Can I Sue For Spinal Screws That A Doctor Misplaced?


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Anytime a surgical procedure involves the spine, there are concerns and anxieties about possible outcomes. Unfortunately, there are cases in which a bad outcome is simply unavoidable. But in others, a bad outcome may result from medical malpractice. Even the slightest error in placing surgical hardware, like screws, can have devastating consequences.

What Are Spinal Screws?

Spinal screws, called pedicle screws, are used in back surgeries to strengthen and support spinal fusion as it heals. The screws are placed above and below the affected vertebrae, and a rod connects the screws to prevent movement. Once healed, the hardware can be removed, though it may not be necessary if the patient is not uncomfortable.

Because this type of surgical procedure involves the spine, there is very little room for error in the placement of the pedicle screws. They must be installed precisely. Sadly, as many as 20 percent of pedicle screws are misplaced when conventional methods are used and about five percent when using navigation, a technology-enhanced placement method.

What Happens When Spinal Screws Are Misplaced?

Back or spinal surgery is always a complex procedure. The nerves, muscles, bones, and spinal cord are delicate and, as a result, easily damaged. When the surgery warrants the placement of hardware, it can be even more challenging. Surgeons who perform these procedures must be specially trained to ensure patient safety. But even the best surgeons are not exempt from making mistakes.

Pedicle screws that are not properly installed or misplaced can cause severe patient complications. The scope of potential injuries ranges from recurring pain to much, much worse. Misplaced spinal screws can lead to severe and sometimes permanent neurological deficits, including spinal cord or nerve root injuries. Additionally, it can cause pseudoarthrosis (failed spinal fusion), which often means additional surgeries as treatment.

Some of the other complications that may be associated with misplaced pedicle screws are:

  • Nerve damage
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of sensation
  • Infections
  • Incontinence
  • Impotence
  • Blood clots
  • Paralysis

When Can You Sue For Misplaced Spinal Screws?

If you had back surgery and the surgeon misplaced screws or other hardware, and it caused you harm, you could be able to sue for medical malpractice. A medical malpractice lawsuit can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you suffered due to your injury. Depending on the specific details of your claim, you may seek compensation for damages, including:

  • Medical expenses, present and future
  • Lost wages and loss of future wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Legal fees

Medical malpractice cases are complicated, which is why they require expert attorneys who are experienced with such spinal cord cases for the best outcomes. There are several things your attorney will have to prove in court to win your case:

  • There is a doctor-patient relationship
  • The doctor made a mistake or was negligent in your diagnosis or treatment
  • You sustained injuries as a result of the negligence
  • You suffered losses (damages) as a result of the injuries

Finding Misplaced Spinal Screw Lawyers In Philadelphia

Spinal surgeries are very complex, and they come with certain risks. However, if you have suffered injuries or permanent damage due to pedicle screw misplacement by a surgeon, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover your losses. You must obtain a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer to represent you legally in your claim.

Ross Feller Casey understands how devastating it can be for the patient when a doctor makes a mistake. You’ve likely suffered unmeasurable emotional distress, pain and suffering, and a large financial burden. You need an experienced team to help you get the justice you deserve. At Ross Feller Casey, we have won cases like yours for our clients. We have Ivy-League-educated doctors on staff to ensure that we completely comprehend your medical records and how you were harmed.

Let Ross Feller Casey represent you in your medical malpractice case. Schedule your free case consultation, and we will guide you through the next steps. There is no cost to you until your case is settled or won.  

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.