Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News

Medical Malpractice Victim Receives $56 Million Verdict

Patricia Jones was 56 years old when she was first experiencing intense pain and a tingling sensation in her arms, hands, and neck.

According to her lawyers, the events that followed at Good Samaritan Hospital in New York left Patricia a quadriplegic- never able to walk again.

From Painful to Paralyzed

In 2009, Patricia decided to undergo surgery designed to alleviate the constant pain she was having in her arms, hands, and neck. The procedure, called a laminectomy, is described by the Mayo Clinic as, “A surgery that creates space by removing the lamina — the back part of a vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also known as decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.” The Mayo Clinic also describes the surgery as a, “generally a safe procedure”.

The surgery, performed by Dr. George Alexander Jones and assisted by Dr. Daniel Spritzer, took a wrong turn when a piece of fractured bone became embedded in the protective coating of her spinal cord, causing a contusion. Allegedly, the surgeons knew about the damage but didn’t disclose it to anyone- causing a hematoma to form and lead to her paralysis the very next day.

One day post-op, Patricia’s blood pressure dropped and she became paralyzed. A CAT scan wasn’t ordered for another three hours to determine the cause of the paralysis.

According to Patricia’s lawyers, the doctors proceeded with the surgery even after spinal cord testing during the procedure detected an injury. They argued that had the injury been properly diagnosed, the hematoma could have been removed and paralysis would have been prevented.

“She’s [Patricia] been in a wheelchair since August of 2009 because they didn’t want to tell anyone what happened in the OR,” – Evan Torgan, Defendent’s Lawyer

Medical Malpractice Trial

After five long months in trial before New York Supreme Court Judge Rolf Thorsen, the jury awarded a record-breaking verdict of $55.9 million. Included in the verdict were $20 million for pain and suffering and additional amounts for lost wages, medical care, therapy, medications, equipment, modifications to her home, and others. Her husband was also awarded $10 million for lost services.

According to court papers, some parties initially named in the case settled before the trial including Good Samaritan Hospital, several nurses, and Ramapo Radiology, hired to read the MRI and CAT scans.

Due to the parties that settled before the verdict, the $55.9 million is reduced by 50%, still leaving Dr. Jones and Dr. Spitzer responsible for paying for the other 50% of their mistake, nearly $28 million.

Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Tittle & Perlmuter has represented victims of medical malpractice for years. To learn more about forms of medical malpractice including surgical errors, physician negligence, misdiagnosis, or others, download a free copy of our Ohio Medical Malpractice Guide.

If you think you or a loved one has been involved in a form of medical malpractice, call 216-285-9991 or fill out a contact form online for a free consultation.

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