Delayed Treatment of Spinal Cord Abscess Leaves Patient with Paralysis; Jury Enters Verdict of $4.88 Million

April Mendel, 52, underwent a laminectomy done by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Williams. Dr. Williams was assisted by an orthopedic surgery resident, Dr. Andrew Beaver.

Several days after being discharged from the hospital, she called Dr. Williams’s office complaining of fever and drainage at the wound site. A member of Dr. Williams’s staff told Mendel to see the doctor the next day or go to the emergency room.

She went to a second hospital where she was diagnosed as having a wound infection. After being contacted regarding her condition, Dr. Williams ordered a transfer to different hospital at 6 p.m. By noon the next day, Mendel was transferred to a different hospital where 6 hours later she underwent surgery to treat an abscess in her lumbar spine. Despite the surgery, she suffered a permanent spinal cord injury that has left her with paraplegia, paralysis of her lower limbs.

Mendel filed a lawsuit against Drs. Williams and Beaver and the first hospital claiming delayed treatment of the spinal cord abscess due to the defendants’ failure to timely transfer her to a hospital where she could undergo surgery. The lawsuit did not make a claim for lost income or lost earnings.

The jury’s verdict of $4,880,000 was found to be 34% the fault of Dr. Williams and the remaining to defendants each were held accountable at 33%. The attorney representing April Mendel was Marsha F. Santangelo. Plaintiff’s counsel engaged an expert in orthopedic surgery to testify at trial.

Mendel v. Williams, et al., No. 2010-07-003103 (Pa. Ct. Com. Pleas Phila. County, April 9, 2015).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases, surgical negligence cases, hospital negligence cases and nursing home negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Tinley Park, Calumet City, Flossmoor, Highwood, Homewood, Hanover Park, Skokie, Winnetka, Waukegan and Elgin, Ill.

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