Suffering a spinal injury or undergoing spinal treatment or surgery can be a frightening experience, no matter the circumstances. However, when a doctor or surgeon makes a mistake, the results could be severe and even life-threatening.
If you or a loved one was injured while undergoing some form of care for damage to the spine, a Michigan spinal injury malpractice lawyer could help. By working to gather evidence of a medical professional or care provider’s negligence, a dedicated attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could shoulder the burdens of building a persuasive claim on your behalf.
- Types of spinal treatment errors
- Spinal injury surgery mistakes
- Neglecting to diagnose a spine infection
- What is a spine fusion?
- Spinal injury settlement example
Types of Spinal Treatment Errors
Because damage to the spinal cord is often severe, most people who have suffered a back injury of this nature seek medical attention. While minor damage might only require rehabilitation and therapy, others require corrective surgeries and other more extreme medical methods.
Unfortunately, surgeons and other care professionals can make drastic mistakes during treatment that can leave the patient in a worse condition than they were before. This could arise from surgery mistakes, spinal infection misdiagnoses, and spinal fusion errors. No matter the circumstances, a qualified Michigan spine injury malpractice lawyer could help to investigate the circumstances of a person’s worsened condition and determine if a medical professional is at fault.
The majority of spinal surgeries are now performed by a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon with spine fellowship training. Unfortunately, despite extensive training, errors still arise during spinal surgeries that can lead to devastating results for a patient. This includes the possibility of paraplegia, cauda equine syndrome, or a loss of bowel or bladder function. Many times, the patient never fully recovers from a surgical error of this nature and is permanently disabled, requiring assistance for all activities of daily living. These mistakes can happen through any number of circumstances, including:
- Misplaced spinal screws or screws that come loose
- Operating on the wrong disc or wrong level of the spine
- Leaving a spine fragment in the patient that impinges on the spinal cord
- Spinal infections that are undiagnosed or treated and put pressure on the spinal cord
- Cauda equine syndrome that is undiagnosed or a delay in treating this spinal injury
- Epidural injections
- Failure to recognize and identify developing complications
- Spinal epidural abscesses and infections
- Spinal hematomas
- Spine fractures
- Wrong level spine surgeries
While spinal surgeries are extremely complex and come with their own inherent risks, a medical professional might still be considered legally liable if their careless or reckless behavior was the root cause of a patient’s damages. An experienced Michigan attorney could work with a claimant to determine the root cause of their spine injury complications.
Neglecting to Diagnose a Spine Infection
Physicians are trained to notice signs and symptoms that point toward a spinal infection. Due to the severity of this condition, it is essential that it is timely diagnosed and treated to prevent permanent damage. Symptoms might include fever, back pain, bowel or bladder incontinence, and pain at the site of the infection. Furthermore, a patient might also have drainage coming from the surgical wound site that provides this evidence. However, there are also diagnostic tests used to identify this condition, including blood culture, complete blood count, and a CT scan or MRI of the spine.
If diagnosed in a timely manner, significant damage and injury can be avoided with the help of proper treatment, including the use of antibiotics and, if need be, surgery to drain or remove the abscess. However, when a doctor or hospital fails to diagnose an infection of the spine, it can give rise to filing a malpractice lawsuit. Without proper diagnosis, a patient might suffer paralysis, cauda equine syndrome, and other serious harm.
What is a Spinal Fusion?
Spinal fusion surgery is a surgical procedure designed to alleviate back pain caused by motion between segments of the vertebrae that is used when more conservative approaches fail. The surgery involves fusing two or more vertebrae together permanently in an attempt to stop the movement and, thereby, stop the pain. Historically, spinal fusion was used to treat specific conditions such as scoliosis and other defects in the spine. It has, however, become an increasingly common method for treating lower back pain even when the pain cannot be attributed to a specific disorder.
The surgery itself may take anywhere from two to twelve hours. It may be done with one large incision or, if a newer method is used, with several smaller incisions. Afterward, a patient would normally stay in the hospital for several days, and a rehab period is recommended. Unfortunately, while many procedures are successful, others can have catastrophic results.
For example, in addition to substantial pain in the aftermath of spinal fusion surgery, the risk of infection and nerve damage to the spinal cord is always a concern. This means that, in some instances, it is entirely possible that the surgery creates more problems than it solves, causing further injury to the patient. An experienced spine injury malpractice lawyer in Michigan will work to determine if errors during spinal fusion surgery were the root cause of a patient’s current condition.
Spinal Injury Case Study
A woman fell at her home and went to the emergency room. A CT scan revealed a hematoma at C2-3 of her cervical spine. She was transferred to another hospital for observation.
During the next few days, she developed complete quadriplegia. Her neurosurgeon did not time diagnose her spinal compression and did not perform emergent surgery. As a result, she has permanent spastic quadriparesis and needs around-the-clock care.
A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the neurosurgeon alleging professional negligence. The case settled for $ 3.45 million prior to trial.
Spine Surgery Medical Malpractice Settlements & Verdicts
- $3,250,000 settlement for a patient who sued his surgeon claiming that his paraplegia was caused by the negligence of his treating doctors for failing to properly assess his condition and perform timely decompression surgery.
- $2,400,000 jury verdict for a patient who suffered partial paralysis due to the failure of the surgeon and medical staff to diagnose a post-operative spinal bleed.
- $686,772 jury verdict against a neurosurgeon who operated on the wrong level of a woman’s spine during a fusion and decompression surgery which resulted in permanent neurological damage.
Call a Michigan Spine Injury Malpractice Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal injury and subsequent maltreatment by a medical professional, you may be dealing with severe physical trauma, as well as substantial financial strain and emotional loss. However, you have legal options and may be able to request compensation through a civil claim.
A Michigan spine injury malpractice lawyer may be a valuable ally through each step of this legal process. To get started on a claim, call an attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today.
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