The Fourth Court of Appeals San Antonio, Texas (“Texas Appellate Court”), in its opinion filed on November 7, 2018, affirmed a Texas medical malpractice jury’s award of nearly $12 million for a man in his late 70s who entered the defendant Texas nursing home for treatment of a groin rash that was preventing him from having right hip replacement surgery, but left thirteen days later suffering from permanent paraplegia and incontinence.
The cause of the plaintiff’s permanent paraplegia and incontinence was a tumor on his thoracic spine that caused a compression fracture resulting in his neurological injury. If the tumor and compression fracture had been diagnosed, even as late as three days before he left the defendant nursing home, the plaintiff would not have suffered these permanent injuries.
“A Tragic Series Of Missed Opportunities To Discover And Treat The Tumor On, And Compression Fracture Of, Detrick’s Thoracic Spine”
The Texas Appellate Court described “a tragic series of missed opportunities to discover and treat the tumor on, and compression fracture of, [the plaintiff’s] thoracic spine”:
– the plaintiff was scheduled to have an MRI of his thoracic spine on November 23, 2013 (three days before his admission to the defendant nursing home), but the MRI was canceled because he did not have transportation to the facility;
– the night before he was to have had that MRI, the plaintiff fell and was admitted to the hospital, but he did not inform anyone at the hospital that he had been scheduled for an MRI;
– the plaintiff was seen by a physician on November 27, 2013, the day after he was admitted to the defendant nursing home, but the physician failed to perform a neurological exam;
– on the same day, a nurse at the defendant nursing home noted by a checkmark on the plaintiff’s chart that he was incontinent of bladder, and on the following day, checkmarks on his chart indicate that the plaintiff was at that time incontinent of bladder and bowel. The fact that this incontinence was a change in the plaintiff’s condition was not brought to the attention of his treating physicians, who testified that knowing the plaintiff’s new onset incontinence would have caused them to immediately send the plaintiff back to the hospital for an MRI;
– on December 1, 2013, an x-ray technician took two x-rays of the plaintiff’s thoracic spine. One view was medically insufficient but was nonetheless forwarded to a physician without retaking it. The physician then misread the x-rays and erroneously reported that there was no fracture.
All of the Texas medical malpractice defendants, except the defendant nursing home, settled before trial for a total of $1,850,000. The jury was asked to determine negligence as to each of the settling defendants, as well as the defendant nursing home. The jury found each defendant to have negligently caused the plaintiff’s injury and apportioned 55% of the responsibility for that injury to the defendant Texas nursing home.
Source Regent Care Center of San Antono, L.P. v. Detrick, No. 04-17-00596-CV.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Texas or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home under-staffing, or the nursing home failing to properly care for a vulnerable adult, you should promptly find a nursing home claim lawyer in Texas or a nursing home claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
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