$3.47 Million Arbitration Award in Failure to Order MRI

After a fall, John Mitchell, 53, went to a Kaiser Permanente occupational medicine specialist complaining of back pain, numbness and weakness. The doctor prescribed steroids and a muscle relaxer and asked Mitchell to return in one week.

At the next appointment, Mitchell reported increased numbness and weakness in his legs. The doctor referred Mitchell to a Kaiser Permanente emergency room for an MRI of his lumbar spine. The MRI showed mild degenerative changes. Mitchell was referred to a neurologist.

Before the neurology appointment, he met with a Kaiser specialist who ordered a STAT MRI of the thoracic spine. The first available appointment was four days later.

By that time, Mitchell could not walk without assistance. The MRI showed a herniated thoracic disk at T9-10 with a spinal cord compression. In spite of emergency decompression surgery and a laminectomy, Mitchell now suffers from incomplete paraplegia.

Although he taught himself to walk again, he has an impaired gait and must use a cane and a wheelchair for long distances.

Mitchell claimed that the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan should have timely diagnosed possible spinal cord compression and should have ordered the STAT MRI. He claimed more than $31,500 in lost earnings. The defendant argued that Mitchell’s injuries could not have been avoided.

The arbitration award was more than $3.47 million.

The attorneys successfully representing Mitchell were Robert F. Vaag and Elizabeth Teixeria.

At the arbitration hearing, Mitchell’s attorneys presented experts in physical medicine, primary care, economics, orthopedic surgery, life care planning and emergency medicine.
The defendant Kaiser Foundation Health Plan presented experts in physical medicine, economics, neurosurgery, internal medicine, emergency medicine, neurology and life care planning.

Mitchell v. Kaiser Found Health Plan, Inc., Cal. Mandatory Arb.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, orthopedic negligence cases, birth trauma injury lawsuits and neurosurgery errors 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 Franklin Park, Addison, Glendale Heights, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Carol Stream, West Chicago, Naperville, Burr Ridge, Bedford Park, Evergreen Park, Blue Island, South Holland, Oak Park, Park Ridge, Glenview, Arlington Heights, Chicago (Edgewater, Uptown, Lakeview, Galewood, Austin, Humboldt Park, Ukrainian Village, Noble Square, Fulton River District, Little Italy, South Loop, Little Village, Homan Square, North Lawndale, Oakland, Bronzeville), Cicero, Forest Park and Berwyn, Ill.

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