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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: Verdicts, Settlements, and Experts

In November 2011, the plaintiff presented to the defendant for evaluation of new right upper extremity pain. An MRI demonstrated severe right C3-C4 facet arthropathy and foraminal stenosis. On August 21, 2012, the plaintiff again presented to the defendant with similar complaints. An MRI of his cervical spine revealed significant C3-C4 disease; his C4-C5 level showed no significant abnormality. On September 20, 2012, the plaintiff was scheduled for a C3-C4 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion to be performed by the defendant. Instead of undergoing a C3-C4 ACDF, the plaintiff underwent an unnecessary C4-C5 ACDF in conjunction with his C3-C4 ACDF. The defendant and a hospital representative disclosed his “terrible mistake” to the plaintiff immediately post-operatively.

Over the course of a year, the plaintiff began to develop significant swallowing difficulties as well as cervical pain. An ENT who evaluated the plaintiff noted that the cervical disc fusion plates were the cause of Plaintiff’s swallowing dysfunction and supported the plan to go forward with correction. The plaintiff was evaluated by another physician who noted that his C3-C4 level had fused but the C4-C5 level had failed to fuse, which demonstrated pseudoarthrosis. The plaintiff requires significant revision surgery to remove the long anterior plate, correct his swallowing dysfunction, and revise the unnecessarily performed C4-C5 ACDF to correct the pseudoarthrosis.

The case settled for an undisclosed sum.

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