Spinal condition not treated quickly enough, med mal suit claims

Kelly Holleran May 20, 2010, 2:33am

A woman claims she sustained severe and debilitating injuries after a doctor failed to timely treat her spinal condition.

Nancy Becher filed a lawsuit May 7 in Madison County Circuit Court against Dr. Peter Malench.

Becher claims she received medical care on Oct. 8, 2009, from Dr. Malench at his offices in Maryville, during which he performed a physical examination of her. During the same visit, Dr. Malench ordered an MRI of Becher's lumbar spine, which revealed that she suffered from cauda equine syndrome, according to the complaint. The syndrome causes a significant narrowing of the spinal canal, which in turn, compresses nerve roots. If not quickly treated, the syndrome can lead to permanent loss of bowel and bladder control and paralysis of the legs.

While treating Becher, Dr. Malench negligently failed to admit Becher to the hospital in a timely manner, failed to obtain a neurosurgical or orthopedic spine surgery consult in a timely manner, failed to order an MRI on an emergent basis and failed to treat her cauda equine syndrome in a timely manner.

In her two-count suit, Becher seeks a judgment of more than $50,000.

She names Dr. Christopher Heffner as a respondent in discovery.

J. Matthew Dudley of Dudley and Lake in Libertyville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-493.

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