$4.7M Jury Verdict for Injured Firefighter

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A Will County jury recently awarded a firefighter and his wife 4.7 million dollars for injuries and disabilities arising out of a local surgeon’s failure to promptly treat his spine condition.  Former Naperville firefighter Paul Zurawski sustained on-the-job injuries while working March 6, 2008. He sought treatment from Dr. Jason Franklin of Rezin Orthopedics in Joliet.

Firefighter Zurawski complained from the outset of not only back pain but weakness and radiating pain into his legs. Weakness and radiating pain are frequently signs that a back condition is more serious than a simple strain/sprain or pulled muscle. Indeed, that weakness and radiation of pain frequently stems from a herniated disc compressing and compromising a nerve root. That was the case here. 

Despite these troubling symptoms, Dr. Franklin did not review Mr. Zurawski’s actual MRI films but rather treated the firefighter with physical therapy and epidural steroid injections. Zurawski sought a second opinion from another orthopedic surgeon who reviewed the actual films, diagnosed the firefighter as suffering with “a very large L5-S1 right-sided disc herniation with significant…compression” and recommended “urgent” spinal surgery. The firefighter underwent surgery later. 

While Mr. Zurawski is able to walk, he has significant ongoing symptoms including chronic pain, radiating pain, and urinary dysfunction. These symptoms were caused by a delay in surgery and Dr. Franklin’s failure to review the MRI film. If injured and getting worse, get a second opinion. 

First responders face daily threats of injury that most of us never do. You are entitled to the same rights to receive medical treatment and compensation for permanent injuries as are the rest of us for work-related injuries. If you are an injured first responder or a family member of one that has suffered serious injury, know your rights. Call (630) 585-2320 to speak to one of our attorneys or fill out our contact form.

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