When Medical Malpractice Leads to Paralysis
Serving New York, New Jersey, & Connecticut
When you check into the hospital for surgery, the thought of leaving with permanent paralysis due to a surgical error is the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, this tragic situation happens more often than it should. Paralysis can also be the avoidable result of a doctor misdiagnosing or delaying a diagnosis of a condition that can result in paralysis.
While dozens of different scenarios in a medical setting can lead to paralysis, the instances described below are the most common reasons that injured patients contact a New York medical malpractice lawyer.
- A surgical mistake affecting the spinal column or spine that causes immediate paralysis
- Inappropriate administration or monitoring of anesthesia
- Malfunction of medical equipment due to lack of maintenance or failure to repair known issues
- Unnecessary surgery due to a wrong diagnosis that causes additional harm
How your paralysis injury happened is not nearly as important as the fact that you must deal with the consequences of medical malpractice for the remainder of your life. You may not be able to continue working, making it impossible to pay your medical expenses and support your family. You may struggle with anxiety and depression after the medical error because life as you knew it is gone forever. Our experienced paralysis attorneys at have empathy for your situation and are here to help you understand your legal options.
Paralysis – Common Causes
The spinal cord is an extremely sensitive part of the body that helps to deliver messages that direct different areas to move. Damage to the spinal cord, even when it initially appears minor, can have a significant impact on spinal cord functioning. In the most severe cases, the damage causes permanent paralysis. Of course, paralysis can also occur due to problems not caused by spinal cord injury. Below are three of the most frequent causes of paralysis due to medical malpractice.
- Childbirth injuries to the mother or baby can occur when attending physicians fail to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to obvious complications. For example, administering a spinal block incorrectly can cause severe damage to the spinal cord, including paralysis. When a doctor uses forceps to deliver a baby and applies too much pressure, it can result in damage to his or her brachial plexus nerves. Because this set of nerves connect throughout the newborn’s upper body, damage can lead to lifelong paralysis of one or both of the baby’s arms.
- Delayed or incorrect diagnosis sometimes means that the patient has passed the point where doctors can perform any further medical interventions to facilitate improvement. This is especially a factor in spinal cord injuries where timely treatment is essential to prevent permanent paralysis. The failure to act quickly enough is a legitimate reason for injured patients to work with a spinal cord injuries lawyer to pursue justice through financial compensation.
- Surgical errors are one of the top causes of accidental paralysis by a medical provider. You always assume some degree of risk when having surgery due to the invasive nature of most procedures. However, you never expect a surgeon to make a serious error when conducting neurological or orthopedic surgery or when operating on or near your spine. These surgical errors are far too serious to go unchallenged.
Types of Paralysis from Medical Malpractice
Many people are aware of paraplegia and quadriplegia, but these are not the only types of paralysis that can occur due to medical malpractice.
We outline the four most common types of medically-induced paralysis below.
- Hemiplegia: This term describes paralysis that affects one arm or leg on either the left or right side of the body. The most common cause of hemiplegia is cerebral palsy, a condition diagnosed in children before age five. People with this type of paralysis may also have hemiparesis, which means that they experience generalized weakness on the same side of the body. Those with this condition who do not have cerebral palsy often experience a daily change in the degree of weakness and paralysis or it can change for the better or worse over time.
- Monoplegia: If you have monoplegia, it means that paralysis is limited to one area of the body such as a limb. The condition may be temporary due to a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. Like hemiplegia, it is often caused by cerebral palsy. Sensation and motion remain in the non-affected parts of the body.
- Paraplegia: Most people with paraplegia have little to no sensation in their legs and cannot walk independently. However, this is not always the case. Some injured people can walk with assistance or mobility aid and some go on to recover completely. Paraplegia most often occurs due to an injury to the spinal cord.
- Quadriplegia: As the most severe form of paralysis, quadriplegia describes paralysis of the entire body below the neck. Someone with quadriplegia must use a wheelchair and depend on others for the most basic of tasks. As with paraplegia, a spinal cord injury is the most likely culprit and it may be possible to partially or fully recover from it.
Spinal Cord Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice
An incomplete spinal cord injury means that the damage to the spine has impacted its ability to receive or send a message. This often results in the loss of motor sensation or function. A complete spinal cord injury means that something has severed the spinal cord, resulting in permanent loss of bodily sensations and motor skills.
The following are some typical ways that a spinal cord injury can occur in a medical setting:
- Anesthesia errors
- Head or neck injury due to a patient fall when staff failed to adequately supervise the patient
- Improperly performed disc calcification surgery
- Improperly herniated disc surgery
- Improperly performed nerve ablation surgery
- Improperly performed spinal fusion surgery
- Medical staff drops a patient while transferring him or her from the surgical table
Even if you do not see your specific injury on the list, you can contact a spinal cord injury attorney for immediate legal help.
A Brain Injury Related Stroke Caused My Paralysis
A stroke is always a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention. Every minute a patient remains undiagnosed and without treatment can cause irreversible brain damage. Sadly, paralysis can be one of the outcomes of a stroke that a doctor did not treat correctly.
If you have already suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you are 10 times as likely to have a stroke within three months. When you report to the emergency room with a suspected stroke, doctors must treat you within three hours to reverse damage caused by disrupted blood flow to the brain. When this does not happen or you feel the doctor dismissed your concerns or misdiagnosed you, a paralysis law firm can help you recover the compensation you need to live with the limitations imposed by the medical error.
Have The Right Attorney On Your Side For A Paralysis Case
Having the right attorney on your side is essential if you plan to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. At the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm in New York City, we have been helping seriously injured people and their families for generations.
We can answer your questions about:
- Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Complications of brain surgery or spinal surgery
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition
We are a highly experienced firm with decades of litigation experience. Our attorneys have handled many cases involving paralysis, including paralysis caused by strokes and spinal cord injuries.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
Our medical malpractice attorneys handle cases in New York City and all of New York State, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Contact us to schedule your free consultation to discuss your concerns at 212-869-3500. We charge no fees until we recover compensation for your family.
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