In 1999, Jeanne Cartwright brought her daughter to Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia, complaining that her four-year-old daughter suffered from weakness in her lower body and incontinence. Pediatrician neurological consultant Dr. Carl McComas suspected diagnosed the girl with Gullain-Barre Syndrome and did not order an MRI.
A full month later, the disorder was ruled out and a December MRI reveal that a “vascular abnormality was compressing on Tiffany’s spinal cord and causing paralysis,” according to HuntingtonNews.net.
Although the girl underwent surgery, she remains paralyzed and incontinent and will be so for the rest of her life. Experts testified that had the disease been diagnosed earlier, she may have had a full recovery.
When the case first went to court, Cabell County Judge David Pancake ruled that the plaintiff’s action against Cabell-Huntington was barred by the statute of limitations. The case was brought to the West Virginia Supreme Court, where five justices agreed that the West Virginia Legislature “expressly and unambiguously says that the medical malpractice rules for children under ten are different: action “shall be commenced within two years of the date of injury, or prior to the minor’s twelfth birthday, whichever provides the longer period.”