How Can Medical Negligence Lead To Spinal Cord Injuries?


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Any type of spinal cord injury can be catastrophic. When it happens due to the negligence of a medical professional, it is even more traumatic. Spinal cord injuries are not just painful. They can also lead to significant medical challenges that may last a lifetime. If a doctor or other healthcare worker causes injury to a patient due to negligence, it may be considered medical malpractice, and the victim may be entitled to financial compensation.

What Is Spinal Cord Injury?

The spinal cord is a delicate system made up of a bundle of nerves surrounded by vertebrae. The spinal cord allows communication between the brain and body. If the spinal cord is injured, swelling or bleeding can significantly damage vertebrae and the nervous system, leading to partial or complete loss of sensation and motor control. Victims of spinal cord injuries can have paralysis in part or all of their bodies. Additionally, because the spinal cord relays information from the brain to the body, injury to it can damage multiple bodily functions, including respiratory function, body temperature regulation, bladder control, sexual functioning, and more. 

How Does Medical Malpractice Lead To Spinal Cord Injury? 

Accidents cause most spinal cord injuries. However, some are caused by medical malpractice, negligence, or mistakes. The most common ways that medical malpractice results in spinal cord injuries are: 

Anesthesia mistakes – If anesthesia is administered incorrectly, it increases the risk of epidural hematoma (bleeding inside of the skull, and in some cases, in the spinal column). Though this type of injury is rare, it can happen due to traumatic needle insertion, which causes bleeding when the needle is inserted into the spinal cord.  

Surgery errors – There are risks for patients associated with every surgery, and any procedures on the spine are especially delicate. When someone isn’t monitored properly, a surgeon isn’t trained properly, or a patient isn’t positioned correctly, serious mistakes can be devastating for the patient. 

Emergency room mistakes – Emergency rooms are sometimes very busy and chaotic. However, that shouldn’t mean that careful attention isn’t paid when treating patients. When full attention isn’t given or a medical professional is distracted, the likelihood of mistakes increases. For example, if a doctor doesn’t take enough time with a spinal fracture patient or broken back, the patient may be misdiagnosed and not receive the proper treatment. Another common ER mistake is not immobilizing a patient’s neck and head or moving the patient incorrectly when there is a spinal injury. 

Chiropractic malpractice – Chiropractic treatment typically involves the manipulation of the spine. If a chiropractor doesn’t perform treatment correctly, it can result in spinal cord trauma occurring.       

Failure to diagnose spinal cord impingement or abscess – When a patient complains of back pain and/or neurological deficits, the doctor should order appropriate tests to diagnose the problems, which could be a ruptured disk, spinal stenosis, or a spinal abscess. Failing to order the proper tests, or failing to interpret test results correctly, may indicate a case of medical malpractice. 

What Are The Most Common Complications Of Spinal Cord Injury?

The severity of a spinal cord injury often depends on the specific area that is injured. Generally speaking, the higher up the spine the injury is, the more severe the result is. However, some complications are common to most types of spinal cord injuries, including:        

Pain – There is often significant pain associated with a spinal cord injury. In some cases, patients undergo surgery to alleviate pain, only to be injured during surgery and have more pain than before. 

Chronic medical issues – Spinal cord injuries can result in ongoing issues like blood clots, urinary tract infections, and muscle spasms.        

Loss of sensation – Patients may have numbness or tingling in parts of the body because when the spinal cord is injured, it prevents the brain from communicating with those body parts. 

Paralysis – When spinal cord injuries happen high enough up the spinal cord, an individual may suffer complete or partial paralysis. 

Find Legal Help For Your Spinal Cord Injury

When spinal cord injuries result from medical negligence or errors, you must contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case. Medical malpractice lawsuits are usually complex and require legal and medical expertise for the best outcomes. At Ross Feller Casey, our dedicated staff includes physicians who review medical records and work alongside our lawyers to determine when and how injuries due to medical malpractice happened. 

Let our team help you with your spinal cord injury case, as we have done for other clients who suffered the same type of injury. We have an unmatched record of winning multimillion-dollar spinal cord injury lawsuits for our clients and their families, helping to ease the financial burdens the injuries have caused. 

All our cases are contingency-based, which means there’s no cost to you until there is a settlement or winning verdict in your lawsuit. Contact the law firm of Ross Feller Casey today to schedule a free consultation and case review. 

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.