In 2013, a then-57-year-old woman was given an epidural injection while at The Surgery Center in Lone Tree, Colorado. The center focuses on same-day surgery care.
The drug given was Kenalog, a corticosteroid. Two years prior, the manufacturer of Kenalog, Bristol-Meyers, received permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change the labeling on the drug. The plaintiff was not made aware of the labeling change before undergoing the procedure.
The new labeling read “Not for Epidural Use.” This was due to the fact that an epidural injection of it could lead to spinal cord infarction, cortical blindness, stroke, paraplegia and quadriplegia. The plaintiff in this case was immediately paralyzed from the waist down when the drug was administered. She suffered from a spinal cord infarction. That is the obstruction of the blood to a region of tissue or an organ, causing death of the tissue.
The jury was shown example bottles of the drug, labels and packaging, all of which had the printed warning. The woman is permanently paralyzed and her husband has had to retire in order to provide her with the care and assistance she will need for the rest of her life.
Her husband said, “We hope this is a wake-up call for ambulatory surgery centers and the people who run them. It’s one thing to say that patient safety is your first priority; it’s another thing to actually make it your top priority.”
This is the second largest medical malpractice lawsuit in the state’s history.
If you or a loved one have suffered because of medical negligence, you have a right to seek compensation. A New Mexico personal injury attorney can provide you with more information about how to proceed.
Source: Denver Business Journal, “Paralyzed Colorado woman wins $14.9 million malpractice verdict,” Monica Mendoza, April 10, 2017