When a Surgical Attempt to Decrease Back Pain Results in Paralysis

spinal-cord-malpractice-leads-to-paralysisAnyone who has ever had back pain or nerve pain that radiates from the back down into the leg knows firsthand how debilitating it can be. Because the pain can be so severe, people with this type of pain typically turn to their doctors for treatment. Generally, doctors are people who use great judgment and know how to fix painful medical concerns; however, sometimes things go wrong and an injured back can actually end in paralysis due to medical negligence.

Severe Medical Mishaps Involving the Spine

We all know that there are risks with any type of surgery, and this is especially the case with back surgery or spinal cord surgery. This is because if anything goes wrong during surgery, nerves can be affected, impairing someone’s entire nervous system. When damage to the spinal cord occurs, sadly, it can lead to paralysis. Although paralysis is one of the least likely complications to occur, as infections, blood clots and anesthesia complications are more common, spinal surgery can lead to paralysis. This can be the case with a variety of different back and spinal cord surgeries, such as:

  • Cervical or lumbar herniated disc removal surgery
  • Disc replacement surgery
  • Discectomy
  • Spinal fusion
  • Spinal fracture surgery
  • Spinal cord tumor surgery
  • Stenosis surgery
  • Scoliosis and kyphotic neurological surgeries
  • Cervical or lumbar stenosis surgery
  • Spinal reconstructive surgery
  • Spinal decompression surgery (foraminotomy)
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Spinal cord injury surgery
  • Laminectomy
  • Interlaminar implant

As you can see here, there are many different types of spinal surgeries. But any time surgery is done around the spine, there is a risk for complications. This is because the spinal cord is a column of nerves that connects the brain to the body and is essentially the part of the body that is in charge of controlling movements. There are nerves in each part of the spinal cord and between the vertebrae, so when damage to any part of the spinal cord occurs, spinal nerves are affected, which can lead to nerve injuries and paralysis.

Some of the reasons paralysis and other nerve injuries occur during back and spinal surgeries include:

  • Accidentally damaging the blood vessels that supply blood to the spinal cord
  • Accidentally causing bleeding inside the spinal column
  • Moving nerves during surgery and accidentally damaging them
  • Accidentally creating a tear in the dura matter that causes a spinal fluid leak

Help for Victims of Botched Spinal Surgeries

Our attorneys not only represent victims of these types of surgical errors, but we also represent people who have been a victim of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. While most spinal surgery mishaps occur as a result of a surgeon’s slip of the hand or poor judgment call, sometimes people may end up as a quadriplegic because a doctor failed to treat a condition or misdiagnosed it. Here are some examples of medical negligence that can lead to paralysis:

  • A patient undergoes disc replacement surgery, but a surgical error causes a spinal cord injury, leaving the patient a quadriplegic.
  • A patient suffering from back pain is diagnosed with a mild compression fracture by a doctor at a local hospital and is prescribed physical therapy. The pain continues to get worse and is later discovered to be a burst fracture in which a broken bone had penetrated the spinal cord, causing the patient to suffer partial paralysis of the legs.

Whether a patient enters a hospital for a disc replacement surgery and leaves a quadriplegic, or a patient was never diagnosed properly and suffers paralysis as a result, medical malpractice may be to blame. Because medical malpractice laws are complex and medical experts need to be involved, it is essential that anyone pursuing a medical malpractice case works with an attorney who has experience in this field.

If you or a loved one has suffered extremity weakness, partial paralysis, or complete paralysis of the legs following any type of back surgery or a spinal cord surgery, please contact our law firm today. We are happy to answer your questions and provide you with feedback to help you start your journey towards seeking justice and just compensation.