Tuesday, 20 of November of 2018

Florida Woman Paralyzed Due to Doctors’ Negligence Receives Settlement

The physicians ignored the patient's medical needs and missed what should have been a simple diagnosis.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Negligence Attorney in Virginia

“A 61-year-old East Naples [Florida (FL)] woman who walked to an ambulance in March 2005 and left NCH North Naples Hospital paralyzed has resolved her lawsuit against three doctors.”

That is opening sentence of an October 15, 2011, Naples Daily News article I read with great interest because much of my practice as a Virginia-based medical malpractice lawyer is dedicated to representing victims of doctor’s negligence. Two aspects of the case that I found especially interesting were that the settlement was reached through mediation as the woman and her legal team were preparing for a second civil trial and that the defendant physicians had, according to evidence presented in court, ignored the woman’s pleas for treatment and missed a fairly common and serious complication from inserting a catheter along the spine to deliver anesthesia.

Regarding the mediation, the defendants had won a jury verdict absolving them of liability for negligence when the case first went to trial. Later, the judge set aside that decision and ordered a new trial because he determined that defeat for the plaintiff came in large part because one of the jurors had ignored stern warnings to not research or view news about the case outside of the courtroom. The person who committed juror misconduct consistently lied to the court when asked if he had learned anything he did not hear in testimony.

The evidence of how the defendant doctors ignored the woman’s medical needs and misdiagnosed her also struck me. According to the newspaper, the doctors ignored the woman’s screams of pain for six days because they did not consider her condition serious. When a fourth doctor was finally brought in, that person found that the patient had developed a major abscess and infection along her spine where an epidural had been administered. That injury and infection eventually caused total paralysis. Because the woman has regained very limit movement in her arms and feet, she now has an official lifelong diagnosis of quadriparesis.

While I don’t know all the facts of the case, the errors made by the doctors and the negligence they demonstrated certainly appear to have left their patient in much worse health than she was when first entrusted to their care. When health care providers fail in their duty to treat patients to the best of their abilities, those doctors, nurses, pharmacists, surgeons and others must be held accountable. I’m glad that happened in Florida.


About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.