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$7.6 Million Spinal Injury Awarded to Teen Paralyzed by Radiation Maltreatment


A teenager’s spinal cordwas destroyed in 1978 after she received a lethal dose of radiation at a hospital she was receiving cancer treatment from. She was awarded $7.6 million by a jury.

Some believed at the time that it was the single, largest payment awarded in a malpractice suit in the U.S. After the trial, the 18-year-old said that the jury was full of “wonderful people and now I have a chance for my life.”

The girl’s lawyers said that most of the money was going to have to go toward medical payments.

The representatives for the hospital said the case “was built on circumstantial evidence.” He also called the verdict excessive and said that they most certainly were going to appeal.

The girl, confined to a wheelchair, was paralyzed in 1972 when she was receiving radiation therapy for a slow-growing cancer. The thyroid cancer was thought to be treatable; she was to go through a six-week cycle of treatment. The young woman was not suffering from cancer at the trial, but it was unknown how she had been cured of it. According to a report, witnesses prominent and knowledgeable in the field of medicine testified that the paralysis was caused by a double dose of radiation which destroyed the spinal cord.

An overlap of the radiation fields was blamed, even though no one took responsibility for it.

The jury was told that the young woman now needs 24-hour care and has a minimum of $55,000 in yearly medical expenses.

The hospital’s defense attorney who has practiced in The Bronx and Brooklyn said that the paralysis was due to an unusual reaction and nothing else. He adamantly refused to acknowledge an overdose. Again, he planned on appealing the “excessive” verdict.

Despite 10 surgeries, the young woman will most likely spend the rest of her life as a quadriplegic. She does have slight use of her right arm, but that is all. In most cases, no improvement is made after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

Spinal injuries are devastating and cost a lot of money. To ensure your loved one gets the care that only a lot of money can provide, be sure to discuss the merits of your case with a New York Spinal Injury Attorney as soon as you can.

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