Michels & Lew represented a woman who sustained permanent paraplegia as a result of a botched spinal surgery during which her brain function was monitored incorrectly and without the supervision of a neurologist.
The plaintiff, who had previously undergone three spinal surgeries to repair injuries resulting from a car accident, had experienced a recent deterioration in her condition, including significant pain and decreased motor function in her left leg. Her surgeon intended to replace her intervertebral cage with new fixation hardware to stabilize the spinal column in order to alleviate her symptoms.
During the surgery, the plaintiff’s brain function was supposed to be monitored by two employees of a private practice neuromonitoring group, in conjunction with a neurologist who was to interpret the SSEP waveforms online. Unbeknownst to the surgeon, the neurologist was unable to log on to the system. Instead of informing the surgeon of this fact, the neuromonitoring group’s employees proceeded to attempt to interpret the plaintiff’s SSEP waveforms on their own, despite their lack of qualification or training to do so.
During the surgery, the monitoring signals were abruptly lost – a fact that was not immediately communicated to the surgeon – and was incorrectly attributed to an equipment malfunction by the employees of the neuromonitoring group. After the operation, the plaintiff suffered from loss of motor and sensory function in both legs, also known as bilateral paraplegia. Despite subsequent attempts at reparative surgeries, her condition has not improved.
As a direct result of the lawsuit filed and prosecuted by Michels & Lew, their client was able to obtain a $20 million dollar verdict at trial.