All medical personnel assisting during a surgical procedure, such as surgeons and anesthesiologists, must take care to avoid injuring the spinal cord. If the spinal cord is injured, the patient may experience numbness, weakness, horrific pain, and, in the worst cases, paralysis. Patients who experience spinal cord injuries can suffer devastating effects, not just to their health, but also on their ability to earn a living, perform everyday tasks, and to live an independent life. This can put extreme financial and emotional stress on the injured person and their family.
The spinal cord, a column of nerves along the middle of the back and neck, is protected by the spine. It sends sensory information between the brain and nerves of the body. If the spinal cord is damaged, the signals are no longer able to travel between the impacted nerves and the brain.
There are a variety of circumstances under which a spinal cord injury may occur, including:
- Damaging the spine while injecting an epidural, steroids, or other substance near the spine.
- Dispensing anesthesia when the body is in the wrong position.
- An unrecognized tumor which leads to long-term spinal compression.
- Mismanagement of disc disease, resulting in spinal compression.
- Surgical errors.
- Medication errors.
These kinds of serious injuries can result in a significant medical expense and life-care costs for paralyzed individuals. Both can be very expensive and will likely overwhelm the finances of those left to deal with the burden. Victims of medical malpractice should not have to carry these costs since the error was not theirs.
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