Spinal Cord Injuries Due to Medical Errors
Bill Allen | November 27, 2023 | Personal Injury
While falls, car wrecks, and sports injuries cause the majority of the nation’s approximately 17,730 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reports that approximately 4.3 percent of all spinal cord injuries are due to medical mistakes and surgical errors.
The Spinal Cord, Explained
In simplest terms, the spinal cord is a long cord of nerves that runs from the base of your brain down to your lower back. The nerves that comprise your spinal cord send signals and information from the brain to the various parts of the body. It also receives sensory information from your body parts and transmits that information back to your brain for processing.
The spinal cord is vital for your ability to understand the world around you as well as move through it and interact with it. Your body protects this crucial structure by encasing it in your spine. The various vertebrae and discs of your spine act to shield and cushion your spinal cord from injury. While your spinal cord is resilient, it is not indestructible.
How Medical Errors Lead To Spinal Cord Injuries
Doctors and nurses are human and capable of making mistakes like anyone else. These errors can affect your spinal cord if these professionals do not exercise due care in the operating room or hospital. For example, your spinal cord can suffer trauma and harm if:
- A nurse improperly moves or readjusts you in your hospital bed
- You already have a neck or back injury, and that injury is not properly stabilized
- You are undergoing back surgery, and the surgeon is not careful while cutting
- You have a disease or injury that your doctor fails to diagnose or treat correctly
- Your doctor uses too much force when delivering your child and injures your child’s spinal cord
Each of these and other circumstances that lead to spinal cord injuries is characterized by actions or omissions that a reasonably careful professional would not have made. A doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider who makes these errors renders substandard care to you and may be liable to you for malpractice.
Impact of Spinal Cord Injuries
In cases of spinal cord injuries, the greatest risk you face is paralysis due to permanent nerve damage. When a nerve is cut or suffers severe trauma, the nerve’s ability to function is permanently affected. Any body part connected to that nerve or that part of the spinal cord may suffer paralysis.
Nerve damage in a spinal cord injury may also be temporary, meaning you will eventually regain some functioning and feeling. Even so, you may be left with nerve pain that radiates away from the site of the injury. This can make standing, sitting, walking, or engaging in other activities difficult.
Any compensation you pursue for such injuries should take into account the immediate expenses and harm you face and the long-term effects your spinal cord injury will cause. For a young individual who suffers permanent spinal cord damage, the compensation needed to make them whole can be considerable.
First Steps After a Spinal Cord Injury
You do not expect your doctor, nurse, or surgeon to cause your spinal cord injury, but that does not mean it cannot happen. If you notice pain, numbness, tingling, or a loss of motion or control following a medical procedure, get to a specialist for evaluation right away.
You should also speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, who can evaluate your situation and help you understand your legal rights.
Spinal cord injuries can be devastating events, especially when a medical provider inflicts them. Compensation is available for your present and future needs, and being fairly compensated begins with fully understanding your injury and its impact.
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