Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Lumbar herniation treatments and medical malpractice

Surgery is frequently performed concerning lumbar herniations, and a small handful of such surgeries are performed to treat what is referred to as cauda equine syndrome. This syndrome usually arises when bladder dysfunction also happens to be present in the patient.

Unfortunately, medical negligence is often present when doctors fail to diagnose the problem and treatment is not performed within a 48-hour period from when the herniation of the disk took place. If such treatment is not conducted within this time period, neurological deficits may take place and patients may suffer disability and be forced to rely on permanent medical care to treat the disability.

A study of followed a series of medical malpractice lawsuits brought by patients and their attorneys in the United States related to a failure to timely treat this syndrome. Of the six cases that did come back with a plaintiff's verdict, the average award was $1.57 million.

It must also be said that not all such claims were successfully litigated as nine of the cases were unfavorable for the plaintiffs. The unfavorable verdicts may be due to a lack of showing of a permanent disability. Almost all of the favorable verdicts came about in patients that suffered permanent bowel or bladder dysfunction.

The key point to this study is that Pennsylvania doctors and medical providers must view the patient's condition from the point of view that an emergency has arisen when the patient presents with the symptoms of cauda equine syndrome. Doctors that have been cavalier in their response and care of such patients have found themselves being sued by patients who are now suffering from a permanent disability and are facing a lifetime of medical care and unnecessary suffering.

Source: Ortho SuperSite, "Review of Medicolegal Cases for Cauda Equina Syndrome: What Factors Lead to an Adverse Outcome for the Provider?" by Eldra W. Daniels, Zachary Gordon, MD, Keisha French, BS, Uri M. Ahn, MD, March 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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