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Man Rendered Quadriplegic Files Suit Against Missouri Hospital With History Of Negligence

A man identified only as E.D.C. has filed a medical malpractice suit against Adair Emergency Group, LLC and the physician that allegedly misdiagnosed him. On February 13, 2015, E.D.C. entered Northeast Regional Medical Center complaining of severe pain at the base of his skull, neck, and head area – a pain exacerbated by the slightest movement. He was seen by physician Rochelle Von Meter. Blood tests showed high white blood cell count and unusually high neutrophil in his system. Informed only by these findings, Von Meter alleging diagnosed the plaintiff with herpes zoster (shingles.) No second opinion was obtained and he was sent home without further testing. However, symptoms persisted.

Three days later, E.D.C. entered Boone Hospital Center with worsened symptoms. These included bilateral weakness, impaired speech and persistent numbness in his extremities. A CT scan performed by BHC physicians uncovered a ruptured vacuum disc, herniated discs, an epidural hematoma, as well as an abscess causing “significant compression” of the spinal chord. A diagnosis of E. coli meningitis completed this laundry list of maladies, none of which had been diagnosed at Northeast Regional three days prior.

BHC physicians moved forward with a laminectomy. Doctors hoped to treat compression caused by the abscess. An unspecified amount of time after surgery, E.D.C.’s condition worsened. The spinal chord had been too greatly injured, and he was rendered permanently quadriplegic.

E.D.C. asserts that valuable time was lost while his symptoms were attributed to Shingles. He alleges that his quadriplegia resulted from a delay in diagnosis and treatment. The plaintiff and his wife seek full compensation for damages, including medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering.

This is not the first medical malpractice entanglement for Adair Emergency Group. A 2015 suit saw a woman receive $263,428.47 in compensation. A botched ankle surgery by at NERMC left with her daily pain and a permanent limp. This was the third-ever plaintiff verdict to be awarded in Adair County for a medical malpractice suit.

Another case brought against the same surgeon dredged on for years. 44-year-old Plaintiff Francis Watson sued the surgeon, Dr. John Bailey, as well as every medical facility that failed to properly diagnose and treat the cause of his back pain. Watson alleged that all 13 defendants did not spot the staph infection causing his pain, while Bailey implanted unneeded medical hardware in his back. It wasn’t until May 2003 that Boone Hospital Center removed the hardware and was able to begin treating the infection. According to Watson’s attorney, the implantation surgery was not only unnecessary but detrimental to his client’s health. Although the case was ultimately dismissed, there may have been more gravity to Watson’s claim than defendants suggested, seeing as he died at age 50.

An interesting legal quagmire occurred when Watson’s attorney called the credibility of NERMC as an institution into question. According to court documents, when NERMC made the initial credentialing decision for Dr. Bailey in 1997, “a question arose about whether Dr. Bailey had successfully completed training with the Columbia Spine Fellowship.” Acting on the suggestion of the NERMC Director of Surgery, Bailey’s “first twenty-five spinal instrumentation cases [were submitted] to an independent, fellowship trained, spine surgeon for review.” Michigan spine surgeon Dr. John Flood was recruited for the task, submitting a written report of his findings to the Executive Committee of NERMC. Watson’s attorney sought to use this report as evidence that Bailey had been negligently granted privileges to perform spine surgeries. NERMC filed a writ of prohibition for procurement of the report, arguing that per the peer review statute,”proceedings, findings, deliberations, reports….are privileged and shall not be subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion.” The report was ultimately obtained, and its procurement determined acceptable.

The hospital does not seem to have a stellar online reputation, in addition to the above legal troubles. 9 out of 15 google reviews give the institution 1 star out of 5. Dr. Bailey, a defendant in two of the aforementioned lawsuits continues to practice medicine at the institution.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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