Many medical malpractice cases involve serious injuries caused by errors or mistakes that could have been avoided. In many incidences, a serious spinal cord injury causes unforeseeable consequences that can last a lifetime. When the patient is partially or fully paralyzed by a misstep of the medical team, they are entitled to seek recovery through a negotiated out of court settlement or an award from a successful jury trial. This is true whether the injury is caused by a blatant error or through medical negligence.
Many cases involving medical malpractice are filed when the injury is caused by a surgical error. In many situations, the mistake is considered medical malpractice because the surgical team failed in their duty to provide the standard of care or because they did not follow strict guidelines during surgery.
Full or partial paralysis medical malpractice cases affect patients from birth to old age. A paralyzing injury can occur at childbirth, during cosmetic procedures are any surgery that nicks or severs major nerves or the spinal cord. Typically, the injured patient loses feeling in limbs or groups of muscles. The most common types of medical malpractice cases involving paralysis include:
- Misdiagnosis, Delayed Diagnosis, Delayed Treatment and Mistreatment – The doctor can conclude the wrong diagnosis, delay performing tests to gain information during a diagnosis, delay treatment or procedures, or provide appropriate treatments at a time when they are no longer effective.
- Surgical Mistakes – Many surgical mistakes and errors can affect the spinal column and cause partial or full paralysis.
- Defective or Malfunctioning Medical Equipment – If the medical equipment used in procedures, surgeries and treatments malfunctions or has a defective design, it can fully or partially paralyzed the patient.
- Medical Negligence – The patient can be paralyzed when the medical team does not follow standard medical practice or offers a lower level of care during surgery, procedures and childbirth.
Full or partial paralysis in a newborn can occur when a delivering obstetrician uses unnecessary force during the birthing process or performs an error during surgery that causes injury to the brain or spinal cord. In some scenarios, the paralysis causes facial or body deformity that might be impossible to repair.
The medical establishment categorizes paralysis in varying degrees based on total or partial severity. Paralysis can affect the entire body, multiple limbs or groups of muscles. The categories include:
- Quadriplegia – This paralysis is considered “full” paralysis because it can affect both legs, both arms and the torso
- Paraplegia – Considered “partial” paralysis, paraplegia typically affects both legs
- Hemiplegia – When paralysis affects a single side of the patient’s body
- Diplegia – When paralysis affects both sides of the patient’s body at identical regions
- Monoplegia – This type of paralysis usually affects a single limb or a hand, wrist, neck or part of the face
Suffering from full or partial paralysis often has a negative effect on remaining functional. The paralyzed patient injured by medical malpractice often requires the use of assistive medical devices and ongoing occupational therapy to develop skills to improve quality of life. In many situations, the victim must vocationally retrain their skills to continue in their chosen profession or take on a new career to accommodate their limited functionality.
Because the injuries were caused by negligence of the medical team, device manufacturer, hospital or facility, the victim has the right to seek financial compensation. However, medical malpractice cases are complex. Successful litigation to obtain recompense often requires hiring a law firm with a comprehensive understanding of state tort law and medical procedure.
This is because the personal injury attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cases will need to prove how the medical care provider’s mistake actually caused the injury and that that injury could have been avoided. The amount of compensation the victim obtains needs to be substantial to cover the expenses of any future medical treatment and assisted care along with recompense for lost wages, suffering, emotional anguish and pain.