Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A Holden man has sued Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, alleging that delays in treatment more than four years ago for an abscess on his spine left him paralyzed.

Scott Arnold, 57, is seeking unspecified damages for past and future medical treatment, lost earnings and earning capacity, pain, suffering and emotional distress, permanent injury and lost enjoyment of life.

The lawsuit was filed last month in Penobscot County Superior Court.

The Bangor hospital has denied that its staff was negligent in the care Arnold received. Northern Light’s attorneys alleged in their answer to the lawsuit that Arnold’s own negligence caused his injuries.

Suzanne Spruce, a Northern Light spokesperson, declined Monday to comment on the pending litigation.

Arnold went to the hospital emergency room at about 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, complaining of severe back pain and numbness in his legs, abdomen and left arm, which are symptoms of a spinal abscess, according to the complaint. The emergency room doctor allegedly did not order a cervical MRI, a deviation from the accepted standard of medical care.

That MRI finally was ordered 24 hours after Arnold went to the emergency room, the complaint said. It showed a spinal epidural abscess that was compressing Scott’s spinal cord and causing all of his symptoms, according to the lawsuit.

Late on the evening of Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, Arnold underwent surgery to decompress and drain the abscess but he failed to recover, the complaint said. He allegedly suffered paralysis, weakness, chronic pain, sensory deprivation and loss of bladder and bowel function as a result of the delay in diagnosis and treatment.

Arnold is unable to live independently and needs 24-hour care, his attorney, Benjamin Gideon of New Gloucester, said Monday.

“The goal of the lawsuit is to provide him with care that meets his needs for the rest of his life,” Gideon said.