Medical malpractice lawsuit claims patient paralyzed after nurses fracture spine

Michelle Keahey Jun. 25, 2012, 2:37am

Simien Jr.

NEW ORLEANS - Suffering from paralysis from the waist down, Curtis Hamilton has filed a lawsuit against Ochsner Health Systems Inc. d/b/a Ochsner Medical Center and Ochsner Clinic Foundation that claims his spine was fractured when nurses attempted to pick him up from a recliner.

The lawsuit was filed June 1 in federal court in New Orleans.
Hamilton was under the care of Ochsner following a liver transplant and was recuperating at its facility located in New Orleans.

On July 18, 2009, after sitting in a recliner for seven to eight hours, approximately six Ochsner employees used sheets in an attempt to lift Hamilton to his bed. During the moving process, Hamilton states that he heard and felt something in his back pop. A few days after the incident, Hamilton states that his symptoms continued and worsened. A MRI discovered that he had suffered an acute fracture of the spine and it was compressing the spinal cord.

He underwent emergency surgical intervention, but was left paralyzed from the waist down.

The defendants are accused of using an improper method of moving Hamilton from the chair to his bed, for failing to properly care for him, failing to timely and properly report the incident and respond to the complications resulting from the move, failing to provide adequate equipment and training for the proper performance of the movement of patients, failing to respond to signs of spinal cord injury, and for failing to comply with proper lifting techniques.

The plaintiffs are asking for an award of damages for medical expenses, lost earnings, income and earnings capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental pain and anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, interest and court costs.

Hamilton is represented by Eulis Simien Jr., Jimmy Simien, and Mark W. Simien of Simien & Simien in Baton Rouge.

U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01398

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