Medical Malpractice Suits Involving Cauda Equina

Medical Malpractice Suits Involving Cauda Equina


Have you been experiencing lower back pain or sciatica? Have you had numbness or weakness in one or both legs that has made it difficult for you to get up from a chair, or caused you to stumble? Have you lost sensation around your genitals or buttocks? Have you had bladder, bowel or sexual dysfunction? You may have cauda equine syndrome, a neurological disorder caused by an injury to the nerve roots that exit the spinal cord.

The symptoms of cauda equine can generally be reversed, if treated before they become too pronounced. Unfortunately, even though testing is pretty simple, the signs are often missed by doctors until it’s too late. In some instances, a doctor may be able to diagnose cauda equine through a physical exam, but an MRI, a myelogram or CT scan will all help with the diagnosis.

According to experts, there’s about a 48 hour window during which the effects of cauda equine can be reversed. The typical treatment calls for immediate surgical decompression, where doctors operate to alleviate pressure. In some instances, where there’s swelling around the base of the spine, you may need corticosteroids or antibiotics as well.

The types of injuries tied to cauda equine (Latin for "horse’s tail") are often very serious, including paralysis, drop feet, incontinence and considerable neurological pain. Cauda equine can be caused by any number of factors, including:

  • Blunt trauma to the lower back, or lumbar spine injury in a car accident
  • A ruptured disck
  • Spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal)
  • A tumor or lesion on the spine
  • An infection or inflammation in the lower spine

Contact Us

To schedule a private meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or e-mail us. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Hospital and Doctors Face Malpractice Action after Death of Twin

Hospital and Doctors Face Malpractice Action after Death of Twin


The parents of an infant who died in 2014 have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell, as well as two doctors on staff there, were negligent in their treatment of the couple’s newborn son, causing the boy’s death. The lawsuit, filed by Jeffery and Jodi Freeman, of Yardley, Pennsylvania, also named The Center for Women’s Health, Lawrence OB-GYN Associates and four registered nurses as defendants.

According to the lawsuit, doctors and nurses on duty on August 21, 2014 failed to properly monitor and respond to the diminished heartbeat of the infant, the second of twins. They say that staff members then employed a vacuum delivery process, rather than caesarean or other methods that would have been less harmful to the child. After delivery, the child was diagnosed with perinatal asphyxia, caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain.

According to the complaint, Mr. Freeman was with his wife throughout the delivery process and "immediately recognized that malpractice …had occurred." The child was transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit shortly after birth, but was placed on life support for two days. He died hours after the life support was withdrawn.

Hospital officials expressed their condolences and said that they have considerable experience handling challenging and complicated deliveries. They insisted that all proper procedures were followed.

Contact the Lawyers at Shaffer & Gaier, L.L.C.

For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. You can also reach our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Pennsylvania Lawsuit Looks at Liability of Texters

Pennsylvania Lawsuit Looks at Liability of Texters


In a personal injury law suit filed in Pennsylvania, the estate of a motorcyc list who died in a car accident has sought compensation from a female driver who was allegedly distracted by reading and answering text messages while driving. Pennsylvania state law prohibits anyone from sending or reading text messages while behind the wheel. But that’s not the issue before the court right now.

Attorneys for the estate have asked the court to consider whether two men (one was the driver’s husband) who were sending her text messages at the time of the crash may have liability as well. Both men have argued that Pennsylvania’s law does not impose liability on them. The court, however, concluded that simply because there is no law prohibiting sending text messages to someone you know is driving doesn’t mean you won’t have liability for any injuries they cause.

Under personal injury law, some types of liability may be established under a statute, where the violation of that law constitutes liability. However, the principles of the common law have long been applied in personal injury actions. This type of law, based on tradition and case law, sets forth the basic concepts of negligence. With a negligence claim, the court looks at whether or not the defendant had a duty to act in a certain way—what the law defines as "reasonable"—and whether that person’s actions violated that standard.

In the case in Pennsylvania, the court reasoned that, when a person knows that the recipient of their text messages is currently driving a motor vehicle, or has good reason to believe so, it is reasonable to expect that their text messages could distract that person from the task at hand—driving the vehicle. Accordingly, it is possible that they will have some responsibility for injury or death caused by the text message recipient.

Contact the Law Office of Shaffer & Gaier, L.L.C.

At Shaffer & Gaier, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our office in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Fannie Mae Is Getting More Detail On Borrowers Applying For Mortgages

Mortgage and down payment

Borrowers seeking home loans should know that many mortgage lenders will now be scrutinizing more detailed credit data. This is because Fannie Mae has revised its risk-assessment software to include an expanded version of a borrower’s credit report which will include more information about how a borrower has paid his or her credit card bills over the past two years. This change took effect on September 24, 2016. According to a product manager in Fannie Mae’s single-family homes division, this revision will help lenders predict whether borrowers are likely to repay their mortgage. In these new reports, lenders will be able to see the actual amount a potential borrower paid each month, over a 24-month period. Additionally, the lender can see if the borrower paid off a card balance in full each month, if they made just a minimum required payment and if they paid more than the minimum. Borrowers who pay in full or pay more than the minimum payment will be deemed as less risky. In addition to this new data, lenders will also be evaluating borrowers with other criteria, such as the borrower’s income/overall debt burden and the size of the loan relative to the property’s value.

It May Be Time to Think About Refinancing Your Mortgage (Again)

House made of dollar bills

Due to shifts in global bond markets, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.49 percent on Monday, which is down from 4.2 percent a year ago. Therefore, it’s a good time to check the rate on your home mortgage because you might be able to save money from refinancing.

According to The New York Times, mortgage rates could even fall further in the upcoming weeks as banks begin to pass more of the savings from low rates in the bond market through to customers. Since refinancing makes sense when rates have fallen by a full percentage point, people who took out loans before 2010 or at the prevailing rates in 2013 and 2014 might see favorable economics for refinancing. Additionally, lower rates make it a good time for people to refinance if they want a different type of mortgage. In addition to talking with a mortgage broker or a banker, you can use this link to figure out whether refinancing might make sense in your situation. Unfortunately, as has always been the case, there is no way to know whether rates will pop back up or continue to drop.

Trucking Accident Yields Sizeable Settlement

Shaffer & Gaier was able to secure a sizeable settlement for a driver who was rear ended by a tractor trailer in NJ. Our client was traveling in NJ and was stopped in a traffic jam. The driver of an 18 wheel tractor trailer smashed into her vehicle causing her significant injuries. Although our client had neck and back injuries, her main complaint was to her hearing. Due to the deployment of her air bags, our client had constant ringing in her ears and hearing loss.

Shaffer & Gaier provided expert testimony that proved that the ringing in her ears was caused by the auto accident. As a result of this, Shaffer & Gaier secured a substantial settlement on her behalf.

Dog Bite Settles for Full Policy Limit

Shaffer & Gaier represented a young woman who was severely injured when a dog viciously attacked her causing back injuries and a scar to her back. Plaintiff was a 23 year old woman who was working for a summer camp. As she was taking the child off the camp bus, a vicious dog broke through a screen door and attacked her. Shaffer & Gaier was able to settle this case for the full insurance policy limit of the homeowners.

Improperly Programmed Medical Stimulator Results in Settlement

Shaffer & Gaier was able to secure a sizeable settlement for our client whose neuro-stimulator was not properly programmed. Due to the programming error, Plaintiff endured years of pain and suffering which would not have occurred if the stimulator had been programmed properly.

In June of 1993, our client was struck in the head by a tractor trailer door. He suffered serious head and neck injuries. In 1993 he had ongoing pain and was eventually implanted with a neuro stimulator in 1996. The stimulator functioned satisfactorily but it was replaced in August 2001. After the second replacement, Plaintiff had little relief from the new stimulator. He had severe limitations and was rendered totally disabled.

Over a period of 10 years the stimulator was programmed by a salesman. Unfortunately, the salesman had little or no medical training. The salesman did not have the expertise to properly program the devise and as a result Plaintiff lost total function of his right arm. Plaintiff eventually saw a new programmer who was able to program the neuro stimulator correctly. Our client had no idea that the original programmer had failed to program the stimulator correctly because the Defendant simply told him that this was ” as good as he was going to get.”

Shaffer & Gaier brought suit alleging that for 10 years the stimulator was not properly functioning due to a programmer error. Through discovery, we were able to establish that the salesmen did not have any medical training and he was in essence practicing medicine without the proper credentials. As the case was about to go to trail, the parties were able to settle the case for a sizeable but confidential settlement amount.

Construction fall ends in $1.2 Million Dollar Settlement Before Jury Selection

Shaffer & Gaier represented a union shop iron worker who was severely hurt in a construction fall. David Markowski was working at Misercorida University in Luzerne County PA. David was working on an expansion project to construct a field house for the school. The field house was designed to house various locker rooms and gym equipment inside.

The University contracted with general contractor, Sordoni Construction, to act as the general contractor and construction manager. Sordoni then hired Rise Construction to fabricate and erect steel for the field house. Rise then hired David’s employer, Mid Valley Steel, to erect the steel structure for the field house.

In January of 2012 David was assigned to work at the field house. He started working 7-10 days prior to the accident. When he came to the site, David testified that he was shown a brief training video but was never given any fall protection training. In addition, he never saw any safety personnel at the site from Rise or the general contractor, Sordoni.

On January 16, 2012, David was instructed to climb a 15 foot wall to position steel joists that were to be welded the next day. He was not given any fall protection and there were no anchor points where he was working to tie off his harness. He was in essence, walking a balance beam on a blustery January day. While he was walking the wall, David fell to the ground shattering both feet and ankles.

Shaffer & Gaier brought suit against the general contractor and sub-contractor alleging that they violated their respective safety duties. Through one of the premier construction experts in the country, Shaffer & Gaier established that both the contractor and sub contractor violated their respective duties in failing to provide a safe work environment.

Through the litigation, the general contractor filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and that Motion was originally granted by the Magistrate Judge. However, Shaffer & Gaier successfully overturned that decision and the case was prepared to go to trial. Before jury selection, the case was settled for $1.2 Million. In addition, David had a worker’s compensation lien that exceeded $300k, Shaffer & Gaier negotiated so that the lien would be totally waived. David, in essence, received a $1.5 Million dollar settlement because we were able to have the worker’s compensation lien totally waived.

Should I Buy or Rent A Home?

Mortgage calculator. House, money and document.

Deciding whether to buy a home or rent a home is a huge financial decision. Yet, some of the factors that go into this decision are difficult to account for in dollar terms.

First, for whatever reason, rental prices may skyrocket in a particular place so to avoid escalating rental prices, buying a home is a way of “locking in an affordable place to live.” If you rent, there is always a chance that the region you live in will attract a flood of people and high-paying jobs, resulting in rent increases.

Second, another factor that makes a case for buying over renting is that buying a home forces you to save money. More specifically, when someone buys a home with a standard mortgage, he or she gradually pays off the balance and as time goes on, this person will have less debt. Assuming that the value of the home is stable or rising, once the home owner hits retirement age, he or she could have a nice pile of cash savings by either renting or selling the house and moving somewhere cheaper.

Third, buying a home can give you certain tax benefits. For example, if you had plenty of cash and were deciding whether to rent or buy a home, you may be tempted to rent and invest in stocks and bonds. When you invest money in financial assets, however, you have to pay taxes on the returns that they offer. On the other hand, when you buy a home, the return it pays you (giving you a place to live, not interest or dividend payments), is tax free. Economists refer to this as “imputed rent” and it is truly a subtle yet important advantage to buying.

There are also advantages to renting over buying. For example, a fourth factor to consider is that a renter will not have to worry about the unpredictable costs of maintaining a home. A renter pays a set monthly payment covering the costs of repairs and maintenance while homeowners are faced with much more unpredictability, ranging from an urgent $2000 air-conditioning repair bill to a $15,000 roof repair. Overall, when deciding whether to buy or rent a home, it is important to weigh these factors carefully. While one should compare numerical factors such as monthly mortgage payments, closing costs, etc., it is also essential to examine these four factors that cannot necessarily be plugged into a calculator. For more information, click on this link.

Our Services


Our Latest News Posts

Firm Newsletter: December, 2017

Click here to download a printable pdf of this newsletter. SENIOR CITIZEN INJURY/ELDER NEGLECT ISSUE Hospital Ignores Complaints of Patient with Fatal Infection We represented the estate of a 82-year-old woman who died when a Delaware County … [Read More...]

Firm Newsletter: October, 2017

Click here to download a printable pdf of this newsletter. MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT ISSUE I-95 Crash Results in $800,000 Settlement During Trial In a case that presented us with difficult liability facts, we obtained an $800,000 settlement for … [Read More...]