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Couple awarded $2.85 million after medical error led to paralysis

Surgeons are expected to be able to think quickly on their feet. This means that when a patient arrives at a hospital for an emergency, the surgeons and medical personnel on staff should be properly trained in how to best treat this patient.

In one 2004 case though, which was just recently in court, the claim was a surgeon made a bad call by ordering a patient to be taken out of the pre-operative holding area to receive a CAT scan related to his knee. At the time, the man was in pre-operative due to the fact several of the arteries in his forearm had been severed in a car accident.

At the time, while the man was in the pre-operative surgery area in order to try and stop the bleeding in his arm, the surgeon's orders for the CAT scan were followed. This decision ended up delaying his surgery by 30 minutes.

This 30 minute delay reportedly led to the man going into cardiac and respiratory arrest. Going by witness accounts and medical records, he went without blood flow for somewhere between eight and 27 minutes.

An anesthesiologist and an emergency room doctor were able to resuscitate the man. However, he now suffers from paralysis from slightly above the waist down.

In looking at some red flags, at the time the CAT scan was ordered, the patient's blood pressure was dangerously low. According to expert testimony, the man's vitals should have been taken as a sign to not move him from pre-operative.

In the end, a jury ended up agreeing and the man and his wife were awarded $2.85 million.

A settlement was also reached with the medical center where the malpractice occurred, but the amount of that settlement is confidential.

Source:, "Jury awards $2.85 million in Myrtle Beach area medical malpractice lawsuit," David Wren, Sept. 17, 2013

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