Delayed Cancer Diagnoses Leaves Infant Permanently Paralyzed

Victoria Negron

Written by
on April 3, 2018

Pediatric Expert

This case involves a 7-month-old male patient whose right leg was not moving with the same range of motion as the left. He was admitted for a workup, but X-rays and a skeletal survey came back negative. Although the nurse noted that the infant wasn’t moving his right leg with the appropriate intensity or range of motion, the infant was discharged without a diagnosis. The infant continued to experience issues moving his leg for 3 months before he was eventually referred for further investigation. Additional testing diagnosed the infant with a paraspinal tumor which was found to be a neuroblastoma. Because the tumor had compromised the infant’s nervous supply to the legs, he was rendered permanently paralyzed. An expert in pediatric care was sought to opine on whether there was a lapse in the standard of care for this infant.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. At 7-months of age, what is considered normal regarding the movement of lower extremities?
  • 2. What should be the workup when an infant presents with decreased movement in their extremities?
  • 3. How important are the nurse's notes for decision-making on a hospitalized patient?

Expert Witness Response E-014119

I have 30+ years of experience caring for children and adolescents with spinal cord injuries, including those due to neuroblastomas. I currently spend about 70% of my time in academia and administration, and the other 30% I spend in clinical or consulting practice. At 7 months of age, a baby should have symmetric legs movements. The nurses and parents would be an important source of documenting such an abnormality. A thorough physical evaluation and radiographs of the legs, in addition to an MRI and CT of the abdomen and spine, should be performed.

Expert Bio:

This highly qualified expert is board certified in pediatrics with a subspecialty in spinal cord injury medicine. This expert completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at a prestigious university and formerly served as the president of a spinal injury association and various pediatric societies. This expert has authored over 135 peer-reviewed journal articles and 22 book chapters. This expert currently serves as the chief of pediatrics at a prominent midwestern children’s hospital and is also a professor of pediatrics at a major medical school.

Contact this expert witness

Find a Cancer Expert Witness Near You

What State is your case in?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY