Settlement in a Case Involving a 14-Year-old Child with Scoliosis who was Rendered Hemiplegic when the Stabilizing Rods in her Back were Replaced

A little girl had suffered from a tumor growing near her spine when she was two years old.  The tumor was successfully removed, but because the surgery required that some of her spine also be removed, two rods were inserted to stabilize her back.  By the time she was 14 years old she had developed scoliosis and needed the rods replaced and her spine further stabilized.

The removal of the first rod was successful.  A second operation was arranged for removal of the second rod.  In addition, the doctors wanted to have imaging done of the spine before inserting the new rods.

The plaintiff’s investigation of the hospital’s surgery room records showed that at the time of the second rod removal surgery, the attending surgeon was conducting both the rod removal surgery and another surgery in another room at the same time.  Form this investigation the plaintiffs showed that a surgical resident, not the attending surgeon, managed the girl’s care.  The resident did not place the girl in traction after the second rod was removed but instead sent her to the recovery room without any protection for her spine. Shortly after the operation was over, the girl recovered from the anesthesia. Her movement caused nerves in her spine to be impinged, resulting in a paralysis which was not recognized in a timely fashion.  The paralysis became permanent and the girl also suffers from related problems with her lungs as well due to the paralysis and further curvature of her spine.

The healthcare providers settled the case for 14.5 million dollars at mediation.