A spinal epidural abscess is a severe neurological condition that is treatable if diagnosed in time. If it goes undiagnosed, this rare medical condition can be extremely critical and cause lifelong disabilities or death.
If the delay in diagnosis or treatment was due to wrongful or negligent actions taken by a doctor or healthcare worker while the patient was under his or her care, there could be a claim for medical malpractice. A successful claim may result in an award of compensation for some of the expenses and harm the lack of proper care caused you or a loved one.
The medical malpractice lawyers at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer are experienced in evaluating medical negligence. This article will cover what you should know if you are considering getting help from one of our lawyers.
What Causes a Spinal Epidural Abscess?
A spinal epidural abscess occurs primarily when an underlying infection causes a build-up of pus in the spinal epidural area, impacting the base of the spinal cord. This is usually a bacterial infection commonly caused by staphylococcus aureus. Escherichia coli and other infections may also cause an abscess. However, it is not always clear what caused the spinal epidural abscess.
The sooner a spinal epidural abscess is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis. If the abscess goes undiagnosed for too long, surgical decompression may become necessary. In some cases, the lack of a proper diagnosis may lead to permanent neurological damages or even death.
Common Risk Factors and Symptoms of a Spinal Epidural Abscess
Some patients may not know they are suffering from a spinal epidural abscess. Additionally, it is not uncommon for patients to mistake this abscess for another condition. Doctors may also make this mistake and fail to test for a spinal epidural abscess despite risk factors and symptoms being present.
Some common risk factors that may lead to a spinal epidural abscess include:
- Prior or accompanying head injury
- IV drug use
- Recent bacterial infections
Some symptoms to look for in this circumstance include:
- Lower back or spinal pain or pressure
- Severe pain, especially in the lower back region
- Loss or decrease of coordination
- Tense or stiff joints
There may be other accompanying symptoms such as nausea, headache, stiffness in the lower back, bowel and bladder issues, and confusion. The symptoms will typically continue to progress the longer that a spinal epidural abscess is present in a patient.
Spinal epidural abscess instances are not common. However, because the results of delayed diagnosis can be so devastating, it is essential to raise any areas of concern with your doctor.
Usually, a patient goes through four stages of symptoms. It begins with local back pain and a possible fever. Then, there may be nerve pain that radiates throughout the body. Next, there is typically a feeling of weakness and bladder or bowel issues. The final stage is often severe and can include complete paralysis.
If diagnosed in a timely manner, a spinal epidural abscess may be treatable. If not timely diagnosed, it can result in serious harm to the patient.
How is a Spinal Epidural Abscess Diagnosed and Treated?
Regardless of what caused a spinal epidural abscess, it is essential to timely diagnose and treat it. To test for a spinal epidural abscess, doctors typically order an MRI, blood cultures, and other blood tests. If the abscess is diagnosed in time, it is treatable through surgery and antibiotics. In some instances, antibiotics alone may be enough.
Proving Medical Malpractice in a Spinal Epidural Abscess Case
To prove medical malpractice in an epidural abscess case, you need to prove that the doctor who failed to timely diagnose and treat the spinal epidural abscess was negligent and that this negligence caused you substantial injury.
Often, the failure to timely diagnose the abscess is due to the negligence of the treating medical practitioner in not performing a test for the underlying infection or presence of an abscess. This oversight may occur even if the patient comes in for treatment and complains about the symptoms that are typically present in cases of a spinal epidural abscess.
If the failure to timely diagnose a spinal epidural abscess was due to negligence on the part of healthcare provider and resulted in severe harm to the patient, there may be a claim for medical malpractice.
The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer can evaluate your medical records with well-credentialed experts in the field to determine whether you have been the victim of medical malpractice.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered in A Spinal Epidural Abscess Claim?
As with other types of medical malpractice lawsuits, a patient or their family members can be awarded compensatory damages in the form of a monetary award to attempt to make the patient whole after the negligent actions of a doctor or another medical worker.
These damages may include compensation for economic and non-economic losses, such as:
- healthcare expenses, doctor visits, prescription medications, and other healthcare treatment expenditures
- lost wages due to missed time from work or unemployment
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment of life or marital status
- emotional harm
To know what types of compensation you may be able to recover in a spinal epidural abscess claim, you need to know the applicable laws and how to prove the claim. It will depend upon the actions taken by the patient, what tests the doctors ordered, and the applicable local and state laws.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Spinal Epidural Abscess Claim?
If you have concerns about whether you suffered harm or if you lost someone due to a delay in diagnosing and treating a spinal epidural abscess, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who is able to advocate for you.
Without proof of all required elements for a spinal epidural abscess claim, the medical malpractice lawsuit will not succeed. If you are unfamiliar with this area of law but have suffered harm due to a spinal epidural abscess that was a result of malpractice, then you should consult an experienced lawyer to work for you on this claim.
The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer are experienced medical malpractice lawyers who consult with well-credentialed medical experts when evaluating whether there is a valid claim; if so then the litigation team moves forward to file the claim in court and expertly navigate the litigation process.
Contact Us Today
If you or someone you love suffered an injury due to a doctor failing to timely diagnose a spinal epidural abscess that could have otherwise been treated, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you sustained. Remember that the timely filing of a claim in any legal matter is crucial. The sooner you fill out our contact form, the sooner an attorney can contact you to learn more about the specifics of your case and let you know how you should proceed.
At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer, we are committed to pursuing full compensation for those harmed as a result of medical malpractice. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, please fill out the contact form at www.rayneslaw.com or call our toll-free number at (800) 535-1797. A member of our legal team will get back to you shortly.
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