$14.9 Million Jury Verdict For Patient Paralyzed by Negligently Administered Steroid Injection

A Colorado jury has signed its verdict for $14.9 million to a couple in Colorado. This medical negligence lawsuit alleged that an outpatient surgery center was negligent in administering a steroid that caused Robbin Smith’s paralysis from the waist down.

The jury determined that The Surgery Center at Lone Tree LLC, the defendant in the case, was negligent in treating Smith in 2013 by injecting a steroid called Kenalog in her spine despite the drug company’s warning. Two years before the injection was done, the drug maker of the steroid drug, Kenalog announced that Kenalog should not be used for epidural procedures as Smith was given.

The Colorado jury found that the surgery center’s negligence and its choosing not to obtain Smith’s informed consent to the steroid injection was a cause of her paralysis. This record-setting verdict was entered on March 23, 2017.

The jury awarded Smith approximately $1.7 million in past and future medical expenses; $3.2 million in unspecified economic damages; and $6.5 million in past and future noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. Smith’s husband, Doyle Edward Smith, will receive $3.5 million in past and future noneconomic damages for loss of consortium, according to the verdict.

Congratulations to the attorney for the Smiths, Bruce Braley of Denver’s Leventhal & Puga PC, who said the jury fairly considered the evidence and issued a verdict that provided justice for his clients.

“This verdict won’t restore Robbin’s ability to walk. But it will give Robbin and Ed the chance to make the most of the life they now have,” Mr. Braley said in a statement. Mr. Braley is a former U.S. House of Representative from Iowa’s First District.

The lawsuit stems from a September 2013 steroid injection Smith received at the surgery center that was administered despite a warning label stating in bold, block letters that the steroid was “not for epidural use.” The warning label was added in 2011 at the request of the drug’s manufacturer, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The label also had additional warnings stating that adverse neurological reactions may occur if the drug is administered by  an epidural, including spinal cord infarction and paraplegia, which  is exactly what happened here.

In addition, Smith was never informed of the changes made to the warning labels, and as a result of the injuries she sustained from the injection she will require around-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

The Smiths were successfully represented by Bruce Braley and Brian Aleinikoff of Leventhal & Puga PC.

Robbin Smith et al. v. The Surgery Center at Lone Tree, 2015-CV-30922, Douglas County District Court, Colo.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice cases, wrongful death cases, birth trauma cases and nursing home negligence and abuse cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or died because of the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding counties and municipalities including Chicago Ridge, Willowbrook, Lemont, Orland Park, Midlothian, Bedford Park, Oak Park, Itasca, LaGrange, Palatine, Palos Hills, Riverdale, Evergreen Park and Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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