A Kansas City area resident was awarded $1.83 million after she developed transverse myelitis within 24 hours of receiving a flu vaccine. The patient lived and worked with her husband in good health until she received a flu shot at her annual physical exam. The following morning, she experienced severe sensory loss and numbness in both legs and feet. Her husband rushed her to the hospital where doctors diagnosed her with transverse myelitis – a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of a segment of the spinal cord.
The Defendant’s expert contended that the numbness R.M. experienced in her lower extremities was due to a spinal cord infarct and could not have been caused by her flu vaccine. Defendant’s expert relied heavily on medical literature demonstrating that the typical onset window for transverse myelitis is five to 42 days after administration of a flu vaccine. After hearing testimony from Plaintiff’s causation expert, the court agreed with Plaintiff that, although rare, the onset of transverse myelitis can occur within 24 hours. After testimony that the Plaintiff had never experienced any symptoms of numbness, the court found that the flu vaccine was the likely cause of her injury.
With causation resolved in favor of the Plaintiff, both parties where able to agree on a life care plan upon which the $1.83 million dollar settlement was based on. The settlement takes into account the fact that the patient had experience a limited partial recovery, but still suffers numbness, lacks stamina, and will likely never be able to resume her previous physical activities.