Hospital Failed to Immobilize Spine After Car Accident

emergency medicine expert witness

A Boca Raton Regional Hospital patient has charged the emergency room staff with medical negligence following a 2012 car accident. Silkworth argues that while the accident damaged her spine, she could move her extremities upon admission to the ER. She believes that because the hospital failed to immobilize her spine during treatment, she is now paralyzed from the waist down. Her attorney describes her treatment as not following appropriate spinal immobilization precautions and protocol. However, the defense contends the crash itself permanently paralyzed Silkworth.

Silkworth was unbelted in the back seat of a taxi during the crash and was reportedly intoxicated with a blood level almost triple the legal limit. explains that clear communication with the patient is essential in the assessment of spinal injuries.

Assessing the cervical spine is entirely subjective, and the patient must be a full participant in the evaluation process. If the patient is unable to focus on his own cervical spine, the provider will have an inaccurate evaluation. Caregivers must take an all-or-nothing approach to this assessment criterion; patients presenting with any decrease in responsiveness should be fully immobilized…

Sedation, whether by alcohol or another substance, impairs the patient’s ability to feel pain or tenderness and negates any assessment. There is some redundancy here, in that intoxicated patients will often respond more slowly to stimuli. Note that the standard is simply evidence of intoxication. It is impossible in the field to determine ingested levels of intoxicants; therefore, prehospital personnel must be careful and choose immobilization if there is any question of impairment.

Emergency medicine professionals treat acutely ill and injured people. ER physician training includes four years of medical school and a minimum of 36 months of post–medical school training under the control of an Emergency Medicine residency program. Licensure and regular continuing education is mandatory.

When claims of negligence are brought against these physicians, the emergency medicine expert witness consults and testifies on whether the standard of care was breached. Hiring a board certified expert from a leading university provides an impartial advocate to support your case.  These experts have mastery of emergency medicine procedures, as well as a commitment to the medical code of ethics. Contact ELITE Medical Experts to find the most accomplished emergency medicine expert witness for your case.

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