Edward Dallies, 51, was admitted to a hospital suffering from a swollen left arm and back pain. A family physician, Dr. Lawrence Rahall, prescribed intravenous antibiotics.
A bone scan showed Dallies had a compression fracture of the spine. However, he did not undergo an MRI because he did not fit into the hospital’s MRI machine. Five days later, Dr. Rahall stopped the antibiotics. Dallies was discharged three days later.
Dallies’ neurological condition worsened. He became unable to move his legs. Dallies was later diagnosed as having an epidural abscess, which necessitated surgery. As a consequence of his injuries, he now suffers from paralysis and neurological deficits, including a neurogenic bowel and bladder. He is unable to continue working as a laborer earning approximately $25,000 per year.
Dallies filed a lawsuit against Dr. Rahall and one of his treating orthopedists alleging that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat the epidural abscess and start appropriate antibiotic therapy. The lawsuit also alleged that the defendants chose not to stabilize the compression fracture.