$5,450,000 Settlement for Improper Surgical Technique

In this case Ms. Forte represented a 59-year-old man who was diagnosed by a neurosurgeon with severe cervical myelopathy, a condition in which the spinal cord is compressed by abnormal vertebrae. The surgeon claimed that the spinal cord compression was interfering with our client’s ability to walk and put him at risk for paralysis. The surgeon performed a cervical decompression and fusion. He did not order adequate intraoperative monitoring to be performed during the operation, which would have detected that there was compromise of the spinal cord during the procedure. The hospital did not provide a physician to interpret the monitoring as the surgery was occurring, rather, the hospital and its employee technician knew that there was no qualified physician interpreting the monitoring, though the surgeon claimed that he was unaware of this. The anesthesiologist did not maintain our client’s blood pressure during the procedure, and he claimed that the surgeon ordered him to keep it very low to prevent bleeding. Carol asserted that the combination of improper surgical technique, along with low blood pressure, combined to injure the spinal cord and that this was not detected due to the inadequate monitoring. The total settlement was $5,450,000.