Jury awards $1.2 million to patient injured during spinal surgery.

A Yakima jury returned a $1.2 million verdict against Dr. Michael Thomas of Cascade Neurosurgical Associates for negligently performing a spinal surgery in July 2011 that left his patient with a severe spinal deformity for three years before it was finally corrected by a second surgery. 

PWRFL’s 42-year-old client had suffered from scoliosis since she was a teenager, but her back pain became insufferable in the summer of 2011.  In July of 2011, Dr. Thomas performed scoliosis surgery on our client to assist with her pain.  

While the surgery initially provided some pain relief, according to testimony by medical experts during trial, Dr. Thomas caused his patient to suffer a severe forward and left lean through substandard care, and then failed to provide her with adequate follow-up. 

After obtaining care from numerous providers and consulting with several local spine surgeons for over three years, our client’s lean was ultimately corrected in an August 2014 operation performed by Dr. Lawrence Lenke, an internationally renowned spine surgeon who was then practicing in St. Louis and is now in New York.  

PWRFL attorney Felix Luna, who, together with Tomás Gahan, tried the case on behalf of the client, knows that the years between the botched surgery in 2011 and the 2014 procedure that resolved the problem were extraordinarily difficult for her.  “When I first met Emily, we were sitting and talking when the pain in her back became so severe that she passed out,” Mr. Luna said. “That was not uncommon and was the reality of her life, day in and day out, for more than three years.”  Mr. Luna also stated that “Emily, her family, and our firm are all deeply appreciative to the jury for their thoughtful consideration of this case.”  

Court records show that this is the first jury award for a plaintiff in a medical negligence case in Yakima in over two decades.

Yakima Herald and KNDO news stories about the case may be accessed here and here, respectively.