A paralyzed father of three plans to move from a nursing facility back home with his family after winning a $19.2 million negligence award against Montefiore Medical Center earlier this month.
Wilfredo Figueroa, 58, was working as a radiology technician on Sept. 22, 2004, when he was admitted to Montefiore, complaining of severe back pain.
The Bronx hospital’s staff failed to diagnose a spinal abscess- an infection on his spinal cord – which rapidly led to his permanent paralysis, according to lawyer Edward Bithorn and court documents.
Bithorn said the jury heard testimony during the three-week trial that the Montefiore staff did not conduct an MRI or CAT scan until two weeks after Figueroa was admitted, when the damage had already been done.
A neurosurgeon tried to reverse some of that damage, but it was too late, Bithorn said.
“It really was an institutional failure that allowed this to happen,” Bithorn said. “There really wasn’t any particular physician or specialist that was directing his care.”
Figueroa has been paralyzed from his chest down ever since, and has been living at the Jewish Home and Hospital.
For the past five years, Figueroa has been unable to live with his wife, Neida, because stairs, doorways, hallways and the bathroom in their multifamily home prohibit his wheelchair mobility, Bithorn said.
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