Paralysis is obviously one of the most extreme and life-altering medical conditions that a human being can endure. It is difficult enough when an individual is paralyzed as a result of a stroke, or from an accident, such as a head injury, or from a genetic condition such as muscular dystrophy. But it is an entirely different situation when the paralysis is caused by a medical professional’s mistake. Why? Because in this instance, the paralysis was preventable. It was caused by human error. And, unfortunately, many cases of paralysis are caused by medical errors.
Paralysis is caused as a result of injury to the central nervous system. This results in a partial or complete inability to move the extremities. Paralysis of the arms and legs is quadriplegia; paralysis of the legs is paraplegia. Paralysis of one side of the body is hemiplegia. Diplegia refers to paralysis of the same area on both sides of the body; monoplegia refers to a single limb or area.
Doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, obstetricians, gynecologists, emergency room professionals, nurses, hospital professionals, pharmacists and all other trained medical professionals have a duty to abide by specific medical protocols. When they deviate from these standards, resulting in injury or harm to the patient, they may be guilty of medical malpractice. In these instances, the paralyzed victim may pursue monetary damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the paralyzed patient dies, their legal heirs may pursue damages in a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit.
Various Causes of Paralysis
Unfortunately, paralysis often occurs during childbirth. Brachial plexus injuries occur when a group of nerves in the newborn’s neck are torn, stretched or compressed. This excessive and unnecessary use of force may result in temporary or permanent paralysis of the upper extremity. As well, paralysis is often caused during surgery when there are surgical errors either near the brain or near the spine. The surgeon’s error may permanently damage the spinal cord.
Another common cause of paralysis is caused by the medical professional’s inaccurate diagnosis, or by a complete failure to diagnose. As well, when there is a delay in the diagnosis of a medical condition, paralysis can occur. For example, when meningitis is not quickly diagnosed, it can result in paralysis as well as a host of other severe conditions, such as brain damage and hearing loss. In worst case scenarios, death can occur. Delayed diagnosis of spinal cord tumors can result in paralysis due to spinal cord compression and other factors. When brain tumors are not quickly and accurately diagnosed, they may result in paralysis of the body or face. Traumatic injury to the spinal cord following an accident or impact can result in paralysis and must be immediately diagnosed.
Neurological examinations, CT scans, X-rays and other forms of diagnosis must be swift, thorough and accurate. Medical professionals must be proactive and aggressive in their diagnoses. Failure to do so may result in medical negligence.
Damages and Compensation
If you or a family member sustained injuries as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, you may be in a position to pursue compensation. This may include past and future medical expenses, lost income, future lost income, pain and suffering and much more. In cases of paralysis and other long term injuries, damages must be carefully assessed, for a lifetime of medical attention and care is involved.
Michels & Lew, Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Michels & Lew is a medical malpractice and personal injury law firm based in Los Angeles. The legal and medical professionals at The Law Offices of Michels & Lew can be contacted at 310-444-1200 to discuss your case.