$5.2 Million Jury Verdict for Late Diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Nicole Hill was 33 years old when she went to the hospital emergency room complaining of acute lower back pain, as well as hip and leg pain. An emergency department doctor prescribed pain medication and sent her home.

Hill’s pain continued and as a result, she came back to the same hospital two weeks later telling the same doctor that her symptoms had increased and that she was suffering numbness and incontinence. She again was released with instructions to obtain an outpatient MRI.

Hill went to another hospital, this time a week later, and was diagnosed as having cauda equina syndrome and a massive disk herniation at level L5-S1. This condition is a medical emergency in most instances.

Cauda equina is a Latin term that translates literally, “tail of the horse,” which is a metaphor for the way the bundle of nerves that makes up the end of human spinal column looks like to neurosurgeons.

Hill underwent surgical removal of that afflicted disk. As a consequence, she continues to suffer incontinence and radiating back and leg pain, which cause numbness in her feet. She requires a catheter and suffers from frequent episodes of sepsis necessitating frequent hospitalizations.

Hill sued the emergency room doctor and his employer maintaining that he chose not to timely diagnose cauda equina syndrome. Hill claimed that she should have been admitted into the hospital during the second visit and should have been seen by the neurosurgeon. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

The defendant doctor denied that Hill had been suffering from cauda equina syndrome during the second hospital visit and argued that she was comparatively negligent for failing to obtain the MRI as ordered.

The jury’s verdict was for $5,200,000, but found that Hill was 40% responsible for her own injuries.

The attorneys successfully handling Hill’s lawsuit were Tracey L. Dellacona, Katherine L. McArthur and Jessica Applegate Edmonds.

At this jury trial, Hill’s counsel presented expert testimony in the areas of physical rehabilitation, life care planning, spinal surgery and emergency medicine.

The defendants presented experts in emergency medicine and neurosurgery.

Hill v. Denis, No. 13-C-03018-52 (Ga. St. Ct. Gwinnett County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling misdiagnosis lawsuits, medical negligence cases, neurosurgery errors, hospital negligence lawsuits and surgical error lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Palos Heights, Hickory Hills, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Elmwood Park, Frankfurt, Franklin Park, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Niles, Chicago (Garfield Park, Clybourn Corridor, Old Town, Goose Island, West Loop, West Town, Little Italy, Greek Town, Pilsen, Chinatown, Kenwood, Hyde Park, Jackson Park, South Chicago, East Side, Pullman), Burbank, Bedford Park and Blue Island, Ill.

Robert Kreisman is currently handling medical malpractice cases of delayed treatment of cauda equina syndrome.

Related blog posts:

The Timing of Giving Antibiotics Proved to be Critical in Sepsis Diagnosis and Treatment

Cook County Jury Sides with Hospital in Misdiagnosed Brain Aneurysm Medical Malpractice/ Wrongful Death Case

Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Medical Malpractice-Wrongful Death Verdict for Hospital