$1,500,000 settlement for misdiagnosis of an ependymoma*
Our client complained of back and neck pain with numbness and tingling in her hands and feet. Her orthopedic surgeon diagnosed her with “degenerative disc disease” and referred her to a neurologist for the numbness and tingling. The neurologist performed an EMG (electromyogram) which was slightly abnormal, but he didn’t order any other tests and wrongly concluded the patient’s neurological exam was supposedly “normal.” The neurologist told our client her numbness and tingling symptoms were caused by obesity, and she should go on a diet to lose weight. Assuming the patient had no neurological problems, the orthopedic surgeon performed spine surgery for the degenerative disc disease condition; however, when our client awoke from anesthesia she was paralyzed. An MRI scan revealed a large benign tumor (ependymoma) in the patient’s spinal cord which caused paralysis when her spine was manipulated during the surgery.
Marjorie Chalfant proved the defendant neurologist did not comply with the standard of care because he failed to order a spine MRI, which would have clearly revealed the ependymoma. Usually, ependymomas are congenital (present at birth). Because they are benign (non-cancerous), ependymomas grow very slowly over someone’s lifetime. When ependymomas finally grow large enough to cause symptoms of numbness and tingling, these tumors are surgically removed without further problems.
During litigation, The Nurse Attorney discovered the defendant neurologist had failed the Neurology Board Certification three (3) times; however, this information was kept secret from the public.
*Ms. Chalfant’s successful settlements do not guarantee the same or similar result for every case but are presented to demonstrate her knowledge of medicine, medical malpractice litigation skills, and successful track record. Every case is unique with varying facts and circumstances.