$1,500,000 Settlement for Medical Malpractice Following Spinal Injury

When a 62-year-old patient hospitalized for infectious cellulitis began to develop respiratory complications, an elective intubation was indicated. However, he was allowed to further decompensate and required an emergency intubation. The man, who also had a prior history of a neck injury from a motor vehicle accident, had his neck flexed forward in a permanently fused position, known as kyphosis. When the emergency intervention took place, the respiratory therapist performing the endotracheal intubation forcefully tilted the patient’s head backward to insert the ET tube, resulting in a fracture of the cervical vertebrae and severe spinal cord injury to the patient. Unfortunately, the man died 9 months later from complications of the spinal cord injury. Blume Donnelly partner, Michael Zerres, settled the case on behalf of the man’s Estate, claiming the spine injury and death should have been avoided by an earlier, elective intubation performed in a non-emergency setting, where the risk of disruption the spinal vertebrae would have been minimal.