Failure to Diagnose Broken Neck Leads to Paralysis

Market Watch reported last week on the conclusion of a new medical malpractice lawsuit involving a failure to diagnose a broken neck. According to reports, the victim was an oil field worker who was rushed to a hospital after being involved in a rollover accident. He was immobilized on a backboard and was wearing a neck brace when he arrived. However, upon his arrival, the doctor involved released the man without a cervical collar to protect his neck, without performing a physical exam, or even without conducting basic diagnostic tests, like an x-ray. This haphazard approach was taken even though the man specifically explained that he had suffered from neck pain.

Only a few days later the victim was forced to return to the hospital after his condition deteriorated. It was eventually discovered that he had suffered multiple unstable cervical spine fractures. He was soon unable to move his left arm and shoulder. He was required to have emergency neck fusion surgery but suffered permanent nerve root injuries in his neck because of the delay in receiving proper care. The man has constant pain in his neck that was unable to be abated even after a second surgery.

The man sought out legal help and his case eventually went to trial. Even the defendant’s own medical witness had to admit at trial that had the doctor performed a basic physical examination the patient would have been in pain and x-rays would have been necessary. The jury ultimately returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, because of the doctor inadequate medical care. He was awarded $7 million for his own injuries and his wife was awarded $2 million for her loss of consortium. The married couple’s lives have been turned upside down by the tragedy, as he is now mostly confined to his bed in his home as a result of the pain.

There is a misconception among some community members that Chicago medical malpractice only occurs when a medical professional does some overt act that causes harm to the patient-such as operating on the wrong body part of providing too much medication. While these overt medical acts which cause harm occasionally occur, there are often forms of substandard which are actually more prevalent. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys have worked with many local residents who have had a variety of complications not diagnosed in a timely manner, leading to serious consequences.

For example, this form of error is particularly dangerous in the context of cancer. It is well established that the sooner that cancer is identified the better chance that caregivers often have at tackling the growths, killing the cancer, and saving the life of the victim. That is why it is reasonable for doctors to detect cancer in situations where normal doctors would have detected it. If your medical professionals delayed in diagnosing your cancer and you suspect that they should have caught it earlier, then you have suffered real harm because of their negligence and may be entitled to recover in our area by filing a Chicago medical malpractice lawsuit.

In Other News: This blog and our companion blog–Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog–were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

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See Our Related Blog Posts:

Illinois Brain Injury Results in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Failure to Diagnose Cancer Leads to Lawsuit

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