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Common Causes of Paralysis as a Result of Medical Malpractice

Colburn Law

Facing the reality of paralysis is undoubtedly challenging. The situation becomes even more harrowing when the root cause is traced back to a trusted medical professional’s negligence. Many acts of medical malpractice can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis—and if you suffer at the hands of a healthcare provider, you have the right to pursue legal action.

#1: Medical Misdiagnosis

Timely and accurate diagnosis is often the key to effective treatment. Conditions like brain injuries, strokes, spinal tumors, and meningitis can lead to paralysis if not diagnosed promptly. 

A physician must adhere to specific standards of care, which include ordering appropriate tests, accurately interpreting the results, and drawing valid conclusions based on the evidence. When a doctor deviates from these standards, and a timely diagnosis could have prevented paralysis, he or she may be held liable for his or her negligence.

#2: Surgical Mistakes

Every surgery carries inherent risks. As a patient, it’s your right to be informed about all potential dangers, especially those as grave as paralysis. In surgeries involving the spine, brain, or neck, even minor mistakes can lead to dire consequences.

During a surgical procedure, a medical professional may commit a serious and preventable error, such as severing or damaging nerves, performing surgeries on the wrong body part, failing to protect the spinal cord, or otherwise damaging the spinal cord. When these mistakes happen and paralysis occurs, the surgeon may be held liable for medical malpractice.

#3: Anesthesia Errors

Administering anesthesia is a delicate process, with little room for error. From dosage to method of administration, each step must be meticulously followed. Both general and local anesthesia come with risks. However, if a medical professional commits an error while providing anesthesia, the patient could become paralyzed.

For instance, errors in general anesthesia can cause brain damage leading to paralysis. On the other hand, local anesthesia, though seemingly simpler, can lead to nerve damage if not correctly administered. 

#4: Birth Injuries

The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion. However, negligence during delivery can result in birth injuries, leading to paralysis. An infant’s body is fragile, and any mishandling or undue force can result in spinal, brain, or nerve damage. 

For example, the doctor may improperly twist the baby’s head, use dangerous birth-assistive tools like forceps or vacuums, or fail to address signs of fetal distress. While some cases might result in temporary paralysis, other incidents can tragically lead to permanent paralysis and a lifetime of challenges for the newborn. 

How To Calculate Your Medical Malpractice Award

How to Recover Compensation in a Paralysis-Related Malpractice Claim

If you or a loved one has suffered paralysis due to medical negligence, you have the right to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault healthcare provider. However, proving a medical malpractice lawsuit can be a complicated process. You and your attorney will need to gather enough evidence to prove four facts:

  • The healthcare provider owed you a duty to uphold the medical standard of care.
  • The healthcare provider failed to uphold the medical standard of care by committing a negligent act or failing to act when required.
  • The provider’s breach of duty led to your paralysis.
  • You suffered damages that you could recover in the lawsuit.

As soon as possible following the incident, seek additional medical treatment and save all records related to your injury and treatment. Then, schedule a free legal consultation with a Seattle medical malpractice attorney to plan your next steps.