Halberg & Fogg PLLC South Florida injury law firm partner Ryan Fogg recently won a $3.6 million medical malpractice arbitration award on behalf of a Cocoa Beach man for the wrongful death of his wife, the result of medical malpractice at Cape Canaveral Hospital in Brevard County. The court-approved arbitration award followed four years of litigation, for which our team has been tirelessly committed to obtaining accountability and compensation for our client.
It began with a common ailment: Back pain. Decedent, a 60-year-old woman, sought relief from a doctor, receiving four spinal injections at the facility over the course of three months in spring 2012.
As West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney Ryan Fogg later explained to Florida Today, decedent was back in the hospital less than two weeks after that last injection – this time in the emergency room, suffering agonizing pain.
Medical Malpractice Cause of Action
Physicians diagnosed her with something called an epidural abscess. As explained in Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, the condition is an infection forming in the space between either the bones of the skull and the lining of the brain or the spinal bones and lining membrane of the spinal cord. It is very painful and typically caused by a bacterial Staphylococcus aureus infection. Sometimes fungus or other germs are to blame. Those who have undergone recent back surgeries – or, as in this case, spinal injections – are at higher risk.
Researchers with the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery note patients with an epidural abscess have an excellent prognosis – when they are diagnosed early and treated immediately with surgery and antimicrobial chemotherapy. If it is not treated both promptly and properly, it can lead to irreversible nerve damage and death.
In this case, over the course of nearly a year, the patient underwent eight surgeries – including removal of spinal discs to address infection of the bones following the discovery of numerous abscesses on MRI tests. She was in a medically-induced coma for much of the time, with antibiotics fed through a tube inserted directly into her scalp. She contracted meningitis, and suffered heartbreaking bouts of hallucination.
As Fogg noted to a reporter, “It was just an excruciating time period for her, for (our client), for the entire family.”
She died in February 2013.
The West Palm Beach medical malpractice law firm of Halberg & Fogg introduced evidence in the case the patient’s doctor, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, was responsible for introducing the bacterial infection into her spine that caused the epidural abscess and then further exacerbating the situation by negligently treating that infection.
The defendant physician is now employed at a VA hospital in Orlando. Meanwhile our client, a former restaurant owner, lost his best friend and wife of nearly 22 years – and incurred $1.1 million in medical bills.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her, and think of us together,” our client told Florida Today.
Defendant Appeals on Procedural Grounds
F.S. 766.108 requires parties in any medical malpractice case to attend mandatory mediation and settlement conferences in good faith. In addition to that, courts can also require both parties to submit to mandatory non-binding arbitration. Conversely, those involved may agree to enter voluntary binding arbitration. These are alternatives to the time and expense of a medical malpractice trial.
Cocoa Beach man wins $3.6 million judgment from Health First in wife’s 2013 death, Jan. 28, 2019, By Rick Neal, Florida Today
More Blog Entries:
Florida Supreme Court: Anesthesiologist May Be Partially Liable, Even if Errors Not Prime Cause of Patient Death, Jan. 14, 2019, West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Attorney Blog