A 29-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis in all of her significant joints that left her legs contracted at 90 degrees. Her orthopedic surgeon recommended bilateral knee replacements to restore her ability to walk. Prior to surgery, she was to undergo several weeks on intense physical therapy to restore her range of motion. In an unusual treatment, she was given an epidural catheter to manage her pain during physical therapy.
One week before the surgery, she was experiencing signs and symptoms indicating an epidural infection. Her symptoms continued to worsen, and an epidurogram confirmed her epidural wasn’t working. Epidural analgesics and anesthetics were then increased to the maximum amount. The knee replacement surgery was performed without addressing the epidural infection.
Only when her left upper body developed paralysis and numbness, including left facial paralysis, was her epidural discontinued. By this time, she had suffered significant spinal cord damage and had permanently lost the use of both legs and one arm as well as control of her bowel and bladder.
Martin & Jones filed suit on behalf of this woman and took testimony from approximately 20 medical witnesses. Her case was settled for $4 million soon after a mediation.
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