Auto Accident in Sacramento Leaves Woman With Back Injury, Part 2 of 5

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident case and its proceedings.)

The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a personal injury case present such issues to the court.


A cervical MRI was conducted on August 4, 2007, by Tower Imaging
Center which showed that her cervical spine was normal except for a combination of
spurring and a 2 mm left paracentral disc protrusion slightly indenting the anterior cord
and causing mild left-sided canal narrowing at C5-6. There was no neural foraminal
narrowing. At C6-7, the MRI showed mild degenerative disc disease with a small posterior

spur with mild spinal stenosis. There was no neural foraminal narrowing.

On that same date, the Tower Imaging Center also performed an MRI of
Ms. Smith’s lumbar spine which showed no disc protrusion or extrusion, spinal stenosis,
or neural foraminal narrowing at any lumber spine level. There was a mild disc dessication

at L5-SI.

On August 8, 2007, Dr. Davies prescribed a course of pain management. Ms. Smith
was referred to Peter Day, M.D. at the Interval Pain Management Group. After
evaluation, Ms. Smith was treated with a cervical epidural steroid injection on September
15, 2007 and another on October 13, 2007. After both treatments, she reported temporary
relief. On September 5, 2007, she presented to Jerry James, P.A. at Conservative
Care Medical Group. Ms. Smith also began the extended use of Skelaxin, Celebrex and Tramadol that, with the addition of other prescribed medications, continues until today. Ms.
Smith’s accident-related injuries
were healing and would have healed under the
conservative treatment she was receiving.

On November 8, 2007, Ms. Smith began a course of treatment with orthopedic surgeon
John Lee, M.D. that was experimental and was of no therapeutic value as a second
surgeon later had to repair Dr. Lee’s work. Dr. Lee’s initial evaluation noted mild
disc dessication at L5-S 1, a benign vertebral body hemangioma at L2 and an incidentally
noted small Tarlov cyst at S2 as found earlier by the Tower Imaging
Center. He also noted the Tower Imaging Center MRI results of the
cervical spine showing a combination of small spur and left paracentral disc protrusion at
C5-6, mild spinal stenosis at C6-7 level due to degenerative changes and bilateral
multiple perineuronal cysts throughout the cervical spine. Despite the medical evidence
before him, Dr. Lee diagnosed, not a protrusion, but a post-traumatic cervical disc
herniation with cervical radiculopathy. He diagnosed, not disc dessication, but post-
traumatic lumbar herniation with lumbar radiculopathy. He diagnosed post-traumatic
shoulder sprain/strain; rule out arthropathy. And he added two new diagnoses the symptoms
of which never had previously been complained about: post-traumatic thoracic strain/disc
disease and post-traumatic concussion syndrome. He also bolstered his diagnosis stating that
Ms. Smith required emergency medical care, which she did not. Dr. Lee the

proceeded immediately to prescribe his experimental surgery.

Dr. Lee ran a battery of preoperative tests to shore up his diagnosis in preparation for
surgery. An MRI of the lumbar spine showed Mild disc narrowing at L5-S 1. A weight-
bearing MRI showed a 3 mm broad-based disc protrusion al L5-S 1 with bilateral
foraminal narrowing. Neither showed a disc herniation. Likewise, the MRI of Ms.
Smith’s cervical spine showed a 3 mm left paracentral disc protrusion with a mild impression
on the anterior aspect of the thecal sac and spinal cord. There was mild left-sided neural
foraminal narrowing seen with the suggestion of impingement on the existing left nerve

root. Again, the MRI results done at Dr. Lee’s own facility did not show a disc herniation. (See Part 3 of 5.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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