Woman sues physician after spinal surgery

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 26, 2013

HUNTINGTON – A woman is suing a physician she claims caused her injuries during a surgical procedure.

On Dec. 27, 2010, Teresa A. Spurlock underwent a kyphoplasty surgical procedure at L5 with a bone biopsy, which was performed by Dr. Michael J. Arvanitis, according to a complaint filed Feb. 15 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Kyphoplasty is a procedure performed on the spine, which attempts to stabilize a vertebral compression fracture and restore lost vertebral bone height. As part of the procedure, kyphon bone cement is injected into the interior of the vertebrae, according to the suit.

Spurlock claims during the procedure, Arvanitis failed to obtain proper needle placement and failed to appropriately monitor the injection, which caused a large amount of kyphon bone cement extravasated outside the vertebral body.

Physicians who perform kyphoplasty are required to ensure proper needle placement prior to injecting the bone cement into a patient and, if a physician fails to obtain proper needle placement, the patient can suffer significant injury, pain, complications and the need for future treatment and surgery, according to the suit.

Spurlock claims during cement injections, physicians are required to continuously and closely monitor the process to ensure that the injection is performed properly, the correct amount of cement is placed and the cement is placed in the proper location.

Physicians are also required to immediately detect extravasation of the bone cement and halt the injection of extravasation occurs, according to the suit.

Spurlock claims the kyphon bone cement leaked into her nerve canal and, when the cement set, became hard and caused pressure and narrowing around her spine.

Arvanitis performed additional procedures on Spurlock to treat her pain, injury and suffering that resulted from the excessive kyphon bone cement around her spine, but none of the procedures were successful, according to the suit.

Spurlock claims thereafter, she began treatment with a neurosurgeon for the pain, injury and suffering and on July 7, 2011, she was admitted to the hospital and underwent spine surgery to remove the large amount of kyphon bone cement.

After the surgery, Spurlock was hospitalized for approximately five days and was then transferred for acute inpatient rehabilitation at another hospital, according to the suit.

Spurlock claims she continued to require therapy and treatment after she was discharged from the rehabilitation hospital.

As a direct and proximate result of Arvanitis’ negligence, carelessness, recklessness and deviation from the applicable standard of medical care, Spurlock suffered a permanent injury and has experienced significant pain, suffering, immobility and scarring and has been required to undergo additional medical procedures, surgery, hospitalizations, therapy, radiologic imaging and physician office visits, according to the suit.

Spurlock is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Tony L. O’Dell and Cheryl A. Fisher of Tiano O’Dell, PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 13-C-102

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