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$26,802,019 Verdict – Surgical Negligence Resulting in Paraplegia


Congratulations to Conal Doyle, Esq. of Doyle Law in Beverly Hills, CA, Alejandro D. Blanco, Esq. of The Blanco Law Firm in Glendale, CA and Philip Michels, Esq. of Law Offices of Michels & Lew in Los Angeles, CA for the verdict they reached on behalf of their client who was rendered paraplegic (below T-6) due to the defendants' malpractice and negligence. 


This case involves a woman with a history of chronic lumbar spine problems and multiple surgeries.  Continued spinal degeneration had brought the plaintiff to depend on heavy doses of medication to treat her chronic and debilitating back pain.  One of the defendants, a neurosurgeon, performed a surgery on her thoracic spinal cord to replace some of the fixation hardware and insert a new expandable cage to correct the abnormal curvature of the spine.  Neuromonitoring was carried out during the procedure by two other defendants (neurodiagnostic technologists).



During the procedure, the neuromonitoring signal was lost, but the surgery continued as if no disruption in signal had occurred.  At trial, the young neuromonitor who had been left in charge of the neuromonitoring claims that he advised the surgeon of the lost signal.  The surgeon denied that this occurred.



After the surgery, the defendant surgeon became aware that the plaintiff was unable to move her legs.  Not until approximately 14 hours later did the surgeon return the plaintiff to the O.R. for surgical exploration.  No cause for paralysis was found.  A week later, with no improvement, a CT was finally ordered that revealed a hidden bone fragment at T5 that compressed the cord.  Another surgical procedure was performed but was too late to reverse the paralysis.



The multiple defendants pointed blame at each other and ultimately argued that the plaintiff's paralysis could not have been corrected even with prompt diagnosis and treatment.



The plaintiffs contended that the medical providers were negligent in multiple ways and that negligence resulted in a failure to promptly diagnose and treat the plaintiff's spinal cord compression.  Plaintiffs proved that a prompt diagnosis and decompression would have resulted in little or no permanent neurological deficits. Mr. Doyle’s cross-examination of the defense neurosurgeon was a pivotal point in the trial.



The plaintiff's team of attorneys utilized several exhibits, including the ones shown below, to demonstrate these errors as well as the plaintiff's injuries and surgical procedures. 



The case has now settled on appeal, and the total recovery of $17,000,000 is one of the largest malpractice recoveries in California history.  The verdict was the largest medical malpractice jury verdict in Kern County history.

Conal Doyle Case

For a more detailed account of the case issues, trial facts, results, etc. please Click here.