The medical staff of Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, a hospital in Springfield, Oregon, is being accused of causing a patient’s spinal cord injury in the days following surgery on his cervical spine. Michael Ringo has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the facility, accusing them of having negligently dispensed an unreasonable mixture of drugs to him following his surgery, leading to a medical response that has left him with permanent injuries.
Prior to suffering his spinal cord injury, Mr. Ringo was admitted to the hospital for a laminectomy of the vertebrae in his cervical spine. This procedure is performed to relieve pressure on the spine and is usually prescribed failing more conservative therapies. The surgery involves removing sections of several vertebrae, and though it is serious, before the surgery Mr. Ringo had full strength in all of his extremities.
Post-Surgical Medication Blamed for Spinal Cord Injury
According to the spinal cord injury lawsuit, Mr. Ringo went through his surgery with no complications other than typical neck pain and muscle spasms. When he told the nurse about his discomfort, she conveyed the message to his surgeon’s physician’s assistant, who prescribed IV Valium. Despite the PA having changed the dose to an oral administration, the nurse still provided the medication via IV, and also dispensed several other strong narcotics and anti-anxiety medications within a four-hour period. Despite the significant amount of medication, nobody monitored Mr. Ringo’s vital signs for two hours after the last of these medications were given. “At 1:15 p.m., hospital nurses found Michael Ringo slumped over and unresponsive with a faint pulse and (gasping) respirations,” the suit says. The staff had to perform CPR and give him several doses of anti-opioid medications. All of these actions and inactions led to him having passed out and suffering permanent spinal cord injury. He is seeking $2.7 million in damages.