dyrda | August 16, 2019 | Print  |

After a five-month, a jury awarded a patient who was paralyzed during spine surgery $56 million, according to a report in USA Today


The 2009 surgery was performed at a hospital in New York and the patient woke to tingling arms, hands and neck. According to the report, a piece of bone caused a contusion to the spinal cord during her laminectomy and surgeons proceeded with the procedure although monitors detected the injury.

The surgeons stated in their records that the patient didn't suffer adverse events. However, the day after surgery a CAT scan showed she had an epidural hematoma that a neurosurgeon then misdiagnosed as a stroke. The patient became paralyzed and filed a malpractice suit against the New York-based hospital and surgeons.

A jury awarded the patient $20 million for pain and suffering as well as additional amounts for lost earnings and other expenses related to care. The patient's husband was awarded $10 million, according to the report, for lost services. The hospital and nurses named in the case settled for $6.2 million.

A study published in The Spine Journal in 2017 reported that the average settlement for spine surgeon cases where the plaintiff won was $2.3 million while the average winnings when cases were brought before a jury was $4.9 million. The average compensation for intraoperative complaints was $3.6 million and the compensation was typically larger in cases involving nerve injury.

More articles on spine surgery:
The future of spinal fusion
Neurosurgeon faces charges in California over opioid over-prescription
Dr. Mick Perez-Cruet: Exciting innovations in spine and the trend that could derail it all

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months