$18 Million Jury Verdict for Late Diagnosis and Treatment of Infection to Spine

Joan Simmons, 58, was experiencing acute back pain. She went to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital. She was treated and released. Her back pain continued.

Eight days after the back pain started, she returned to the hospital complaining of an altered mental status. Testing revealed a blood stream infection.

An infectious disease specialist, Dr. Sarah Barbour, examined Simmons, who then began to experience progressive leg weakness.

Within a week, tests showed a spinal epidural abscess, and Simmons underwent surgery. Despite the operation to remove the abscess, she suffered paraplegia and now requires continuous care.

She had been working as a certified public accountant at the time of her illness and injury.

Simmons sued Dr. Barbour and her medical group alleging late diagnosis and treatment of the spinal infection. The lawsuit also claimed that the hospital’s nurses were negligent in choosing not to perform neurological assessments and report changes in her condition to physicians. She claimed lost earnings of more than $687,000.

The jury returned a verdict of $18 million in favor of Simmons.

The attorneys successfully representing Joan Simmons were Jeffrey R. Harris, Stephen G. Lowry, W. Andrew Bowen, Paul W. Painter III and Owen Murphy.

At trial, the plaintiff’s counsel presented experts specializing in nursing and infectious disease.

Simmons v. Southcoast Medical Group, LLC, No. STCV 1600837 (Ga. St. Ct. Chatham County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling physician negligence lawsuits, medical malpractice cases, hospital negligence lawsuits, birth trauma injury cases and brain injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Summit, Burr Ridge, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Warrenville, Winfield, Elk Grove Village, Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Chicago (Albany Park, Mayfair, Polish Village, Galewood, Austin, Archer Heights, Midway, Garfield Ridge, Gresham, Burnside, South Deering, Lake Calumet, Riverdale, Washington Heights, Beverly, Mount Greenwood, Morgan Park), Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Blue Island, Calumet Park and Palos Hills, Ill.

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