bruce-keplingerchris-lucasBruce Keplinger and Christopher Lucas of Norris & Keplinger in Overland Park, Kansas, obtained a defense victory in Hurst v. Eubanks, M.D., a medical malpractice action in Johnson County, Kansas, this past spring (March 28–April 4, 2016). Mr. Keplinger represented the defendant, Kimber Eubanks, M.D.

The plaintiff, female, age 58, went to the defendant, a pain management physician and anesthesiologist, on June 7, 2011. The plaintiff had a 10–15 year history of neck and back pain and had undergone multiple injection procedures prior to this date. The defendant administered medial branch block injections to the left side of the plaintiff’s neck at C-4, C-5 and C-6. No sedation was involved. When the plaintiff received the third injection, she claimed she felt a bolt of lightning and experienced pins and needles in her body, but did not report anything during the procedure. When moved to the recovery room, the plaintiff experienced low blood pressure and vomiting, but within 15 minutes, her blood pressure returned to normal. The defendant was then notified but did not examine her. She was discharged 38 minutes after the procedure. At discharge, the plaintiff claimed her left arm was numb and her legs wobbly. Several subsequent phone calls informed the doctor that both arms were throbbing and other sensory changes had occurred. On June 9, the plaintiff went to the E.R. where an MRI revealed abnormal findings of the spinal cord. The radiologist reported that the findings were most suspicious for transverse myelitis and that trauma to the spinal cord was “much less likely.” The plaintiff suffered neurological symptoms and sensory loss in her hands and fingers, claimed swelling and blood in her spinal cord, and brought suit alleging the defendant had inserted a needle into her spinal cord. The defendant claimed that he had performed the procedure correctly and that his needle could not have contacted the cord. He also claimed the plaintiff had experienced a vasovagal episode after her procedure, a known complication—not trauma to the spinal cord; and claimed the plaintiff had been able to dress herself and walk out after the procedure (the plaintiff claimed she could not).

After two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant on all of plaintiff’s claims.