Lawsuit: Hospital Negligence In Treatment of Crash Victim Resulted in Paralysis

The central question in a Florida injury lawsuit is whether a plaintiff’s paralyzing spinal cord injuries in June 2012 were the result of medical negligence or the crash for which she was being treated. doctor

The case is Silkworth v. Boca Raton Regional Hospital. The South Florida woman alleges her injuries were caused by failure of the hospital staffers to adhere to appropriate medical guidelines in immediately immobilizing her spine in the wake of a horrific car accident. She had been a passenger in the backseat of a taxi late one night when the vehicle was T-boned by another motorist. She was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. She concedes she was in serious condition when she arrived at the hospital, but the standard of care in her case dictated that medical workers immediately immobilize her spine. But they didn’t do that, and now, she says, she is permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

Medical reports indicate plaintiff didn’t have any symptoms of paralysis until long after she got to the hospital and underwent treatment – without her spine first being immobilized. 

An attorney for plaintiff alleged the hospital breached the standard of care by repeatedly moving her around without protecting her spine. This resulted in complete paraplegia, something he opines was preventable. According to Courtroom View Network, the hospital’s own internal policy instructed emergency medical staffers that if they were in doubt about whether immobilization was necessary, they should do so anyway as a precautionary measure. Doctors could always from there work to rule out an unstable spinal fracture, but there is no going back if the spine isn’t protected from the moment of injury.

Plaintiff says her spinal injury has upended her life, resulting in millions of dollars in damages in medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. It has affected her ability to be a good parent to her son, to work and to care for herself day-to-day.

Defendants don’t at this point deny the extent of her damages. However, they contend the spinal cord injury and paralysis were caused solely by the crash. Expert witnesses for the defense testified during depositions that the impact of the collision “obliterated” plaintiff’s spine, resulting in her permanent paralysis before she ever entered the hospital doors. They allege she was not wearing a eat belt at the time of the crash. She was reportedly intoxicated (hence, why she was taking a taxi that night) and, according to defense, was unable to give a full and proper accounting of the events or her injuries in the immediate aftermath of the car accident.

Defense attorneys added that emergency responders in depositions characterized their own post-crash reports as “unreliable,” adding that none conducted a neurological assessment of plaintiff’s lower extremities. This was a mistake, and one that muddied the record, which should have reflected that plaintiff was a paraplegic by the time those vehicles came to rest.

Although the facts of this case are unique, causation is a commonly disputed issue in medical malpractice lawsuits. That’s why it’s imperative to have an experienced attorney advocating on your behalf.

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Hospital Negligence Paralyzed Car Crash Victim, Attorney Says as Med Mal Trial Begins, Nov. 30, 2016, By Arlin Crisco, CVN

More Blog Entries:

Davis v. Baez – Florida Negligence Claim Against School Bus Driver Gets Green Light, Dec. 2, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Spinal Injury Lawyer Blog