Spinal Injury Medical Negligence Claims
There are three ways in which medical negligence can lead to a spinal injury. As with most cases of medical negligence, the negligence is nearly always avoidable, and consists of delay in treating a patient, failures to diagnose a patient properly, and the medical practitioner not providing their patients with the correct treatment, care, or medicine.
Spinal cord injuries can be both traumatic and life-changing. If you or a member of your family have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of medical negligence, MG Legal’s solicitors that specialise in medical negligence claims, will help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Can I bring a claim for a spinal injury resulting from Medical Negligence?
All medical practitioners owe you a duty of care, and if their treatment of you has been in any way negligent, that you can make a claim for medical negligence compensation. Any injuries that are spine, head or brain related can, by their very nature, be very severe, and often, mistakes made my surgeons during surgery can lead to extreme back pain or pressure in your neck and head, or even permanent disability.
The effects of spinal injuries caused by medical negligence, can be weakness, in-coordination or paralysis in any part of your body; numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes, or where a medical practitioner fails to diagnose cauda equina syndrome, patients can suffer permanent paralysis, impaired bladder and bowel control, and a complete loss of sexual sensation. The first thing any medical practitioner must do is to diagnose a patient properly, and if a patient presents with broken vertebrae or a crushed disc and a doctor fails to properly diagnose it, they could be in serious danger of paralysis and long-term mobility problems.
Medical practitioners are often busy people- we all know that it is often very hard to see our GP. A&E departments, even during the day, are often frantically busy, with people injured in assaults, road traffic accidents, accidents at work, along with a million and one other accidents that may have occurred. The fact is that none of us actually want to be making a claim for medical negligence compensation; we would all prefer to be fit and healthy so we can get on with our lives. But medical practitioners do make mistakes, and spinal injuries caused by medical negligence are some of the most serious injuries our solicitors dealing with medical negligence claims, deal with, on a NO WIN NO FEE basis.
What type of medical negligence can cause a spinal injury?
There are many mistakes that can occur, for example during spinal surgery or during diagnosis. The most common mistakes that lead to spinal cord injuries caused by negligence include:
Injuries caused by failure to diagnose
There are so many ways that we can injure our back- from sporting injuries, road traffic accidents, misplaced epidural injections during birth or during the treatment of chronic back or neck pain; a disease such as osteoarthritis or developmental defect can cause cauda equina syndrome, leading to acute loss of function of the lumbar plexus, having a badly designed workstation, or even by just having poor posture.
While some spinal cord injuries happen suddenly, others can only be detected by a doctor, so when a medical practitioner fails to diagnose a spinal cord injury and does not order testing to determine the severity of the injury, serious complications can arise.
Delayed treatment/improper treatment
Medical opinion suggests that minor spinal injuries, such as whiplash to the neck, can heal within the first six months after injury. Any remaining loss of function present after 12 months is much more likely to become permanent. Maintaining a positive outlook is extremely important for patients with spinal cord injury, and medical professionals must seek to diagnose a spinal injury as soon as possible. X-Rays and MRI scans must be taken if a spinal injury is to be treated immediately. Damage to the spinal cord rarely heals because the injured nerve cells fail to regenerate. The regrowth of their long nerve fibres is hindered by scar tissue and molecular processes inside the nerves. It is of the utmost importance that any treatment, that would minimise loss of movement, damage to nerves and tissue, is administered as soon as possible. If treatment is delayed, or the medical team administer improper treatment, then you could pursue a claim for compensation, on a NO WIN NO FEE basis, with MG Legal’s solicitors dealing in medical negligence claims.
Medical Misdiagnosis of a spinal injury can truly be life-changing. Neurologists and radiologists, when reading EMG (electromyography) results (The test is used to help detect neuromuscular abnormalities) can often make mistakes. Instances of medical negligence have occurred when medical practitioners have missed tumours pressing on a patient’s spinal cord, and negligently diagnosed a condition of age-related muscular atrophy. As a result of the medical practitioner’s negligence, EMG and MRI results are often not read properly, and an operation to remove the tumour that would have saved the injured patient from suffering many years of disability, is not made available. In many cases of medical negligence, a medical misdiagnosis of a spinal injury can lead to many years of unnecessary pain, suffering, and disability.
If you have suffered medical negligence, as a result of medical misdiagnosis, and want to make pursue a claim for compensation, then contact MG Legal’s expert medical negligence solicitors for no nonsense advice on how we can help you claim compensation, on a NO WIN NO Fee basis.
Mistakes from facet joint injections
Facet joint injections are used to alleviate symptoms of Facet syndrome. Facet syndrome is a syndrome in which the facet joints (synovial diarthroses, from L2 to S1 (your lower back) Usually, facet joint injections are administered as an outpatient surgery, so that the patient can go home on the same day. Because facet joint syndrome develops with age, there is no way to “cure” it with non-surgical treatments. However, the vast majority of people are able to manage their symptoms without surgery for many years.
As with all invasive medical procedures, there are potential risks and complications associated with facet joint injections. Whilst in general, the risk is low, and complications are rare the potential risks and/or complications that may occur from a facet joint injection include:
Allergic reaction to the steroid that was injected
Bleeding to the spine if the needle does not penetrate correctly
Infection if the needle is unclean, or you are not advised of the correct aftercare
Nerve or spinal cord damage or paralysis - damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves can occur from direct trauma from the needle, or secondarily from infection, bleeding resulting in compression, or injection into an artery causing blockage.
Whilst some of the risks are recognised complications, and some that you may be asked to consent to, prior to any facet joint procedure, this does not mean that the medical practitioners have the right for their care to fall below that of a reasonably competent medical practitioner, and if you have been unfortunate enough to suffer some form of injury, or your back injury was made worse because of an incorrectly administered facet joint injection to the spine, then contact our solicitors dealing with medical negligence claims, at MG Legal. All claims for medical negligence damages, are accepted on a NO WIN NO FEE basis.
Delay in diagnosis and surgery of cauda equina syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome is a rare and severe type of spinal stenosis where all of the nerves in the lower back suddenly become severely compressed. The consequences of medical negligence can often be awful for a patient and a delayed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome can certainly be extremely serious. Cauda equina syndrome is best treated with decompression by a lumbar laminectomy, but a lumbar microdiscectomy may be used given a patient's unique situation. The surgery must take place as soon as possible to minimise disability, and if the delayed in diagnosing Cauda equina syndrome leaves a person with residual neurological deficit and bowel or bladder disturbance, then such claims for medical negligence, can result in large sums of compensation being paid.
Missed fractures of the neck and back
Due to the sensitivity of the spinal cord, when a medical practitioner fails to diagnose a fracture of the spine, and avail an injured person of the appropriate treatment, the failure can lead to more serious, and often life-changing injuries, that could have been treated much earlier.
Errors handling patients with neck and back injuries
Medical negligence can occur as soon as the paramedics attend the scene of an accident.
MG Legal’s solicitors specialising in medical negligence claims have recently won personal injury compensation for a lady who had fallen, and was in an injured state on the floor when the paramedics arrived. The paramedics failed to carry out a proper assessment of our injured client’s injuries before they attempted to move her. They then failed to use a spinal board to move our client, and her injuries were aggravated by the paramedics’ negligent actions.
A very similar case to that settled by our in-house solicitors dealing with medical negligence claims, is the I case of Griffiths v Secretary of State for Health.
In Griffiths, the Claimant had a history of alcohol abuse, and the attending ambulance crew mistook his condition, and the claimant claimed damages for his failed treatment in that he had not been immobilised. The ambulance crew had, in fact assumed, that Mr Griffiths had suffered a stroke, and based upon this so no steps were taken to immobilize his neck (as suggested by NICE guidelines).
Instead, Mr Griffiths was placed in a sitting position, and carried to an ambulance in a carry chair, and as a result became tetraplegic.
Negligence was admitted on behalf of the ambulance crew, but the court had to determine whether the “manhandling” caused the deterioration. It was decided that, given that deterioration of this nature is uncommon, and the most common cause is “manhandling”, it was the most likely cause here.
Errors made when carrying out spinal surgery
Surgical and treatment errors - When having an operation on your spine, if any mistakes as made, the effects can be life-changing, so surgeons and medical professionals are expected to be extremely vigilant, and expected to do a safe, competent job. However, with tens of thousands of spine operations carried out each year, errors in surgery do occur, and can damage your spinal cord due to different reasons:
Genuine accident by the surgeon
Mistake due to overworked/pressured medical professional
Error due to the surgeon's lack of proper qualification or experience
Radiographer error in not checking your X-Rays properly
So, the answer to the question, ‘can I bring a claim for a spinal injury caused by medical negligence, is yes, you can. If you think you have a claim for compensation as a result of medical negligence, and want to discuss bringing a no win no fee medical negligence compensation claim, then please do not hesitate to contact our offices, for a no cost, no obligation chat.
How long do I have to make a claim for medical negligence compensation?
Generally speaking, if you are over 18 at the time you suffered medical negligence, then you usually have 3 years from the date of the negligence, within which to bring a claim for compensation. This three- year period starts either on the date of the negligent act if you are aware of it or in some Medical Negligence Claims the three - year period is deemed to start when you become aware of the link between your injury and the act of negligence; this is referred to as the 'date of knowledge'.
If you believe you have a claim, it’s important that you seek advice from a solicitor dealing in medical negligence cases, on a NO WIN NO FEE basis, as soon as possible.
If you do not either settle your personal injury claim, or issue proceedings in the County Court within your three -year time limit, your claim will become automatically Statute Barred under the Limitation Act 1980.
These limits can sometimes be different, for example when dealing with children or patents with limited capacity, such as those in comas or who have dementia. Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims have a limit of two years, as do certain maritime and aviation (sea or air) incidents. If in doubt, contact MG Legal’s specialist medical negligence solicitors to ensure that you receive the advice you need immediately and you do not miss any deadlines that might stop you making a claim.