Patient suffers paraplegia following spinal surgery

Plaintiff Donna Haynes, 57, was diagnosed with a spinal tumor in T2-T4 that had been stable for about two to three years. After developing symptoms of numbness and difficulty walking, Haynes underwent spinal surgery on July 11, 2008, performed by defendants John Taveau, M.D., and Dan Miulli, M.D. at defendant Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

As part of the operating team, Arrowhead hired defendant Global Monitoring Inc. to provide neurological monitoring services during Hayne’s surgery. Global Monitoring’s technician defendant Visoth Sieu monitored the plaintiff’s surgery.

The surgery consisted of a T3-T4 laminectomy and tumor resection and there were reportedly no complications. However, the plaintiff claimed, when she awoke from her surgery she was paralyzed from the waist down.

The plaintiff claimed Sieu failed to properly monitor her during her surgery, resulting in her paralysis. She also claimed Sieu’s log was incomplete and missing basic information including the plaintiff’s name, date of birth, medical record number, date of the surgery, the names of the surgeons, the anesthesiologist, a history of the events leading up to the surgery and Haynes’ vitals.

Haynes claimed these failures demonstrated Sieu’s lack of training, preparation and knowledge of her surgery. In addition, she claimed Sieu failed to document which muscles he used for nerve monitoring, interactions between him and the surgeons, the anesthetics used or any changes in her responses.

The plaintiff claimed these failures, particularly the failure to document which muscles were used, constituted medical negligence.

In addition, Haynes contended Sieu’s log, as indicated by the last recorded entry, ended approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes before the completion of the surgery, leaving her neurological responses unmonitored for a significant portion of the surgery.

The plaintiff Haynes alleged negligence against defendants Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Taveau, Miulli, county of San Bernardino, Global Monitoring and Sieu.

The defendants denied liability.

Verdict Amount: $5,916,997

Case Name: Haynes vs. Taveau

Verdict Date: April 8, 2013

Claimed Damages: According to court records: $5,000,000 general damages; $2,009,453 life care plan; $116,124 Medi-Cal lien.

Judge: Bryan F. Foster

Plaintiff: Jeffrey R. Erickson, Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Raynes, Redlands; Jeffrey S. Raynes, Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Raynes, Redlands; Derek S. Raynes, Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Raynes, Redlands.

Defendant: Tom M. Allen, Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, San Bernardino; John R. MacRill, MacRill & MacRill, Upland; John R. MacRill, Jr., MacRill & MacRill, Upland; Damian A. Northcutt, Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, San Bernardino; Bryan R. Reid, Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, San Bernardino.

31 Trials Digest 16th 19, 2013 WL 3973232 (Cal.Super.)

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