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Summary Judgment Granted in Lumbar Puncture Case Based on Radiological Imaging

July 7, 2020

Partners John J. Barbera, Ruth A. Ragan, and Associate, Christopher J. Daniel's motion for Summary Judgment was granted in Supreme Court Orange County. A young patient with several medical problems alleged severe and permanent neurological injuries following a lumbar puncture, (LP), performed by a resident to rule out meningitis.  Despite claiming that the spinal nerve was compressed by a pressure inducing hematoma via a negligently performed LP at the wrong level, causing nerve damage, the defense was able to establish via expert reviews that the neuro-radiology images of the spine showed the presence of an infectious collection of fluid in the spinal canal that pre-existed the LP and was responsible for causing a transient pressure inducing environment.  The images were discussed extensively to allow the defense to demonstrate that the images were not consistent with a hematoma in terms of MRI signal and time line resolution over serial studies. The plaintiff was unable to rebut the expert findings put forward by the defense resulting in dismissal of a case of high exposure.

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