It was a few minutes before the Alabama – Penn State kick off on September 11, 2010. Butch Borden was at home recuperating from low back surgery two days earlier. He suddenly developed severe burning back pain shooting down both legs, and also was suffering from motor and sensory deficits in both legs. His wife, Pam, called his neurosurgeon, Dr. Tom Staner, and informed him of Butch’s complaints. The Borden’s were instructed to go to the Emergency Department at Brookwood Medical Center. They followed Dr. Staner’s instructions and went straight to Brookwood.
Shortly after arrival, Dr. Ricky Phillips, a Brookwood ER physician, examined Butch and consulted with Dr. Staner over the phone. Dr. Staner ordered a CT Scan of Butch’s low back which showed a small hematoma. Dr. Staner also collaborated with the on-call radiologist. A joint decision was made to admit Butch to Brookwood and to closely and carefully monitor him throughout the night.
During the course of the night, Butch developed urinary incontinence and lost the ability to move his legs. Obviously, these were major neurological changes. This represents a neurosurgical emergency. Unfortunately, this information was not communicated by the Brookwood nurses to any of the doctors, in violation of the doctors’ orders. Butch was in this condition throughout the early morning hours. Dr. Staner arrived at the hospital at approximately 10:00 a.m. and discovered, for the first time, of Butch’s condition. He ordered an urgent CT and myelogram. These tests revealed a large hematoma compressing the Cauda Equina, the bundle of spinal nerves just below the spinal cord. He performed emergency surgery as soon as possible in order to relieve the pressure on the Cauda Equina. Unfortunately, the delay in surgery resulted in Butch being permanently impotent and incontinent.
Hare Wynn attorneys, Shay Samples and Ashley Peinhardt, represented the Bordens. A jury trial was commenced on Monday, February 24, 2014. The Plaintiffs established the standard of care through two of Brookwood’s own nurses, Tonya Tolbert and Amy Jeffers. Dr. Staner was called by the Plaintiffs and testified that he would have gone to the hospital that night if he had been informed of Butch’s incontinence and inability to move his legs. He also testified that he would have performed emergency surgery to remove the blood clot. Thereafter, the Plaintiffs called Dr. Sandy Rosner, a neurosurgeon from New York. Dr. Rosner testified that, had emergency surgery been performed within twelve (12) hours from the onset of Butch’s incontinence and inability to move his legs, that his neurological outcome would have been substantially and significantly improved.
Pam and Butch explained to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury the devastating effects that Butch’s injury had on them. On Friday night, February 28, 2014, a Jefferson County jury returned a verdict in favor of Butch and awarded $5 Million Dollars. The jury also returned a $2.5 Million Dollar verdict in favor of Pam for her loss of consortium claim. This was the amount requested by the Bordens’ attorneys in closing argument.