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Colson Hicks Eidson Files Medical Negligence Lawsuit against Orlando Health Care Providers and Medical Facilities for Failure to Diagnose Tuberculosis

July 22, 2015
Colson Hicks Eidson

More than 20 Defendants Named in the Lawsuit

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 21, 2015) – Coral Gables-based law firm Colson Hicks Eidson filed a medical negligence complaint in the ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orange County, Florida today on behalf of Vincent Chambers against approximately 20 defendants, including Orlando Regional Medical Center, for failure to diagnose tuberculosis which ultimately caused Chambers to become paralyzed from the waist down.

At the time of the alleged negligence, Chambers, 26, was a resident of Orange County and employed by the Orange County Utilities Department. According to the complaint, he began complaining of back pain in June 2012, and underwent an MRI of the cervical spine. Following review of the radiology report which revealed concerning vertebral lesions, his orthopedist immediately referred him to Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) where he was admitted and underwent a series of tests and was under the care of several of the defendants who failed to diagnose him with tuberculosis or any other condition during his ten-day stay at the hospital in September 2012. The complaint alleges that the pathologists failed to properly interpret a biopsy of a lymph node which clearly showed findings that are indicative of tuberculosis. Chambers was ultimately discharged without a diagnosis for his underlying condition.

The complaint further alleges that after Chambers was discharged from ORMC he went to Palm Springs Family Care on seven different occasions with a worsening condition, and was never seen by a physician. As his conditioned deteriorated, he was unable to work and placed on disability. In January 2013, a rheumatologist misdiagnosed him with rheumatoid arthritis and administered a shot of Humira, which acts as an immunosuppressant in a patient known to have progressive granulomatous adenopathy and destructive osteomyelitis. Four days later, Chambers began complaining of lower body tingling and numbness from the waist down and around his chest and returned to ORMC where his neurologic condition worsened rapidly and he was diagnosed with a spinal cord infraction with subsequent complete paraplegia to T4-T5 sensory level. He was ultimately transferred to the University of Florida Health – Shands Hospital where the doctors diagnosed him with mycobacterium tuberculosis and noted there was no evidence to support the prior diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. The Florida Department of Health was notified and Chambers immediately began anti-tuberculosis treatment.

According to the complaint, as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ negligence, Chambers is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to life in a wheelchair and has suffered great bodily injury, pain and suffering, disability, infection, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, hospital expenses, loss of earnings, and loss of ability to earn money. The complaint alleges negligence, breach of duty, and a failure to provide reasonable medical care and treatment within the acceptable appropriate standard for similar and reasonably situated healthcare providers and health care facilities.

“This is a tragic case where there was a system wide failure at ORMC to diagnose a young man with a very serious and deadly disease,” said attorney Joseph J. Kalbac, who filed the lawsuit and is representing Chambers along with Co-counsel Courtney L. Engelke. “Not one physician took charge of Vincent’s medical condition to determine his underlying process.”

“Vincent was admitted to the hospital at a time when Florida was experiencing one of the most extensive tuberculosis outbreaks in two decades,” added Engelke. “The defendants should have ruled tuberculosis out through appropriate testing. His deteriorating condition could have been prevented had the doctors and medical professionals whom he sought medical help taken the time to properly diagnose and treat his illnesses.”

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About Colson Hicks Eidson:

The Law Firm of Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with more than 40 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation. Partners at the firm have had the distinction of holding the following offices: President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice; President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; President of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; President of the Dade County Bar Association; President of the Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission. For more information, call 305-476-7400.