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Image of Robbin and Ed Smith
Robbin and Ed Smith; Image Courtesy of CBS, http://www.cbsnews.com/

On Thursday, Robbin Smith of Castle Rock, Colorado was awarded “the second-largest medical negligence verdict in Colorado history,” according to an attorney. Just how much did a jury award her, and why? Well, she received “$14.9 million from The Surgery Center at Lone Tree after an injection caused her to be paralyzed from the waist down because of a spinal cord infarction.

But what happened exactly that lead to such a big medical error? It started when Smith was a patient at the surgery center back in 2013 and ended up receiving “an epidural steroid injection with the drug kenalog.” However, in 2011, the “makers of kenalog received permission to include Not for epidural use as a warning on its label,” which is a big reason why the lawsuit was filed against the surgery center in the first place. They injected Smith with an epidural steroid that was clearly marked ‘not for epidural use.’

To support the claim, the jury “was shown examples of the bottles with the warning,” and, according to the Smith’s attorney, “Smith and her husband Ed Smith were never informed of the changes before the injections.”

Image of the The Surgery Center at Lone Tree logo
The Surgery Center at Lone Tree; Image Courtesy of SpineOne, http://www.spineone.com/about-spineone/

Unfortunately, even with the settlement, the damage as already been done. Because of her injuries, Smith “must receive around-the-clock assistance for the rest of her life.” Her husband said, “we hope this is a wake-up call for Ambulatory Surgery Centers and the people who run them. It’s one thing to say that patient safety is your first priority; it’s another thing to actually make it your top priority.”

Smith’s attorney, Bruce Braley, also thanked the jury for their verdict, saying:

“I’m grateful to the eight members of our jury in Douglas County who gave up two weeks of their lives to fully and fairly consider the evidence and return of verdict that finally provided justice for our deserving clients. This verdict won’t restore Robbin’s ability to walk. But it will give Robbin and Ed the chance to make the most of the life they now have.”

Sources:

Paralyzed Castle Rock woman receives $14.9 million in lawsuit against surgery center

Colo. paralyzed woman wins $14.9 million malpractice verdict

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