An Owings Mills woman who sued her doctor over permanent and painful damage to her spinal cord has won $1.2 million from a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury.
After deliberating for four hours Tuesday, the jury found Dr. W. Hugh Baugher negligent in the treatment of Rhonda Kellner.
The lawyer representing Kellner, 54, argued that her injuries could have been prevented if Baugher had ordered that her neck be tested after she went to him complaining of wrist pain in November 1999.
"Maybe the doctor will listen the next time a patient has something to tell him," Kellner said yesterday.
Baugher, who has offices in Owings Mills and Baltimore, is the orthopedic physician for the athletic departments at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Neither Baugher nor his attorney, Warren D. Stephens, returned calls seeking comment.
In court papers, however, Baugher denied that his treatment of Kellner was negligent, saying it was appropriate and did not cause her injuries.
Kellner said that she felt pain in her neck after wrist surgery and that Baugher ignored recommendations by a physical therapist and a neurologist for a magnetic resonance imaging test on her neck.
Baugher, who diagnosed Kellner's pain as carpal tunnel syndrome, performed three surgeries on her wrists before sending her for neck tests in May 2000 that revealed the spinal cord damage, Kellner said.
"If they had done an MRI in January , while it would have shown problems in her neck, there would have been no spinal cord damage," said Gary A. Wais, Kellner's attorney.
Kellner underwent major surgery in July 2000, but she couldn't return to work as a nurse, she said. She must take pain medication, walks with difficulty and suffers from constant pain in her neck and arms, Kellner and her attorney said.