Janos Tivadar: Spinal Injury Case Goes Beyond the Courtroom to Help Others

Janos Tivadar became paralyzed from the chest down as the result of hospital negligence following an automobile accident. Part of the settlement he received went to Project Walk, a nonprofit organization committed to helping people with spinal cord injuries.

Failure to Follow Procedures Leads to Permanent Injuries

After surviving a motor vehicle head-on collision, Janos was properly treated by the ambulance crew, including placement on a long back board with a cervical collar restraint in place. When he reached the hospital, the emergency room physician and staff were informed that he had been injured in a head-on accident and had to be extricated from his vehicle. In the hospital that day, Janos moved both legs, and both of his lower extremities were neurovascularly intact. A chest x-ray and chest CT scans showed that he had a thoracic spine injury, which meant that he was at risk of spinal cord injury if not properly treated. Despite this, he was taken off the long back board and the cervical collar before being taken to the operating room for surgery on his leg.

The next day, he began losing movement in both his legs. A neurosurgeon was finally called and documented a complete spinal cord injury with no movement or sensation in the legs. In the litigation, the evidence showed that the hospital had not followed standard procedures, including:

  • Failing to diagnose a thoracic injury with risk of spinal cord damage after the chest x-ray and CT scans clearly showed the injury;
  • Failing to promptly obtain a neurosurgeon evaluation;
  • Failing to have a general surgeon available and present directing the trauma team through the vital phases of resuscitation;
  • Failing to maintain adequate resources to care for all trauma patients presented to the hospital;
  • Choosing to clear the spine and failing to continue preventative measures to avoid having sufficient damage to the spinal cord to cause paralysis injury (paraplegia); and
  • Failing to have hospital systems and procedures in place to assure appropriate management and care of multiple trauma patients.