Doctor Fails to Order X-Rays for Patient in Rollover Accident; Patient’s Neck Was Broken!!

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice
In an out of state case, an oil field worker was involved in a rollover accident and seriously hurt. The responding ambulance immobilized him on a backboard with a neck brace, and rushed him to the nearest hospital emergency department. While there, the patient's treating physician order head and back x-rays. The doctor concluded that the patient had no broken bones or fractures, and was just a little beat up but otherwise fine. The doctor then released the patient without a neck brace, neck x-ray, or neck physical examination.

The problem? The doctor never ordered a neck x-ray!!

Days later the patient went back to four days later with lose of use of his left arm and shoulder. It turns out he had multiple cervical spine fractures, those are the vertebrate in the neck, and needed an immediate emergency neck fusion surgery.
As a result, the patient has permanent nerve root injuries in his neck because the doctor failed to diagnose his broken neck. This will result in a second neck fusion surgery and additional surgeries such as implanting a spinal cord stimulater to reduce the amount of pain the patient will feel.

The jury came back and awarded $7 million in damages to the patient, and another $2 million to his wife for loss of consortium. Essentially, loss of consortium is grounded in tort law (civil wrongs law; opposite of criminal) which refers to the deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to injuries caused by a tortfeasor-here it was the doctor.

I am glad that the doctor got hit hard here. Why? Because it is such a simple mistake that lead to such great harm! We are all aware of the dangers of neck injuries, particularly in a car accident-let alone a rollover. The doctor and medical staff here made MAJOR mistake, especially considering they x-rayed the head AND back, but not the neck in between. I am confident this was also against hospital protocol in car accidents and rollover cases as well. Just the fact that the patient was COMPLAINING about his neck hurting, and the doctor not investigating further, should just in itself be enough of a deterrent for other doctors in similar circumstances.

But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.
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