Wyoming Couple Awarded $9 Million in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Wyoming Couple Awarded $9 Million in Medical Malpractice LawsuitAfter filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette, Wyoming, and Dr. Brian Cullison for medical negligence, Louis and Rebecca Prager have been awarded $9 million in a Federal District Court case.

According to the Wyoming Business Report, in the Cheyenne court, jurors found that Cullison, a board-certified emergency physician who was working at the regional hospital, breached medical care standards by not correctly diagnosing Louis Prager’s condition. After failing to identify Louis Prager’s broken neck, the plaintiff allegedly suffered irreparable shoulder paralysis and persistent, debilitating pain, which left him unable to work and earn a living.

The original incident occurred on December 9, 2008, when Prager was involved in a rollover accident on the highway. The victim was taken to Campbell County Memorial Hospital’s emergency center by ambulance and was treated by first responders who immobilized him on a backboard and secured his head in place with a neck brace, according to the news source.

At the hospital, Prager complained heavily of neck pain, but despite his complaints, Dr. Cullison allegedly released him from the care center without any form of cervical collar, and reportedly did not conduct a physical examination of Prager. The news source states Cullison ordered x-ray images to be taken of Prager’s head and back, but that no image was taken of the victim’s neck.

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), spinal cord and neck injuries are considered medical emergencies, and immediate treatment has been shown to reduce long-term effects. However, Prager did not receive the treatments the NLM deems necessary for spinal cord injury.

Four days later, Prager returned to the hospital after losing the use of his left arm and shoulder, and was determined to have multiple unstable cervical spine fractures. The visit resulted in emergency neck fusion surgery, but Prager still sustained permanent nerve root damage, allegedly because of the failure to diagnose the broken neck, the news provider stated.

“Mr. Prager has had to undergo a second neck fusion and will have additional surgeries in the future, including procedures to implant a spinal cord stimulator, in an attempt to reduce the intensity of his pain,” Prager’s attorney stated.

The jury decided that Cullison’s negligence and the Campbell County Memorial Hospital caused damages totaling $7 million, and loss of consortium damages to wife totaling $2 million.