$770,000 Recovery for Unnecessary Spine Surgery

A woman in her 50s was rear-ended in a motor accident, resulting a shoulder and low back injury. She had rotator cuff surgery on her should her and was treated for her back injuries with a chiropractor, who ultimately referred her to a pain management specialist. Although he was not properly trained to do so, the pain management doctor told the woman he could operate on her spine, and did, so performing a lumbar fusion with an interbody cage and pedicle screw fixation.

Post-operatively, the woman immediately began to experience severe left leg pain which the pain management doctor could not correct. She then went to a neurosurgeon who diagnosed her with a malpositioned pedicle screw that was impinging on her nerve. A second lumbar surgery was done, removing the original hardware, and fusing the vertebrae of the lower spine.

This procedure corrected the leg pain, but the patient still experienced occasional back pain and stiffness, affecting her activities.

The defendants conducted video surveillance on the woman, claiming it showed her performing her normal and usual activities.

The matter was handled by Blume Donnelly partner Michael B. Zerres, who settled the case for $770,000.00 as to the defendant driver, the “surgeon,” and the surgery center where the procedure was performed.