This is a hospital misdiagnosis case filed on behalf of a woman claiming paralysis as the result of the negligence of Good Samaritan Hospital. This case was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on August 18th, 2016, and was the 410th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland in 2016. Coincidentally, the 408th malpractice lawsuit filed in 2016 was a wrongful death case also against Good Samaritan.Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations
A 44-year-old female is in a car accident and is transported to the Shock Trauma Center at University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore City. She has injuries to her skull with a loss of consciousness, a fracture of her C1 and C2, a left occipital fracture, a fracture of her C5 and C6, multiple pulmonary emboli, and an injury to her right shoulder. While treating her, the doctors discover she has a protein Z deficiency, which increases her tendency to bleed. She is treated without surgery and discharged for rehabilitation to Good Samaritan. Her discharge instructions include moderate activity and continual collar wear.
She goes to Good Samaritan Hospital and receives physical therapy treatments. During her treatments, she is unable to use her right arm due to her brachial plexus injury. Two days after her discharge from the University of Maryland, she has three one-hour rehabilitation sessions. After, she goes to her room and asks her nurse for water to take her medications. About an hour and a half later, she begins to have burning pain in her shoulders and neck that goes down her back. She is given a morphine injection, and she falls asleep.
When she wakes up, she cannot move her lower extremities and has no sensation from her waist down, with a severe headache. It takes an hour and a half for this to be noted in her records. She has an MRI done, and a neurosurgeon is consulted after an MRI reveals an epidural hematoma and accompanying injuries. The doctors explain to the patient and her husband that she needs surgery to decompress her spinal column and a fusion. The neurosurgery team is preparing to operate when the hematologist states that first, she needs an IVC filter placed. She is then transferred back to UMMC for surgery, which takes about thirty minutes to plan. She has the surgery at UMMC. The surgery is unsuccessful, rendering the woman a paraplegic, perhaps for the remainder of her life.
She brings a claim against Good Samaritan, alleging that they failed to timely appreciate, diagnose, and treat her traumatic injuries which led to the permanent damage to her spinal cord. She argues that as a direct result, she suffers permanent injuries and that if she had received the timely treatment, she would not have suffered damage to her spinal cord.Additional Comments
- The possible upside of a settlement or verdict in a misdiagnosis case like this is extremely high because of the youth of the victim and the ongoing cost of future medical care for a paraplegic patient.
- Plaintiff's medical malpractice sued just the hospital instead of the individual doctors. Malpractice cases are usually a zero-sum game. Either we get the advantage... or they do. But this can be a win-win for both sides. The doctors get to keep their name out of the lawsuit, and the Plaintiff does not have to make a jury blame an individual doctor at trial. Perhaps more importantly, hospitals are far more willing to make a fair settlement offer before trial when the doctors are no named defendants.
- The significant issues in the case will likely revolve around causation. Did the accident cause her injuries and would an earlier diagnosis have made a difference?
- Baltimore City
- The Good Samaritan Hospital of Maryland
- University of Maryland Medical Center
- The Good Samaritan Hospital of Maryland
- Failed to timely and adequately recognize plaintiff's serious medical condition
- Failed to conduct appropriate and timely examinations
- Failed to timely treat acute injury to spinal cord
- Failed to timely respond to and report plaintiff's symptoms
- Medical Malpractice
- None at this time
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