Medical Malpractice: Spinal Fusion Surgery
What are the risks associated with spinal fusion surgery?
There are instances when a patient experiences complications following a spinal fusion surgery. However, it is always difficult to determine the exact cause of the post-procedure complications, and whether or not they are a result of medical negligence. Medical malpractice lawsuits associated with spinal fusion procedures are not uncommon.
The Surgery and Its Hazards
Spinal fusion is a medical procedure where at least two vertebrae are permanently attached to the spine. The surgery is conducted to make the spine stable or straight. It is also used in eliminating pain along the spine. The surgery can correct a herniated disc or repair a damaged spine. It is also used to deal with conditions such as kyphosis and scoliosis. The procedure involves a number of risks, including:
- Inadequate healing of the wound
- Blood loss
- Clotting of the blood
- Damage to the spinal nerves and blood vessels
- Pain along the area of the bone graft
- Deterioration of the vertebrae and constant pain
Determining Medical Negligence
Medical negligence can occur in many ways. However, the liability of medical personnel, such as surgeons, is based on the following:
- Carelessness during surgery and failure to identify complications during the surgery.
- Proposing the procedure when it is unnecessary or other options are available.
- Failure to inform the patient about the possible dangers associated with the procedure.
The main issue with the first two situations is whether the same mistake would have been committed by a reasonably-capable medical practitioner, or in other words, whether the medical standard of care was observed. Medical malpractice cannot automatically be attributed as the reason for any complications. It should be proven that the same mistake would not have been committed by a reasonably-capable medical practitioner. The testimonies of the expert medical witnesses of both sides become the basis of the decision of the jury.
Lack of Informed Consent
It is difficult to make a claim if it is based on the fact that the surgeon failed to educate the patient on other available options, or the surgeon recommended the procedure despite the risks linked to it. If the claim is based on the lack of information on the risks associated with the procedure, the victim has to provide evidence that a reasonable patient would not have gone through surgery if the doctor had informed the patient of these risks. This situation is also known as the lack of informed consent. Although the doctor may have informed a patient about the dangers of going through spinal fusion and the patient signed the informed consent form, it is not enough for the victim to lose a case. However, such a case will be difficult to prove in the court.
If you think that the post-procedure complications you are experiencing are a result of medical negligence, consult with Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.
Photo credit: warrenski via Flickr
Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.
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