SPINAL CORD INJURIES
AND MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
When Providers Cause or Worsen a Spinal Cord Injury
Understanding a Spinal Cord Injury
Every year, around 17,000 people in the United States suffer a spinal
cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are the second-leading cause of
paralysis, accounting for more than a quarter of all cases. If not treated
properly by medical professionals, these injuries can be made much
worse for patients. Some doctors also suggest surgeries to alleviate
back pain and spinal cord problems that have been proven ineffective
and could possibly lead to other health complications.
When Medical Malpractice leads to SCI
In a medical setting, a spinal cord injury can be caused or worsened by
the mistakes of medical professionals. In some of the situations, these
mistakes might be classified as medical malpractice. Examples include:
Incorrectly positioning a patient during surgery
Failure to monitor spinal cord function during spinal surgery or aortic
Improper chiropractic spinal manipulation
Failure to immobilize spine following trauma
Failure to recognize spine fracture or dislocation after trauma.
Unnecessary Spinal Surgeries - Why
do They Happen?
Back pain is one of the most common conditions people suffer. Around
80 percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives.
It’s no surprise that people will seek medical advice to remedy their
problem. When a doctor advises a patient that surgery is necessary, the
patient often follows that advice. However, studies suggest that some
procedures do little to help patients and could lead to further
complications or potentially worsen back pain. Let’s look at a couple of
Example 1: Spinal Fusions
A spinal fusion occurs when two or more vertebrae are fused together,
typically with rods and screws.
From 2001 to 2011, the number of spinal fusions performed in the
United States increased by 70 percent, according to CBS News.
A clinical trial of spinal fusions found that these procedures are no
more effective than nonoperative treatment.
These procedures can cause serious health complications, including
paralysis, nerve damage or the worsening of a person’s back
Example 2: Vertebroplasty
Vertebroplasty is a procedure commonly used to treat
compression spinal fractures.
The New England Journal of Medicine has equated it to a sham
procedure, according to the New York Times.
Vertebroplasty has shown to be ineffective at helping patients,
yet it continues to be common practice.
Consequences of Medical Malpractice
Further medical treatments and costs
Diminished work capacity and lost income
Diminished quality of life.
When a medical professional worsens a spinal cord injury, the patient may
Costs of Paralysis
When spinal cord injuries lead to paralysis, the costs can be especially
steep for the sufferer.
The estimated lifetime cost of quadriplegia for a 25-year-old ranges
from $3,451,781 to $4,724,181.
The estimated lifetime cost of quadriplegia for a 50-year-old ranges
from $2,123,154 to $2,596,329.
The estimated lifetime cost of paraplegia for a 25-year-old is
The estimated lifetime cost of paraplegia for a 50-year-old is
Options for Victims of Malpractice
When a patient suffers harm from a medical professional’s error, they
can sometimes file a medical malpractice claim to recover the costs
associated with their injuries. These claims are based on the idea that
when a doctor fails to deliver an acceptable level of care and patients
suffer as a result, they can be held accountable for the damage they
Finding the Right Attorney
Medical malpractice cases can be extremely complex. Sometimes the
evidence is buried deeply in medical records and is difficult even for
those familiar with these issues to discover. Not all attorneys, even
those who handle some medical malpractice claims, are prepared to
take on these types of cases. At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, we
have both the legal and medical expertise to take on the most complex
medical malpractice claims.
To Learn More…
Contact the Law Firm of Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP. We are
dedicated to helping clients who have suffered from medical
negligence. Our team will meet with you and your loved ones to discuss
your case and help you better understand your legal options.
Contact us today by filling out our online contact form or calling
312-346-8700 to schedule a free case evaluation.