“A delay in referring a spinal injury case is known to lead to complications and longer hospital stays, which may be partially due to inappropriate methods of assessment.”
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
With some types of spinal injuries and the use of advanced treatment technologies it may sometimes be possible for the damage caused to the spine to be of short duration and a full recovery can be made by the patient.
An injury caused to the bones of the spine may well be able to heal, however, any damage to the spinal cord itself is still considered almost always irreversible. When the spine has been seriously damaged or the spinal cord is severed, there are major implications for a patient’s future with immobility or severe movement impairment.
However, much can depend on the accuracy of diagnosis and the subsequent promptness of treatment and care by doctors, specialists and other practitioners. If a patient doesn’t receive the proper care that they need they may suffer injury as a result of clinical negligence.
The traumatic and life-changing consequences of a permanent spinal injury can have a devastating impact upon the whole family. Especially, if damage was avoidable and if sufficient care had not been taken. Cases involving complications arising from spinal injuries can sometimes also be complex.
Now hospital Trusts owe a legal ‘Duty of Candour’ to the patient. They must both inform and apologise if mistakes. However, this is a new duty and it may not always be straightforward to obtain a proper explanation as to what happened and who is responsible.
If you believe that you or a family member have not received proper treatment it is important that you instruct a legal expert, who also has specialist knowledge of the key medical issues together with a sympathetic and sensitive understanding of how everyone involved is affected.
Your Legal Friend has specialist lawyers who have successfully resolvedmany different types of clinical negligence case. We can help you find out whether you or a member of your family were not given the proper care that you required and crucially, if the otcome is worse as a result, obtain compensation to ensure the future financial needs of providing the necessary special care, support, treatment and equipment will be properly met.
- (Spinal Injury Assessment Guide - NICE 2013/15)
- (BackUp Trust)
When the structure of the spine, the bones, spinal discs, nerves and/or cord have been damage a full or partial recovery may be possible. However, an injury to the spinal cord is usually very serious with paralysis and severe immobility as a lifelong outcome.
Spinal injuries can cause:
Spinal cord injuries can cause:
The duty of care you are owed as a patient means that every doctor, specialist or nurse must “exercise the skill appropriate to their experience and training and perform their clinical responsibilities in line with their peers.” To prove a clinical negligence claim we then have to go on to show that you are worse now as a result of the doctor, specialist or nurses’ failing.
When care in the diagnosis and treatment of a spinal injury falls below an acceptable standard the injuries can affect motor, brain and nerve function.
A spinal injury could still be ‘unstable’ with the possibility of further complications developing but a doctor may have mistakenly diagnosed the injury as already having “stabilised.”
Direct injuries can be caused to the spine or spinal cord during surgery because of a failure to carry out correct procedures, the use of the incorrect equipment or even during tests involving a lumber puncture when a needle is inserted to obtain a sample of spinal fluid.
A spinal injury may not only become worse and the prospects of recovery diminished, a patient may suffer permanent, life changing disability.
Spinal injuries may not be managed appropriately and further serious injury caused at a hospital or nursing home.
An improperly administered epidural can result in spinal damage to the mother.
Typical conditions, which also affect the spine include:
A relatively rare but serious condition, which causes extreme pressure and swelling of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord, at the point where they separate and extend down the back of each leg.
Surgery is recommended to decompress the nerves within 8 hours of onset of symptoms to reduce or eliminate pressure on the nerve and give the maximum potential for improvement of sensory and motor functions.
If the opportunity to treat a patient who has symptoms of cauda equina before they become complete is missed, the condition cannot be reversed and the patient may have a claim for compensation.
No one can truly measure the emotional devastation caused to a patient and their family trying to come to terms with why the system seems to have failed them at a time of most need.
No amount of compensation for clinical negligence will be able to reverse the suffering and stress caused when something goes wrong during an operation or an injury is not properly diagnosed or treated. However with the proper compensation people can regain their independence through adaptations to their home, help to do things they previously would have done for themselves.
It can take time to decide to seek legal advice.
As experienced clinical negligence specialists, we know that families need to find answers and the people responsible are held to account. We can help you find out “why the system has failed you and what went wrong.”
From the first time we discuss the particular circumstances of your case, Your Legal Friend is committed to ensuring we obtain the maximum compensation for our clients.