Surgery is a major process that always carries some level of risk. To minimize that risk, surgeons and their assistants are expected to take proper precautions. If a surgeon makes a careless mistake, such as cutting too deeply or using an inappropriate medical procedure, the outcomes can be devastating for the patient. A surgical error can cause permanent paralysis, loss of sensation, and other irreversible damage. When a surgeon makes an error that paralyzes a patient or causes nerve damage, it may be medical malpractice.
If you, your spouse, or one of your family members was paralyzed after undergoing surgery, you should talk about your legal options with an experienced attorney. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, including compensation for treatment and care that you are expected to need in the future. An aggressive and experienced litigator, Fayetteville medical malpractice lawyer Ken Kieklak can file your claim and fight to maximize your recovery. For a free legal consultation, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law online today, or call (479) 316-0438 for assistance.
How Does a Spinal Cord Injury Cause Paralysis?
The spinal cord is the column of nerves that runs along your vertebrae (spinal column). The function of the spinal cord, which links the brain to the peripheral nervous system, is to transmit nerve impulses around the body, allowing for motion and sensation. If the spinal cord is carelessly cut, compressed, or severed during a surgical procedure, such as a discectomy (which is a procedure to remove herniated discs) or decompression surgery (a procedure to remove certain parts of the vertebrae), the result can be debilitating complications, including paralysis.
As a general rule, the higher along the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more extensive the resulting paralysis. For example, an injury to the high-cervical nerves, which are designated C1, C2, C3, and C4, may result in quadriplegia or tetraplegia, meaning all four limbs are paralyzed. An injury to the lower spinal cord, such as an injury to one of the sacral nerves, may cause incontinence and partial loss of function in the legs and pelvis (hips).
Depending on the location of the surgery and the types of nerves that were cut or damaged, paralysis can also be localized to a specific area of the body. For instance, if the laryngeal nerve is damaged during neck or chest surgery (such as thyroid surgery), the patient’s vocal cords can become paralyzed, resulting in speech and respiratory problems.
The victims of surgical errors may also experience nerve damage, which can cause loss of sensation in any area of the body. For example, dental surgery or plastic surgery can permanently damage nerves in the face or tongue. Without the ability to perceive and respond to pain, pressure, or temperature, areas of the body that are affected by nerve damage or paralysis are also more prone to future injury, such as cuts or burns.
Can You Sue a Surgeon for Medical Malpractice if You Are Paralyzed After Surgery?
You may have cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your surgeon if you suffered paralysis, nerve damage, or other complications after undergoing any type of surgical procedure. It does not matter if the surgery was “routine,” what type of procedure you underwent, or what type of surgeon operated on you. From a legal standpoint, what matters is having the ability to prove that your paralysis or nerve damage was caused by medical negligence, or the failure to meet appropriate standards of patient care. Examples of this could include:
- Failing to inform patients of alternative treatments or other approaches to care
- Failing to monitor the patient properly while he or she is anesthetized during surgery
- Failing to provide patients with accurate and truthful information about the risks involved in the surgery
- Making surgical errors, such operating on the wrong area of the body or failing to properly make an incision, remove tissue, or implant a medical device
- Performing a surgical procedure despite lacking the necessary medical qualifications
- Performing surgery or other medical procedures or exams using improper equipment or medical devices
- Performing surgery without appropriate supervision or assistance
Fayetteville, AR Lawyer for Paralysis Caused by Surgical Errors
While some injuries heal with time, paralysis is a permanent injury that alters the person’s life forever. After becoming paralyzed, a person may need to receive physical therapy, hire a caregiver for assistance with daily tasks, and modify their own home to make it accessible. They may also lose their job, adding to the financial pressure. By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and care costs, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and other harm that you have suffered.
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to fighting for compensation for the victims of medical malpractice in Arkansas. For a free legal consultation, call (479) 316-0438, or contact our law offices online today.