Medical Malpractice, Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak, Empty Sella Syndrome, Bilateral Subdural Hygromas
Injuries: Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak, Empty Sella Syndrome, Bilateral Subdural Hygromas
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Plaintiff, formerly a licensed practical nurse, injured her back on April 29, 2004 while in the course of her employment at Buffalo General Hospital. She ultimately underwent a laminectomy and microdiscectomy on June 7, 2005, both of which were performed by defendant surgeon.
Over the course of the next six weeks, however, plaintiff was in and out of the hospital due to post operative symptoms of headaches and neck pain associated with photophobia. Defendant surgeon ordered an extensive work-up to determine the source of plaintiff’s symptoms, which he was aware were not present prior to the microdiscectomy. He suspected that plaintiff was likely suffering from post-operative intracranial hypotention.
On August 28, 2005, plaintiff was evaluated by another doctor. The doctor noted that plaintiff complained of severe headache and severe lower back, left leg, and foot pain with left leg weakness and facial twitching (which ultimately required hospitalization). The doctor reviewed an MRI done a month earlier, which showed a superficial, large fluid collection at the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) space consistent with a CSF leak. Plaintiff was ultimately admitted by the doctor later that day (on August 28) for an emergency surgery to repair the CSF leak.
In a follow-up report on February 3, 2006, the doctor noted that an MRI of the brain revealed empty sella syndrome. It was revealed that plaintiff also had bilateral subdural hygromas (which occur in the context of low spinal fluid pressure headaches), and associated “brain sagging.”
Currently, plaintiff continues to have headaches, which are relieved only by lying back. She has pain up and down her spine and in her buttocks, especially on the left side, and there is pain down her left leg.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Erie County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant doctors and defendant doctors’ neurosurgical practice group departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of plaintiff in failing to diagnose the CSF leak, which resulted in serious and permanent injury to plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants following a mistrial, during the evidentiary portion of the second trial, for $1,500,000.00.