Chicago Neurosurgical Malpractice Lawyers
Neurosurgeons serve a vital function in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous injuries to the brain and the nervous system. They may be called upon for the emergency treatment of strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and infections and are essential in the treatment of many congenital conditions and degenerative neurological conditions.
Any specialist who fails to diagnose and treat a condition properly might cause catastrophic consequences for the patient and family members since the time the diagnosis and treatment of many neurological disorders are crucial to providing a favorable prognosis.
The Chicago neurosurgical error attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC work with the victims of medical negligence. Our law firm helps clients recover the compensation needed to cover the value of the medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering they must endure.
Neurosurgeons are Rare Specialists who Must Undergo Extensive Training
Neurosurgeons provide invaluable care that is in relatively short supply. Currently, only about 4,000 neurosurgeons are working in the United States who specialize in neurological fields, including neuro-oncology, neurogenetics, neurovascular surgery, the treatment of brain tumors, pediatric neurology, or the treatment of traumatic injuries to the brain, spine, or nervous system.
Medical students earning a neurosurgeon degree must dedicate over a decade of their lives to education and training. After completing medical school, the aspiring neurosurgeon will enter a one-year internship in general surgery to acquire knowledge and skills that pertain to any form of surgical procedure under the monitoring of medical experts.
From there, the medical professional must complete a residency in neurosurgery that may last from five to seven years. Neurosurgeons wishing to enter a subspecialty can then complete a fellowship program in their desired discipline of neurosurgery, which can last one to three years.
The high demand for neurosurgeons, coupled with their rarity, makes them some of the highest-paid members in the field of medicine. An average salary for a neurosurgeon in the United States is over $540,000.
Some neurosurgeons have the potential to make much more if they are board-certified, belong to reputable medical organizations, and are licensed to practice in one of the subspecialties in the field.
Our Chicago neurosurgeon malpractice lawyers don't begrudge these specialists for receiving lucrative compensation for the valuable services they provide. However, our law office does feel that doctors should be held accountable whenever their poor judgment or medical errors because life-altering changes in the lives of their patients and the patients' families.
Neurosurgical Error Injury FAQs
What can I Expect During My Neurosurgery Recovery?
Understanding the road to recovery after a complicated neurosurgical procedure can help during your healing process. Only your doctor can tell you how long it would take before you could return to everyday activities if the surgery went as planned.
What can I do to Give Myself the Best Chance of a Successful Operation?
The surgeon will likely provide you a pre-surgery routine that might include changing your daily diet, stopped taking specific prescription drugs, quit drinking alcoholic beverages, do not use tobacco products, and other factors that could affect the outcome.
Are There any Other Options in a Neurosurgical Procedure?
In your discussions with your neurosurgeon, ask if the medical team has exhausted every option for conservative care. The doctor may state that surgery is the best option to improve your health or maintain your condition.
How Often Have You Performed This Surgical Procedure?
It is crucial to understand the neurosurgeon has performed this operation numerous times before with successful results. Trusting his or her surgical abilities and experience before the surgery can help ensure a successful operation and post-op recovery.
What do You Expect for My Outcome After the Procedure?
The neurosurgeon performing your surgery should have an expected outcome after the procedure is over. If the operation goes as planned, you will want to know if you will be living a pain-free existence, be able to walk and run again, and live an everyday life when performing your activities of daily living.
Common Conditions Treated by Neurosurgeons
Most medical center emergency rooms provide emergent care to patients who have suffered an injury to the head or spine. Many neurosurgeons operate on stroke victims or provide treatment to other patients with birth defects, tumors, cancer, and degenerative conditions that damage the brain or nervous system.
Doctors have many diagnostic tools, including imaging scans, spinal taps, angiograms, and other tests to create a picture of the brain, spine, or other body parts to identify pathogens and abnormalities. However, advanced medical tools can solve every medical condition or abnormality.
Serious problems can still arise through misdiagnosis, anesthesia errors, a failure to provide an acceptable standard of care, or timely diagnosis of a severe medical condition. Common conditions that a neurosurgeon might treat can include the following.
- Traumatic brain injuries — Many neurosurgeons fail to diagnose or treat brain injuries when victims display no immediate symptoms. Other patients may exhibit symptoms that seem to go away, causing the injured victim to refuse medical treatment because they feel "fine." The delay in treating brain-injured patients might make their injuries so severe because microtears inside of the brain can fill with fluid over time and cause internal swelling, bleeding, and damage to the surrounding areas within the brain.
- Strokes and aneurysms — Doctors must recognize the symptoms of a stroke or aneurysm and take immediate action to treat the condition. All seconds and minutes, whenever there is a bleed out or blockage inside the brain that diminishes the regeneration of lost cells. Neurosurgeons might perform emergency surgery if there is a chance that the procedure may save the patient or reduce the severity of brain damage.
- Tumors — Doctors can locate tumors and determine whether tissue masses are cancerous or benign. The surgeon might choose to remove tumors that are causing seizures, migraines, and impaired cognitive function and monitor the area overtime to make sure that the tumors do not return.
- Neurological disorders — Neurosurgeons might treat patients suffering from conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, or other disorders that impact neurological function.
- Degenerative disorders — Conditions such as Huntington's disease, ALS, and dementia could result in the steady decline of cognitive function. In many instances, these declines also result in the impairment of motor function and require attentive care and treatment. While these disorders are not curable, there are many treatment options available two help patients live out their lives in dignity and with a measure of comfort.
- Developmental disorders of the brain and spine — Some pediatric neurosurgeons specialize in the treatment of congenital disorders and developmental conditions like spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or another birth injury, Chiari malformations, and more. Multiple specialists may work together to create and implement a treatment plan since these conditions may have an impact on other areas of the body. The neurosurgeon's role might be to perform procedures such as a selective dorsal rhizotomy or the implantation of a baclofen pump.
- Spinal injuries — Neurosurgeons also treat injuries to the spine, which may include herniated discs, spinal compressions, broken vertebrae, and bone spurs. Some of these injuries may cause extreme pain and limit motor function due to the exposure or compression of vital nerves. The goal of the neurosurgeon is to eliminate the pain while restoring as full of a range of motion as possible.
- Infections — Bacterial infections, viruses, fungi, and parasites might migrate to the brain and cause severe damage if undiagnosed and untreated. These infections often begin in another area of the nervous system such as the spine and move to the brain, which is why a spinal tap is often the most effective means of detecting pathogens so that doctors can prescribe a course of treatment. Untreated infections can result in abscesses, empyema, or inflammation, which is referred to as encephalitis.
How Missed Diagnosis and Poor Decision-Making Result in Neurosurgical Malpractice
The brain is incapable of healing itself, unlike other body tissues and organs. It is for this reason that any condition or disorder impacting cognitive function or nervous system health needs to be identified quickly.
Whether the patient has suffered a blow to the head, is exhibiting signs of a stroke, has been diagnosed with a congenital disability, or is displaying symptoms of an infection, a delay in treatment can have a severe negative impact on his or her prognosis. Ways that neurosurgeons can miss diagnoses include the following.
- Failing to order the right tests — Diagnostic testing is the only sure means through which any doctor can rule out a potential problem. When one test is inconclusive, it is crucial to order another, which may be capable of providing information that the first did not. Many cases of missed diagnosis stem from the unwillingness of doctors to order tests promptly, and when they finally do order the tests, it is too late.
- Misreading the test results — Reading test results properly is just as crucial as ordering the tests to find answers. The lab and the doctor can miss important information when reviewing test results due to strains on their time. Misreading the test has catastrophic results for the patients and their families.
- Surgical errors — Most claims and lawsuits made against neurosurgeons are due to surgical mistakes. Whenever the brain or nervous system is the source of a problem, surgical intervention becomes risky. Cutting in the wrong location or letting the hand slip for a moment can cause irreversible damage that impacts the patient for life.
- Lack of qualified specialists — There were some instances where serious injuries have worsened because no qualified neurosurgeon was on staff to treat the victim. When minutes and seconds are critical in the event of a stroke or traumatic brain injury, needing to transfer the patient to another facility can spell doom. In these cases, it is not the neurosurgeon who is considered negligent. The negligence is by the hospital administration, which should have hired personnel qualified to treat neurological injuries and disorders.
Neurosurgical Malpractice Awards
$1,500,000 Verdict; Neurosurgical Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
A fifty-eight-year-old patient passed away after undergoing spinal fusion surgery. After the neurosurgeon completed the procedure, the patient began suffering pain in his back and neck during post-op recovery.
His doctor prescribed Dilaudid to alleviate his symptoms that only became worse. Soon afterward, the patient lost feeling in most of his body.
A different neurosurgeon discontinued that prescription, a decision that became controversial. His new doctor stated that they had discontinued the medication, but the nurses were still administering the drug to the patient.
The Dilaudid (hydromorphone) narcotic used to treat severe pain caused the patient to have back and spinal problems that led to quadriplegia (near-total paralysis). The doctors transferred the patient to a nursing home for constant care.
Unfortunately, while residing in a nursing home, the patient developed bedsores and died from the life-threatening sores. Attorneys for his estate filed a civil lawsuit against the hospital, neurosurgeons, pharmacy, and nursing homes along with other parties.
Every defendant pointed fingers at each other and debated the prescription medications claiming they were not at fault. The plaintiffs claim that the man's death was the result of combined negligence by all defendants.
In wrongful death cases, the plaintiffs do not have to mete out precisely who was responsible for what, just that they contributed to the wrongful passing in some manner.
The case was settled in court. The jury agreed with the plaintiff and awarded the victim's estate $1.5 million in compensatory damages.
$10,000,000 Settlement; Neurosurgical Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The case involved a host of errors centered on neurological and surgical care.
The thirty-one-year-old patient went to see a doctor for pain in his leg and back. The staff recommended a CT scan that took hours to schedule and complete, in part, because the patient could not sit still.
During that time, his condition became worse and led to his paralysis. The following day, a neurosurgeon diagnosed his paralysis as stemming from a spinal infection.
The doctor operated on the patient, but he remained paralyzed. The man filed a civil lawsuit for unexpected medical developments.
The victim claimed that the neurosurgeon, nurses, and other medical staff could have done better to prevent the paralysis from happening. His attorneys built his case for $1 million in medical bills, over $1 million in lost wages, and millions more projected for long-term losses.
The lawsuit defendants objected to blanket responsibility but did claim individual failures. To avoid taking the case to court, each defendant agreed to a total negotiated settlement of $10 million, that the plaintiff accepted.
$2,500,000 Verdict; Neurosurgical Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
A thirty-five-year-old obese woman with back problems saw her neurosurgeon. The doctor determined that the woman needed surgery to repair a herniated disc in her lumbar region.
Before the operation, the anesthesiologist diagnosed that the patient had sleep apnea. Nevertheless, the surgery went forward.
Doctors intubated the patient while she was awake, fearing her weight would make her prone to respiratory depression. The operation was completed without issues, but trouble arose during post-op.
The woman complained of pain while she was recovering in rehab. The doctor prescribed an opioid Dilaudid (hydromorphone) to treat her pain, which the nurse administered as ordered.
Not long after, the woman was found unresponsive and passed away from respiratory failure. Lawyers handling her estate claim that the doctor's negligent use of the narcotic medication in combination with her weight, sleep apnea, and other factors caused her death.
The lawsuit document targeted the neurosurgeon, attending doctors, and nurses, along with the hospital facility. The lawsuit sought damages for lost society and income, along with suffering and grief.
All defendants denied responsibility for the woman's death, pointing to her pre-existing conditions as the actual cause of the tragic event. The case was heard in front of a judge and jury because the facts were hotly contested.
In the end, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million, including $1 million for lost society, $1 million for grief, and $500,000 for lost income.
$1,250,000 Settlement; Neurosurgical Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
A woman in her late 60s with Chiari malformation spinal cord abnormality development receive treatment in a neurological facility. Her spinal cord problems were getting worse, and other issues were arising.
The facility finally brought in a neurosurgeon who reviewed the patient's condition and performed a decompression surgery, staving off more trouble as the condition progressed. After the surgery, the woman suffered from facial weakness, swallowing difficulty, and reduced motor skills.
Through her counsel, she filed a civil lawsuit against the providers and the facility. The lawsuit claims that the facility failed to bring in a neurosurgeon promptly, and the delay damaged her financially, physically, and emotionally.
The defendants in the case replied that they had ordered a neurological consult for the patient, but they could not prove that in writing. Some staff members stated that the order was orally confirmed.
The case highlights the need to bring in neurosurgeons early in the process of medical consultations. The defendants' inability to directly refute the plaintiff's arguments led to a negotiated settlement of $1.25 million in compensation.
Why You Need an Experienced Chicago Neurosurgical Error Lawyer to Build Your Medical Malpractice Claim
A medical malpractice claim is no simple matter, and the courts favor on the side of healthcare providers to discourage frivolous claims. Hiring an attorney without years of experience might not be beneficial to the success of resolving your case.
If you, or a loved one, have been injured due to a medical or surgical error, enlist the help of an attorney who has been able to win similar medical malpractice cases in the past. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC owes its success with medical law claims to our reputable lawyers with records of successful recoveries resolving medical malpractice lawsuits like yours.
Contact our Chicago medical malpractice lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call). Please speak with a real person to arrange a free consultation with one of our award-winning Chicago neurosurgical medical malpractice attorneys.
After your free case evaluation, our trial lawyers will begin investigating your claim and reviewing your legal options so that you can make an informed decision on how you choose to proceed. Our law office will talk with your insurance company, review your medical records, and speak to medical experts on how to resolve your case successfully.
Since our experienced Chicago injury lawyers work solely on a contingency fee basis, you are also guaranteed that our services come at no risk. You will not pay any personal injury lawyers' fees if we are unable to secure compensation on your behalf.
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