(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.
STATEMENT OF FACTS cont.
Dr. Lee then, on November 17, 2007, performed his experimental provocative
cervical discogram C5-6 and microdecompressive cervical discectomy C5-6 pronouncing
it a success. He then proceeded – is the very same surgery – to perform a provocative
lumbar discogram and microdecompression lumbar discectomy of L5-S 1 under magnification. It absolutely contradicts accepted medical protocol to perform both a cervical discectomy
and a lumbar discectomy at the same time. The impact on the human body is considered to
be too traumatic. Proper and accepted medical procedure would be to perform the
cervical procedure first because the neck has a tendency to heal more quickly. Then,
only if appropriate, perform a lumbar discectomy no sooner than at least one month after
the cervical surgery – at the earliest.
One obvious drawback of Dr. Lee’s style is that he nicked a nerve during Ms. Smith’s experimental lumbar surgery that not only caused her to have a spinal migraine that caused her to return three days later for a blood patch to remedy her unnecessary pain, but also Ms. Smith left treatment with Dr. Lee with severe pain radiating into her left leg that never before had existed. Not only was Dr. Lee’s surgery poorly diagnosed, unnecessary and unrelated to the accident, but it also caused Ms. Smith a later second lumbar surgery by another neurosurgeon to redo the discectomy by Dr. Lee.
Because Ms. Smith’s lower back symptoms were exacerbated by the treatment she received from Dr. Lee, she had to continue with otherwise unnecessary treatment. She now complained of previously non-existent pain and numbness that radiated down into her left leg, pain in her neck and weakness in her lower extremities as well as headaches. She stated that she now had difficulty walking. She presented to Kim Basel, M.D. at Orthopaedic & Neurological Spine Institute for evaluation. X-ray’s performed at his request demonstrated a very normal looking cervical set of x-rays including flexion and extension. But they also revealed that her lumbar MRI and x-rays demonstrates collapse of her L5-S1 region. Dr. Lee’s unnecessary surgery enhanced and aggravated what was nothing more than a soft tissue injury that would have healed with continued conservative treatment.
Ultimately, Ms. Smith treated with neurosurgeon, Frank Moore, M.D., where she elected to have a second lumbar discectomy at L5-S 1 that occurred on August 1, 2008 where Dr. Moore had to redo the previous work by Dr. Lee. Ms. Smith last saw Dr. Moore on September 25, 2008 wherein, although she no longer had full leg tingling, she complained of left lower extremity tingling and radicular symptoms despite physical therapy, Medrol Dosepak and neuropathic pain medications, Neurontin and Lyrica. He recommended epidural injections and notes that the other possibility is that she has permanent nerve damage involving S1 distribution. At that point Dr. Moore hoped that epidurals would provide relief prior to more aggressive pain management and intervention. Ms. Smith indicated that she did not want to have a recommended lumbar fusion operation.
Ms. Smith then treated with neurosurgeon, Stella Mays, M.D., who, in addition to noting she now also is taking Percocet, also noted the result of the second discectomy has a good result. She noted specifically, however, that she was not inclined to maintain her high doses of opioids stating that it was her belief that Ms. Smith would recover. She also noted that it was her belief that Ms. Smith would benefit from a pain psychologist.
Most recently, Ms. Smith has treated with Simon Ray, M.D., who has diagnosed the plaintiff with Reflex Sympathy Dystrophy and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her lower left extremity, a diagnosis that no previous physician has made but which can be traced directly to the unnecessary surgery by Dr. Lee. (See Part 4 of 5.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.