Epidural Abscess MedMal Case Results in Confidential High 7-Figure Settlement

Neurological problems can progress quickly, so it’s imperative to evaluate all possible causes when a patient presents with severe neurological symptoms. Claggett & Sykes’ client began experiencing symptoms 3 days prior to visiting the hospital, and by then was experiencing weakness in both legs, incontinence, and tingling and weakness in his hands. His complaints were consistent with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and this was the diagnosis made without ruling out other possibilities. Testing to support this misdiagnosis was conducted, which included imaging on the lumbar spine only, as well as a spinal tap to test the cerebrospinal fluid. The results did not indicate GBS, and the client continued to have worsening symptoms. After ruling out GBS, the hospital finally decided to do additional imaging  on the thoracic and cervical spine and found an abscess in the cervical spine that was compressing his spinal cord. This possibility had been considered initially, but then they only chose to do imaging on the lumbar spine. The permanent damage to his spinal cord may have been prevented had they done full imaging for his symptoms when he first presented. The progression was rapid, and the three days between the lumbar imaging and the cervical imaging could have been the difference between a full recovery and permanent damage. 

David Creasy and Jennifer Morales came to Focus Graphics to create an animation that would incorporate the imaging to give a full explanation of the progression of the client’s symptoms and the resulting damage. Colorization of MRIs were completed to show the location of the abscess and an animation was made to show the parts of the spinal cord that were damaged by the abscess as it grew. Unfortunately, the Claggett & Sykes team didn’t get to use it at mediation because there were 15 defendants and very little time, and the mediator didn’t bring up the argument as they did previously. What it did do to help, however, was educate the attorneys so they understood exactly what happened to their client, helping them to be able to speak about it in an educated manner at mediation and settle the case for a confidential high 7-figure amount for their client.

This animation, while never actually being seen by the defense, was instrumental in helping me and my whole team understand how the damage occurred to our client and the detriment of even a few days delay in ordering additional imaging. The hospital did not provide timely treatment for our client, resulting in permanent damage for which he will need lifelong care. Focus Graphics helped us to achieve the settlement necessary for our client’s future care.

~David Creasy, Esq., Las Vegas, NV | Claggett & Sykes Law Firm


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