Spinal abscesses, also called spinal epidural abscesses, are pockets of infected pus that form in between the bones of the spine and the membrane surrounding the spinal cord. If they are not diagnosed and treated in time, they can compress the spinal cord and spinal nerves and cause permanent catastrophic injury including, permanent bone destruction, nerve damage, partial or total paralysis or even death. Once epidural abscesses cause neurologic signs or symptoms, they represent major medical emergencies and must be treated with great urgency.
If symptomatic spinal abscesses are promptly and properly diagnosed and treated, they can usually be successfully treated by surgically draining or removing the abscess in conjunction with the administration of IV antibiotics for an extended period of time.
Under Florida law, people who have been harmed because a spinal abscess was not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner can hold their physician and/or other medical personnel liable for negligence and resulting damages by pursuing a medical malpractice claim. With help from an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney, you can take legal action against negligent health care providers in order to obtain the substantial compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, medical expenses and losses resulting from the medical negligence.
What Happens If a Spinal Abscess Is Not Diagnosed and Treated?
In the early stages, an evolving spinal cord abscess can sometimes go unnoticed because the signs and symptoms may be more subtle at the outset. However, in certain patients, including older or immunocompromised patients, such as diabetics or those who have had a recent infection (e.g., a urinary tract infection), there is an elevated risk for an epidural abscess and doctors must be careful not to misdiagnosis the abscess as just a minor orthopedic problem. Accordingly, when there is reason to suspect the presence of a spinal epidural abscess, it is critical that physicians do not merely order X-rays but, instead, order a MRI or a CT scan, with contrast, without delay. Scanning the spine is vital in order to make a timely diagnosis. Early treatment might involve only giving antibiotics. However, a delay in diagnosis can subject the patient to irreparable harm.
By the time the condition progresses and causes apparent symptoms, such as pain, fever, impaired sensation and limitations in range of motion in the neck, arms or legs, what was easily treatable with medical management will now likely require surgery. Unfortunately, at this point, even if the patient can be saved from becoming a quadriplegic or paraplegic, it is possible that the infection will have spread to the discs (discitis) or into the spinal bones (osteomyelitis). If this has already occurred, the patient may need to have extensive spinal surgery involving the removal of discs and the need for a spinal fusion. The patient may also require the removal of spinal bone with a need for the implantation of hardware in the form of metal prosthetic devices and/or the use of bone grafts.
One of the most devastating consequences of a delayed or missed diagnosis of a spinal abscess is paralysis in the form of quadriplegia or paraplegia. These patients, who were horribly let down by their doctors and other medical care providers, may now be totally disabled for life and require around-the-clock medical, nursing, and rehabilitative care at great expense. Sometimes, the best way to ensure that these injured individuals receive all the medical care and support that they need, not to mention compensation for their pain and suffering, is to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Can Victims of Missed Diagnosis of Spinal Abscesses Do to Hold Florida Doctors Accountable?
If a physician failed to diagnose and treat a spinal abscess and you have been injured because of that failure, you may be able to take legal action against the doctor and other health care providers to hold them accountable for medical malpractice and obtain the substantial compensation you deserve and may need to secure the best possible quality of life.
Florida law defines medical malpractice as the failure of a health care provider to act in accordance with the accepted professional standard of care owed to patients. When a doctor fails to act as a reasonably prudent medical provider of the same specialty would behave under similar circumstances and causes a patient to suffer serious injury or wrongful death, the doctor may be held responsible for inflicting harm on his or her patients. The injured patient or their family may then be able to recover economic and non-economic compensatory damages for:
- Mental anguish and suffering
- Diminished capacity to enjoy life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Family members’ loss of companionship, guidance, and services
- Lost income and support
- Decreased earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Other damages recoverable under Florida law.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Spinal Abscess Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Florida?
Medical malpractice cases are often very complicated. To demonstrate that a doctor or other healthcare provider breached the accepted standard of care and caused harm requires an extensive investigation and thorough understanding of the facts of a case. In addition, you need expert legal representation, top quality expert testimony and determined, well planned use of the civil discovery process and tools at the trial lawyer’s disposal.
The highly experienced and skilled medical malpractice lawyers, paralegals and medical investigators of the Boyers Law Group make an extraordinarily talented and effective team that has repeatedly enabled our clients to achieve large and, in many cases, multi-million dollar successful recoveries in their medical malpractice cases. At the Boyers Law Group, we do everything possible to maximize our clients’ prospects to achieve full and just compensation for their serious injuries due to medical negligence. We know that our clients need and depend on us and we tirelessly advocate for them with every powerful resource at our disposal.
Call Boyers Law Group or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” from on our website to discuss your Florida medical malpractice case with us free of charge.