On August 4, 2017, Cohen Milstein filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Sebring Hospital Management Associates, LLC d/b/a Highlands Regional Medical Center (HRMC) on behalf of Shawn Hilton, a HRMC emergency room patient who never received the results of or treated for a positive “critical” blood culture, ultimately leading to irreversible damage of his spinal cord and subsequent paraplegia. The case settled for a confidential sum.

Case Background

On March 3, 2016 Plaintiff Shawn Hilton was admitted to the emergency room at HRMC in Sebring, Florida with complaints of a “blood-blister” type lesion on his left thigh, associated with pain, nausea, vomiting, and a high fever.

As part of the work up in the emergency room, blood cultures were obtained.

Mr. Hilton was told that the results would be available in 48-72 hours.

He was further told and given discharge instructions that same day which stated: “If there is a positive culture, we will contact you.” The discharge diagnosis was “cellulitis of the left hip.”

On March 6, 2016 the blood culture returned revealing the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the blood.

Mr. Hilton was never notified of the result which, per the hospital’s policies and procedures constituted a life-threatening “critical lab value.”

Unbeknownst to Mr. Hilton, the blood borne infection seeded his spinal canal and, overtime, formed an abscess pocket.

By the time his epidural abscess was diagnosed, Mr. Hilton had suffered irreversible damage to his spinal cord and paralysis from the waist down.

The case is Hilton v. Sebring Hospital, et al., Case No.: 17-351 GCS, in the Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Highlands County, Florida.