Surgery on the neck or cervical spine is often necessary. Given the location of the surgery — the spinal cord — the consequences of medical negligence can be catastrophic, including the possibility of paraplegia (paralysis).
Reasons for Neck Surgery
Neck surgery, such as a cervical diskectomy or laminectomy, has become rather commonplace. Activities of daily living cause a great deal of stress to the human neck, and may cause degenerative changes in the cervical region of the spine (i.e., neck).
Traumatic events, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, and collisions, can also cause a serious neck injury. As a result, many people suffer nerve damage, herniated discs, or other injuries which may require cervical spine surgery.
Not every neck injury requires surgery. Oftentimes, doctors recommend conservative therapy or less extreme treatment (physical therapy, pain medication, accupuncture, etc.) before recommending surgery. Sometimes a particular patient is not considered eligible for surgery (e.g., “not a surgical candidate”). Other times, surgery is required to alleviate pain or regain lost motor function or range of motion.
Consequences of Injury During Neck Surgery
Neck surgery, if not performed properly, can cause severe and permanent damage, including paralysis. This injury can be caused by surgeon improperly placing pressure on the spinal column, causing nerve damage or a dural leak. If not recognized immediately, this nerve damage can become irreversible — resulting in paralysis of the limbs.
Patients who suffer paralysis may need special equipment, modifications to their homes and vehicles, and extra care. This is in addition to the often extended medical treatments required to attempt to reverse the paralysis, as well as what is often an extended period of physical and occupational therapy. All this expense is compounded by a loss of income, as patients generally cannot work (or cannot work as much) during this extended treatment and recovery period. Thus, patients face not only extra expenses, but the inability to afford basic living expenses.
A top surgery malpractice attorney can help a patient who has suffered paralysis after neck surgery to determine the causes of her paralysis, whether medical malpractice was to blame, and how to best obtain compensation for her injuries.
If you have any questions about a spinal cord injury, please give us a call us at 312-527-4500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation. You can also learn more by following us on Twitter, reviewing our LinkedIn or Avvo.com pages, and by reviewing our website.