OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION:
The plaintiff, then 17 years old, was a front seat passenger in a vehicle. The operator of that vehicle crossed over the double yellow lines and struck another vehicle head-on. The force of the front impact was significant. The plaintiff lost consciousness at the scene and had obvious severe injuries.
EMTs arrived and transported her to the nearest hospital, but when imaging studies revealed an L5 burst fracture, she was emergently transported to a Boston Children’s Hospital.
The plaintiff had other serious injuries including a compound fracture to her right ankle, dislocated right ankle, displaced fracture to her left ankle, pulmonary contusions, right kidney injury, and a large laceration to her left thigh.
She underwent surgery to repair her ankles the following day. Both ankles required open reduction with internal fixation; yet, her right ankle fractures required pins, screws and wire to fixate the fractures in place. Also, given the open nature of her right ankle fracture, an Irrigation and Debridement was carried out in the OR at the same time.
The plaintiff was admitted to the ICU following her orthopedic surgery to monitor her spine injuries. The plaintiff was taken to the OR four days later to repair her spine injuries. She underwent a fusion from L4-S2 with L5 vertebral decompression. During the procedure, it was noted that she had tears of the dura (protective covering around spinal cord), and she was re-admitted to the ICU following her surgery for continued monitoring of her neurological status.
Her post-operative recovery was extremely difficult given her multiple injuries. Physical therapy worked with the plaintiff twice daily to help her learn to safely transfer using her left leg. She was non-weight bearing on her right side for several weeks following her surgery.
Pain management was a problem and concern during her post-operative hospital stay. She was discharged to Spaulding after nearly 2 weeks in the ICU for further rehabilitation and therapy. She remained in-patient at Spaulding for two weeks during which time they helped prepare her for her discharge, including how to safely bathe, dress, and make transfers. She initially required assistance with all these tasks.
Following her discharge from Spaulding Rehab, she received daily visits from a visiting nurse association and then eventually, she was well enough to received outpatient physical therapy.
At the time of the crash, the plaintiff was entering her senior year of high school. Because of her injuries, she missed almost the entire fall semester and had to work very hard to make up her missed work, so she could graduate on time with her friends. This was extremely difficult since she was also managing chronic pain from her injuries and various medical appointments and therapy sessions as well.
The plaintiff worked very hard at therapy to regain as much mobility as she could in her back and ankles despite all the hardware that was implanted. However, despite her best efforts, she still has significant limitations with many physical activities due to her implanted hardware.
This resolution of this claim was complicated by the fact that there was another seriously injured claimant seeking compensation from the available insurance.
A mediation was conducted between the plaintiff and the other injured party in an attempt to reach consensus on the division of the available insurance limits, which was successful.
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