Was Your Spinal Fusion Mishap Medical Malpractice?

Posted on: 18 December 2018

Did you recently undergo a spinal fusion? Did you come out of the procedure with serious issues, like a broken vertebrae or damaged nerves? For most people, a spinal fusion can be a helpful and life-changing procedure. It involves the fusing of two or more vertebrae together, which can provide strength and stability to the spine. That can resolve serious spinal issues and help you move with more comfort. It can also reduce the odds of immobility or paralysis in later years.

However, a spinal fusion can also be a risky procedure. The spine is a delicate part of the body, full of small nerve sacs and vertebrae. People sometimes come out of the procedure with serious side effects, some of which can be permanent. If you suffered nerve or spine damage during your procedure, you may be wondering if you can or should file a malpractice suit. Below are a few questions to ask to determine if a suit if appropriate for your situation.

Did the surgeon make an error or fail to recognize a complication? The most blatant cases of malpractice are those in which a surgeon makes a mistake or fails to recognize that the surgery isn't going as planned. However, these can also be difficult to prove. In order to claim malpractice, you must show that the surgeon made an error that a reasonably skilled surgeon wouldn't have made. That means you'll likely need to obtain the surgical records and have an attorney and possibly even another surgeon review them. You also may need a surgeon to testify on your behalf that an error was made. The first step is to discuss with your surgeon what happened and to request all records.

Did the surgeon fail to consider alternative options? There could also be question about whether you needed a fusion in the first place. A spinal fusion can be a powerful and helpful procedure, but it's not right for everyone. It's usually an option for those with advanced spinal deterioration. It's possible that you could have benefited from other treatments, like physical therapy. If your doctor failed to suggest alternatives and only recommended a fusion, you may have a case for malpractice. That's especially true if you can find an expert who will testify that other treatments would have been more suitable.

Did the surgeon fail to inform you of risks? Spinal fusion is a risky procedure because it involves the spine. Your surgeon should have informed you of the risks before you chose to undergo a fusion. However, if he or she didn't, you may be able to sue for malpractice. This justification isn't common because most hospitals have fairly detailed waivers and consent forms. It's likely that risks were disclosed both in conversation with your surgeon and in paperwork you signed before the procedure. However, you may want to go through your paperwork and notes to double-check that risks were discussed.

Ready to explore a malpractice suit against your spinal surgeon? Contact medical malpractice attorneys like those at R.J. Marzella & Associates, P.C. today to get started.


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