Case #1092: Surgical Errors




On September 26, Plaintiff, a 64 year old male, presented to the Defendant Hospital and reported low back pain and symptomatology which had worsened. A prior MRI confirmed disc pathology at L4-5 and S1. After examination, the Defendant’s personnel advised the Claimant to undergo surgery for correction of his condition.

After a pre-operative visit on October 5, the Plaintiff underwent the surgery on October 9, at the Co-Defendant Hospital. Contrary to the standards of care, the Defendant’s personnel improperly placed pedicle screws at the L4-5 level, as well as the S1 level. In fact, during the operative procedure (via neuromonitoring,) the Defendant’s personnel were alerted that he may have placed the pedicle screws in an inappropriate anatomical position. As a direct and proximate result of improper pedicle screw placement, the Plaintiff suffered damaged nerve roots at anatomical areas including, but not limited to, L5 and S1. Post-operatively, the Plaintiff developed a foot drop in addition to severe pain, loss of sensation, and severely compromised bowel and bladder function.

Notwithstanding these findings, the Defendants negligently continued in failing to timely diagnose the etiology of his condition and intervene. In fact, it was not until October 13, that an MRI was belatedly performed which documented inappropriate placement of the pedicle screws. Then, the Plaintiff was finally returned to an operating room where the Defendant’s personnel removed the offending pedicle screw in the L5 distribution, but failed to remove the screws which were inappropriately placed at the S1 distribution. Tragically, this surgery proved too little too late. The damage and disability inflicted was permanent.