Located in between spine vertebrae are vertebral discs. These discs absorb shocks between vertebrae, essentially distributing bodily impacts through the spine. Discs naturally degenerate over time and such may call for surgical repair. Herniated Discs in the lumbar region of the back can also be caused by stress from repetitive lifting, improper lifting technique, and even from one single traumatic event.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know that surgical repair of a herniated disc may not be the end of a patient’s pain. This is because many of these surgeries are performed negligently, leading to more pain and suffering, lost work, income, and may even lead to permanent injury.
Performing herniated disc surgery involves removing the portion of the disc away from the nerves with which it has come into contact. It is this contact that causes the pain, weakness, burning, and numbness that herniated disc patients suffer from. In order to remove the disc fragments, the surgeon must cut at portions of the muscle and bones in the spine.
You can probably tell how serious this procedure is, and complications arising from the procedure are well known. There will be a risk of abnormal bleeding, infections, missed disc fragments that are left inside the spine, and surgical mistakes such as nicked nerves and bone matter.
Herniated disc patients should know that the surgeon performing the procedure must adhere to the requisite standard of care prescribed by the profession when he/she performs the operation. In other words, the doctor must perform the surgery as would any other reasonable and competent back surgeon that practices medicine in the same locality.
If the surgeon fails to adhere to the duty of care owed to the patient, he/she could be liable for damages in a court of law. Simply, if the doctor breached his duty, and the breach was the proximate cause of the patient’s injuries, then the patient can recover damages. These four elements; duty, breach, causation, and damages must always be pleaded and proved at trial.
Broken down like this makes it seem easy; however, nothing can be further from the truth. This is because expert testimony is required to prove the standard of care in the profession and to prove a breach of the standard. Moreover, causation will be hotly contested. The defense will be sure to argue that the patient’s continued suffering was due to the preexisting condition and not due to surgical negligence. The defense will also attempt to show that the defendant performed the surgery according to proper standards.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys will know how to confront these challenges. Your compensation can include money for lost income, medical bills, rehabilitation bills, and even lost earning potential.
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