Some of the most worrisome cases of paralysis are those directly related to medical malpractice. Paralysis from medical malpractice is very much a reality in Florida hospitals following medical procedures and surgery. These are the most common causes of paralysis when medical malpractice is involved:
Medical errors during childbirth. Doctors are forced to act swiftly throughout labor and delivery, but mistakes can happen. Standard medical practices can place the mother and infants in jeopardy if too much force is used during delivery. This can lead to damage to the bundle of nerves known as the brachial plexus, and can permanently damage the newborn’s arm functionality.
Inaccurate diagnosis or failure to treat. When medical professionals fail to diagnose or treat your condition properly or to do so in a timely fashion, the condition may result in permanent spinal cord damage that is past the point of treatment.
Surgical errors during spinal cord or brain procedures. Brain, back, and neck surgeries are usually among the most serious medical procedures a patient will endure. Largely, that’s because of the invasiveness involved and, accordingly, the risk of what could go wrong. The slightest misstep in neurological or orthopedic surgery could lead to paralysis as well as permanent damage to the spine and the brain.
Deprivation of oxygen during a surgical procedure. Hypoxemia or deprivation of oxygen can lead to brain injury causing paralysis if the deprivation occurs for a long period. The deprivation may be a result of the selection of the wrong anesthetic agent, administering an incorrect dosage of anesthesia due to a misreading of the medical record entry error, miscalculation of the patient's size, weight, and mass. Anesthesia malpractice can occur in the operating room or in a physician or dentist's office.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may also be an issue for people suffering from SCI during their acute hospital stay. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg or thigh. DVT can lead to amputation or be life-threatening if the clot breaks loose and finds its way to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism.
In order to qualify as medical malpractice, paralysis must have been caused by medical negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, or hospital, or by the use of a defective product. Paralysis malpractice claims generally fall into two categories: injuries caused by negligence and injuries caused by defective products. For a case to count as negligence, paralysis must have been the result of an error on the part of the medical staff that attended to you.
- For example, a young woman was awarded compensatory damages for her spinal cord injury malpractice lawsuit. An MRI showed that she had an abnormal mass growing on her thoracic spine, but the hospital’s radiology department deemed her spine normal. As a result, doctors erroneously diagnosed her, and she was discharged after receiving the wrong type of treatment. Four years later the mass ruptured, leaving her paralyzed. She was able to recover damages on the basis that the radiology department was negligent when handling her MRI results.
- In another example of spinal cord medical malpractice, a man went to his doctor complaining of stress, and she prescribed a mild anti-anxiety medication. After several weeks, the patient contacted his doctor complaining of tingling and numbness in his hands and feet. The doctor advised him to lower his dosage. During a new visit, the doctor noted his symptoms as being "debilitating" but at no point did she perform a physical exam, instead recommending psychological counseling to handle his anxiety. A few weeks later he called again complaining of still worsening symptoms, and he was advised that he could choose to visit the ER if he felt he needed to, though again no urgency was noted. The patient was admitted to the ER two days later, and it was discovered that he had been experiencing swelling of the cervical spinal cord. Due to the lack of action, he is now permanently disabled and brought suit against his doctor.