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$1,725,000 Settlement for Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury During Surgery

William Crutchlow, Esq. of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP with offices in Edison and Toms River, New Jersey recently settled a case for a man who sustained spinal cord damage following lumbar spine fusion surgery. The injury occurred when an epidural hematoma developed during the surgery and went undiagnosed and untreated for a several hour period of time. Problems with neurological function were identified on intraoperative neuromonitoring at the end of the operation, were confirmed on physical exam in the recovery room and persisted following transfer to the regular nursing floor. Both the operating orthopedic spine surgeon and the anesthesiologist managing the case were aware of these unexpected neurological deficits, yet neither took any steps to assess their patient for the cause. Instead, they erroneously assumed that the problems were due to a prolonged anesthetic effect and would wear off. Finally, an MRI was performed the following morning which confirmed the presence of a large hematoma compressing the spinal cord. This hematoma was surgically removed, but the delay in diagnosis and management was too long and the patient was left with permanent injury. Our client sustained neurological injury impacting the motor function and sensation in his legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, sexual dysfunction and the emotional consequence of these injuries. This case was settled prior to trial with both the spine surgeon and the anesthesiologist.