Wyandotte County, Kansas. Defense Verdict
Plaintiff was a 44-year-old morbidly obese male who was diagnosed in the early 2000’s with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a condition where the spine fuses together and causes forward flexion of the spine. On October 4, 2011, Plaintiff suffered an unstable spine fracture while undergoing a CT Myelogram at The University of Kansas Medical Center. Four days later, Plaintiff consented to Defendant performing a spinal fixation surgery to stabilize the fracture site. Prior to surgery, Plaintiff lost evoked motor potentials while being positioned from the supine to prone position. In the face of lost motor potentials, Defendant chose to proceed with the surgery and quickly decompressed compromised nerves around the fracture site before performing the spinal fusion surgery. The surgery lasted 7 hours. Immediately following the surgery Plaintiff suffered from paraplegia, but improved over subsequent months to the point that he currently only has some deficits in his right leg. Plaintiffs brought a medical malpractice suit claiming Defendant should have aborted the surgery, turned Plaintiff from the prone to supine position and attempted to realign Plaintiff’s spine so as to reacquire evoked motor potentials. Plaintiff alleged damages of permanent paraplegia with medical expenses of $200,000 and present and future economic loss of $5,600,000 for a total of $5,800,000. The only demand for settlement was in the amount of $3,600,000 and was made during the midst of the trial. Defendant claimed that his decision to proceed with surgery was met the requirements of the applicable standard of care and that Plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages by aggressively participating in therapy and losing weight. After 5 days of trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict after approximately 10 minutes of deliberation.