Extreme Consequences From Spinal Fusion Surgical Errors
Americans spend billions every year on treatment for chronic back pain, a medical condition that affects more people than you might expect. Statistics indicate that up to 72.3 million individuals suffer from back pain, expending more than $90 billion every year for medications, chiropractic care, various forms of therapy, medical procedures, and other treatment. Many are able to eliminate their pain, or at least it to the point that they can live a relatively normal life.
However, the agony of chronic back pain leads some to consider spinal fusion surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon scrapes and drills within fractions of an inch of the spinal cord. Mistakes can lead to serious injuries, permanent disability, and even death. If you or a loved one was affected, it is critical to consult with a Tampa surgical errors lawyer right away. Plus, you should understand the extreme consequences from mishaps with spinal fusion procedures.
Types of Surgical Errors in Spinal Fusion Procedures
The procedure involves cutting away bone and spinal discs of at least two vertebrae, allowing for these tissues and other materials being fused together. A bone graft is taken from another part of the body, or a special cement material is used to merge the new vertebrae created by the surgeon. Then, the physician will drill screws into the bone to connect the piece to an existing vertebra.
From this basic description, you can see the potential for surgical errors with spinal fusion surgery. Mistakes may include:
- Severing the spinal cord when removing bone material;
- Not placing the screws properly to make the vertebra immobile;
- Damaging nerves, blood vessels, muscles around the spine, and other tissues;
- Drilling into the spinal cord;
- Applying too much pressure, compressing the spinal cord; and,
- Leaving screws or other surgical instruments inside the patient.
Unnecessary Spinal Fusion Surgeries
Another way that health care providers may make mistakes is by ordering a surgery that the patient does not need. A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) compared patients who elected spinal fusion surgery to those who opted for non-surgical treatment for chronic back pain. The former group had higher rates of:
- Permanent disability;
- Follow up and additional surgeries;
- Continued back pain and complications; and,
- Opioid use.
Damages for Surgeon Errors
These claims fall under Florida medical malpractice laws, so you may qualify for the same types of compensation as patients who suffered other types of harm. It is possible to recover for medical costs to correct surgical mistakes, as well as any lost wages from missing work. You could also collect for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other noneconomic damages.
Our Florida Surgical Errors Attorneys Will Explain Your Rights
The harm from mistakes with spinal fusion surgery can be devastating, so it is encouraging to know that Florida medical malpractice laws protect your interests. For additional details about your legal remedies, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. at 813.223.7849 or via our website. We can schedule a complimentary consultation with a Tampa, FL surgical errors lawyer who will explain the relevant concepts.