Patient who’s kept waiting in ER develops nerve condition

This blog has written extensively on the high number of preventable deaths and injuries caused by preventable medical errors. According to a settlement reported in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, a patient developed a serious nerve condition after he was kept waiting in an ER of a local hospital.

The patient was initially taken to the ER complaining of severe lower back pain and numbness radiating down the left leg. He had reported that his legs had “given out” on him while he was in the shower. Triage was complete at 9:35 a.m.

Throughout the day, he was given painkillers and ativan. Th ER doctor evaluated him at 10:40 a.m.; hoever, he failed to consult neurology or obtain a lumber spine MRI. The patient remained in the ER and eventually an MRI was ordered at 1:15 p.m. but was not performed until 4:40 p.m.

The MRI reported postlateral disc herniation extending posterior to the L5 vertebral body. Despite these findings, neurosurgery was not contacted until 7:23 p.m., by 8:00 p.m., a second call was placed to neurosurgery after no call-back had been received. At 8:48 p.m., a third call was placed. The neurosurgeon arrived at the ER at 9:20 p.m. to transport the patient to the operating room. In his operative report, he clarified that his beeper went off for the first time at approximately 8:50 p.m.

Emergency surgery was eventually performed. The post-operative diagnosis was cauda equine syndrome, in which damage to the cauda equina causes acute loss of function of the lumber plexus (nerve roots) of the spinal canal.

While not all bad medical results are the result of malpractice, if you believe that a preventable or avoidable medical error has occurred, you may want to have your case looked at by a medical malpractice attorney.

If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice and you would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer, please contact us to speak to one of the lawyers at Curran & Desharnais, P.C., today at 781-618-3197 or 1-888-682-9194 or email Attorney Curran directly at

injury, medical malpractice, Personal Injury

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