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Spinal Cord Compression & Medical Malpractice
A spinal cord injury can change your life in significant and dramatic ways. Paralysis, lack of sensation, severe pain, and many other complications can occur when the spinal cord is compressed or severed. Many factors can lead to a spinal cord injury, including medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to uphold his or her standard of care and causes injury to a patient. If your spinal cord was compressed and a medical provider either caused the injury or made it worse, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the person at fault.
What Is Spinal Cord Compression?
The spinal cord is a network of nerves that starts at the base of the skull and extends down the back, helping to relay signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal cord compression is an injury that occurs when significant pressure is placed on the spinal cord. This can lead to serious and unpleasant symptoms, such as the following:
- Severe pain and stiffness
- Numbness, weakness, and cramping in the extremities
- Loss of sensation, feeling, or coordination in the extremities
- Loss of bladder and bowel control and sexual function
- Difficulty walking or moving without assistance
- Sciatica, or a burning sensation that radiates in the arms, down the legs, or in the buttocks
Medical Malpractice Can Worsen Spinal Cord Compression
When you go to the doctor, you expect the medical professionals entrusted with your care to perform their jobs in a competent, diligent manner. You do not expect a procedure to go wrong. In fact, all medical providers have a responsibility to uphold a certain standard of care when treating patients in a formal capacity.
Unfortunately, some doctors commit mistakes that lead to serious injuries, like spinal cord compression, such as placing too much pressure on the spine during a surgical procedure. In some cases, physicians fail to accurately diagnose and treat a compressed spine, causing the condition to get worse. These actions qualify as acts of medical malpractice.
Recovering Compensation for Spinal Cord Compression
In Washington, victims of medical malpractice have the right to file lawsuits against the healthcare providers who caused their injuries. If your spinal cord was compressed by a doctor’s actions, or if the provider caused your condition to become worse, you could pursue a claim against him or her in civil court.
By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you could recover financial compensation to pay for the losses associated with the act of negligence. Below are a few examples of the damages that are available in these claims:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Disability accommodations
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Lost wages and loss of future earnings
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Chronic pain
- Loss of quality of life
To secure a fair settlement in your lawsuit, you will need to show that the medical provider committed an act of negligence. You will also need to show that the malpractice directly caused your injury or caused it to become worse. This can require a great deal of medical knowledge and legal understanding.
In these situations, it is important to enlist the help of a Washington medical malpractice attorney who can fight for your right to compensation. As soon as possible after your injury, contact a lawyer to discuss your case and plan your next steps.