A herniated disc can become a surgical emergency if it effects a person's arms, legs and/or bowel and bladder function. Once the symptoms start, it is imperative for surgery to remove the disc to be done within 24-48 hours of the onset of paralysis. If left untreated, the person can be permanently paralyzed.
Gloria Seidule has represented numerous clients over the years in which the healthcare providers missed the onset of paralysis and failed to perform timely surgery.
One such case, Veronica (not her actual name), went to the emergency room with progressing numbness in her legs. She requested an MRI, but the protocol for this emergency room did not allow for MRI unless certain criteria were met. The emergency room doctor, who was extremely busy that day, did not recognize Veronica's condition and failed to order an MRI.
Unfortunately, Veronica was sent home and became progressively worse over night. The following day she went to another emergency room that correctly diagnosed her condition and performed surgery. However, only part of her function was restored, and she continues to suffer from partial paralysis.
After filing a lawsuit against the hospital, the emergency room doctor and the company that operated the emergency room, the parties resolved their differences amicably and ended the litigation.
Veronica's case was to compensate her for her lifetime of pain and suffering, and to make sure this missed diagnosis never happens to anyone else.