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King v. Anesthesiology of Paducah, P.S.C.

A jury verdict in excess of $509,000 in King v. Anesthesiology of Paducah P.S.C., where a 22-year-old maternity patient suffered a permanent nerve injury after a nurse anesthetist mistakenly placed a spinal needle too high up the spinal column causing contact with her spinal cord. The goal of the spinal block procedure is to inject anesthesia into the spinal canal, but to inject it low enough to avoid the spinal cord. The maternity patient was undergoing the spinal block procedure at the hospital immediately prior to the scheduled c-section delivery of her first child.

The case was defended with five expert witnesses who testified that the accidental placement of the spinal block at the L1-L2 vertebrae, which is two interspaces too high, met the standard of care because the patient had a congenital tethered cord which caused her spinal column to extend beyond that of a normal spinal column. However, on cross-examination it was learned that over 20% of the population has a spinal cord that extends beyond that of a normal patient and, regardless of the cord's length, the spinal block was inserted not one interspace too high, but two interspaces too high. As a result, the patient suffered a permanent nerve injury. Fortunately, the baby was born healthy and, following extensive rehabilitation, the mother can walk on her own with an affected gait.

Mike Augustus tried this case for 4 days in front of a Paducah jury of 12 that unanimously found in favor of the Plaintiff and awarded her $500,000 in damages for her physical and mental pain and suffering as well as the full requested amount of medical bills of $9,152.00. That jury verdict is the third highest recorded medical negligence verdict in the history of Paducah, Kentucky.