Back injuries are often extremely painful and sufferers often go to great measures to find relief from the pain and inability to enjoy doing the things that they enjoy. Roughly half of all spinal procedures fail to relieve the pain, however, and in some cases patients suffer additional injuries during their surgeries or postoperative care. When medical malpractice or negligence results in the need for additional surgeries or results in severe injuries that greatly diminish the victim’s quality of life, a claim may be filed seeking compensation for the cost of revisionary procedures, therapy, ongoing care and additional economic losses that have resulted from the injuries.Types of Surgical Spinal Procedures
Back injuries and the subsequent forms of treatment required to correct them fall into two categories— compression, in which decompression is required and stabilization in which weak muscles, bones or supportive cartilage results in ongoing pain or disability. Surgical treatments vary and are dependent upon the location and type of the injury and the prognosis for the patient.
The discs of the spine are comprised of a gel like substance that protects the nerves traveling down the length of the spine and when a disc is compressed and pinches a nerve, it can result in extreme discomfort and, in some cases, some form of disability. Decompression surgeries relieve pain by releasing the pressure on the affected nerves and addressing the damage that is causing the compression. Stabilization procedures work to strengthen the spine by providing support in the form of screws and plates that are fused with the spine.Causes of Injury to Patients During Spinal Surgery
There are numerous ways in which treatment can go wrong during and following spinal surgery, which is why all risks must be discussed with patients prior to treatment and care must be taken to detect and correct any error or concern before it becomes the cause of additional injury. Injuries caused during and following spinal surgery include the following.
- Misplacement of screws, plates or other hardware— the misplacement of the very equipment that is designed to relief pain and repair damage can be the cause of even more severe injuries.
- Failure to manage medications— certain medications such as blood thinners can increase the risk of severe bleeding and doctors need to be aware of when patients are using these medications so that they can discontinue their use in order to avoid excessive internal bleeding during and following surgery.
- Development of clots and hematomas— blood clots may form while the body is trying to heal and can pose significant risks if they travel to critical areas of the body such as the heart or lungs. If hematomas form along the spine, the victim could suffer from permanent paralysis.
- Incision errors— an improper incision could damage or sever a major blood vessel or nerve and result in severe injury or disability.
- Irreparable damage to the spinal cord— skin, muscle and bone all heal over time when they have been damaged but damage to the nervous system is permanent as the nerves do not grow back or heal. For this reason, any injury that occurs to the spinal cord during surgery is beyond repair.
If you underwent spinal surgery and were injured during or following the procedure and feel that your injuries were the result of medical malpractice, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to speak with a spinal surgery malpractice attorney. We will evaluate the details of your case and collect all of the information that we need to begin an investigation into the cause of your injuries during a free consultation and will be happy to answer all of your questions about your rights as a patient, your legal options and how the legal process works. Once we have evaluated your case, we will let you know how best to proceed and how long the process of litigation will take from beginning to end. Should we be unable to collect compensation on your behalf, our time and services won’t cost you a dime.