No announcement yet.

Partial paralysis from spinal anesthesia /Plaintiff lost partial use of leg.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Partial paralysis from spinal anesthesia /Plaintiff lost partial use of leg.

    Partial paralysis from spinal anesthesia
    Plaintiff lost partial use of leg.
    By Nick Upmeyer

    The negligent administration of an anesthetic prior to knee replacement surgery has cost an anesthesiologist, his medical group and a Chicago hospital $12.6 million. The malpractice resulted in a spinal cord injury that left the plaintiff with partial paralysis of his right leg.

    At 68-years-old, James York, a retired orthopedic surgeon, was active and healthy, spending several months a year in Africa, where he provided medical care to people in need.

    In August 1997, York, suffering from arthritis and other degenerative conditions, was admitted to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center to undergo the knee-replacement surgery.

    Abdel El-Ganzouri administered the spinal epidural regional anesthesia to York. An anesthesiologist with the University Anesthesiologists group, El-Ganzouri was wearing Rush scrubs and gowns, leaving the impression that he was employed by the hospital.

    The standard of care for performing an epidural requires insertion of a needle into the L2-L3 vertebral interspace, below the spinal cord. York claimed that El-Ganzouri negligently injected the anesthetic into the T12-L1 interspace, two spaces too high and within range of the spinal cord.

    A resident anesthesiologist testified that York's screams during the injection were unlike anything he'd heard before or since. Yet the surgery proceeded and York's left knee was successfully replaced.

    Said Timothy S. Tomasik, York's attorney. "He ran a medical red light when he should have stopped the procedure."

    Post-surgery, York experienced loss of movement in his legs as well as bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction. While he can now walk short distances with a cane, he continues to suffer a loss of sexual and bladder function.

    York's attorneys argued that El-Ganzouri and University Anesthesiologists were medically negligent and brought in Rush on a theory of apparent agency. The defense argued that York's condition resulted from a drop in blood pressure during surgery, causing an ischemic stroke to the spinal cord.

    On June 13, the jury found the three defendants jointly and severally liable and awarded York $11.6 million and his wife, Elizabeth, $1 million. Defense counsel Francis R. Petrek Jr. said he plans to file a post-trial motion to overturn the verdict, claiming that the jury was unable to grasp the sophisticated medicine at issue.

    Plaintiffs' attorneys: Robert A. Clifford and Timothy S. Tomasik, Clifford Law Offices, Chicago

    Defense attorneys: Francis R. Petrek Jr. and Martin P. Head, Bollinger, Ruberry & Garvey, Chicago; R. Dennis Rasor and Aaron J. Jensen, Anderson, Bennett & Partners, Chicago

    Copyright © 2002 NLP IP Company. All rights reserved.

    And the head anesthesiologist, an MD, looked a bit taken a back when I very quickly said "no way" when asked if I thought an epidural might be safer than twilight anesthesia for my colonoscopy test. I know a couple of women who had bad epis or spinal strokes from epidurals during labor. One spinal stroke was enough, thanks!
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.