Spinal Cord Surgery Malpractice
The spinal cord is a bundle of nervous tissue and other cells that runs the distance from the brainstem to the lumbar area of the vertebral column. Together, the spinal cord and the brain constitute a person's central nervous system. Common kinds of spinal cord surgery include laminectomy, discectomy, spinal fusion, spinal disc replacement, and foraminotomy. All of these types of surgeries involve significant risks of harm to the patient. If you are injured or a loved one is killed due to spinal cord surgery malpractice, you should consult an experienced Ocala medical malpractice attorney at the Dean Law Firm.Holding a Physician Accountable for Spinal Cord Surgery Malpractice
The most common cause for a medical malpractice lawsuit arising out of spinal cord surgery is improper performance. However, surgical malpractice can also be a result of performing a surgery that is not needed, performing the wrong procedure, or not diagnosing the problem correctly and not recommending or performing a procedure at all.
Any kind of spinal surgery endangers the spinal column, spinal cord, and nerves. In addition, surgical patients must go under general anesthesia, which also comes with complications such as brain damage from hypoxia or death. During the surgery, vital signs as well as signals passing to and from the spinal cord must be monitored. Doctors are supposed to monitor for blood loss and appropriate oxygenation. Surgeons should also be able to visualize what they are doing appropriately. Sometimes, however, tissues or organs are shifted during the surgery, and a surgeon who cannot visualize it may cut into the wrong place. Additionally, spinal surgery is prolonged, which means that the patient must be able to undergo the procedure. There can be malpractice when a surgeon operates on a patient who has coronary disease or diabetes and did not get clearance from the patient's other doctors for those conditions.
In other cases, a surgeon may fail to realize that there is a problem that warrants surgery. For example, there can be a burst fracture, which happens as a result of a vertebrae being crushed or compressed during a traumatic accident. A surgeon may misdiagnose it as degenerative disc disease or a compression fracture and fail to stabilize the patient's spine. The burst fracture could get worse, permanently injuring the spinal cord. Similarly, a surgeon's failure to diagnose a spinal cord tumor through an MRI and a failure to operate could also constitute medical malpractice. For another example, a surgeon's failure to address a spinal epidural abscess post-surgery could be medical malpractice, since the swelling from a bacterial infection that enters the epidural space can result in permanent injuries, such as paralysis.
Not every surgical error constitutes actionable medical malpractice. To establish a surgeon or other health care provider's surgical malpractice, you will need to show that the health care provider owed you a professional duty of care, this professional duty was breached, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. In most cases, it is necessary to retain an experienced and credible expert to opine on what the professional standard of care was, how the surgeon or other provider breached it, and why the breach is what caused the injuries. Often, the expert will be another board-certified orthopedic surgeon.
Spinal cord damage can have significant and permanent consequences for the life of a patient. Damages that your attorney may be able to recover after spinal cord surgery malpractice may include the costs of further surgeries to correct the problem, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earning capacity, replacement surgeries, medical equipment, medication, mental anguish, and rehabilitation. In general, all plaintiffs are supposed to mitigate (minimize) their damages by following their doctor's instructions, such as going to physical therapy and undergoing therapy as ordered by their doctor.Discuss Your Potential Claim with a Surgical Malpractice Lawyer in Ocala
At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced Ocala trial attorneys may be able to sue a health care provider on your behalf if you or a loved one is harmed by spinal cord surgery malpractice. We serve patients and families in Ocala, The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or through our online form.