Case Archive
Neurology, Neurosurgery
Ref. # 26468

A successful Missouri businessman entered an emergency room in August 1992, reporting right-sided numbness and neck pain and weakness. He was admitted as an R/O CVA by an emergency room physician in consultation with a neurologist, who ordered a CT scan, which was negative. The neurologist considered an MRI but did not follow up with one. Two days later the patient suffered full cardio-pulmonary arrest at the hospital and was successfully resuscitated. Ten days after the arrest an MRI was performed and the patient was diagnosed with a cervical epidural hematoma. He is now quadriplegic. A medQuest neurosurgeon found that the hematoma caused the quadriplegia and that the attending physician and consulting neurologist are liable due to the marked delay in diagnosis. A medQuest neurologist noted there were many indications of the hematoma, most notably that the patient reported severe cervical neck pain and weakness to the physical therapist and registered nurses for days following the arrest and resuscitation. Moreover, the medQuest neurologist noted that the time lapse in ordering an MRI was below the standard of care and that one would have revealed a bleed. With appropriate neurological and neurosurgical intervention, the epidural hematoma would have been successfully treated, minimizing or preventing the extent of paraplegia.

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