$18 Million Jury Verdict for Late Diagnosis and Treatment of Infection to Spine

Joan Simmons, 58, was experiencing acute back pain. She went to the emergency room at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital. She was treated and released. Her back pain continued. Eight days after the back pain started, she returned to the hospital complaining of an altered mental status. Testing revealed a blood stream infection. An infectious disease specialist, Dr. Sarah Barbour, examined Simmons, who then began to experience progressive leg weakness. Within a week, tests showed a spinal epidural abscess, and Simmons underwent surgery. Despite the operation to remove the abscess, she suffered paraplegia and now requires continuous care. She had been working as a certified public accountant at the time of her illness and injury. Simmons sued Dr. Barbour and her medical group alleging late diagnosis and treatment of the spinal infection. The lawsuit also claimed that the hospital’s nurses were negligent in choosing not to perform neurological assessments and report…

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