A spinal cord stimulator is a medical device used by many Americans across the country without any issue. For many people, a spinal cord stimulator is a good choice to have implanted in a medical setting. It is a way to relieve many different kinds of pain without resorting to addictive painkillers such as opiates. However, spinal cord stimulators are not without their drawbacks.
One of the most serious drawbacks of spinal cord stimulators is that they have the potential to cause paralysis. However, this usually only happens when something goes wrong somewhere in the implantation process, or the stimulator is not medically appropriate for the situation. In those cases, an individual who has become paralyzed due to a bad spinal cord stimulator procedure may have a legal claim against those responsible.
For help with your case, call our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers from Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 To get a free overview of your case.
What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator is a device that is implanted in the spinal column and sends electrical signals into the body. The main purpose of a spinal cord stimulator is to relieve chronic pain. The procedure is becoming more and more common, with around 30,000 people getting the required surgery for implantation each year.
One of the benefits of spinal cord stimulators is that it is a pain relief alternative to medication. This means that some individuals who may have been prescribed addictive substances like opioids to relieve intense pain may be able to have their aches assuaged by a spinal cord stimulator instead. This can be useful if the individual is prone to addiction or will have an adverse reaction to a pain-relief drug.
Can a Spinal Cord Stimulator Cause Paralysis?
Spinal cord stimulators are not without their downsides. Unfortunately, one of those downsides is paralysis. Complications in a spinal cord stimulator implantation can result in paralysis if things go wrong.
The risk of paralysis is dependent on the condition and physiology of the person undergoing the procedure. For example, individuals with a greater risk of blood clotting can become partially paralyzed if blood leaks into the spinal column and puts pressure on the spinal cord. Paralysis may also occur if the stimulator device is placed in such a way that it puts its own pressure on the spinal cord.
It is the responsibility of medical professionals involved in the procedure to assess each patient and determine whether a spinal cord stimulator is a good fit for their situation and then carry out the procedure professionally and correctly.
Suing for a Spinal Cord Stimulator Injury in Maryland
If you are injured because of a spinal cord stimulator, you may have a legal claim against those responsible under the umbrella of medical malpractice lawsuits.
This type of lawsuit alleges that a medical provider did something wrong in the course of treating you that resulted in some kind of injury or a worsening of your condition. Determining whether what they did was “wrong” often means looking at what other doctors would do and gauging what is standard in the profession. This type of lawsuit can be complicated, so it is a good idea to speak with our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers about your situation.
How Medical Malpractice can Cause Spinal Cord Stimulator Complications in Maryland
There are a lot of steps in determining whether a patient is a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator implantation. We have gathered some of the ways medical malpractice can occur in this process:
Generally, people get spinal cord stimulators implanted when their doctor recommends it as a potential good treatment option for them. Good candidates for a spinal cord stimulator would include people for whom conventional pain medication has not been effective. However, there is the possibility that someone who under no circumstances should get a spinal cord stimulator implanted will be recommended for the procedure. For example, individuals with certain psychiatric disorders are not usually affected by spinal cord stimulators, so they are not ideal candidates. So, if a medical professional recommends the procedure and also knows about a type of condition that would warn against spinal cord stimulator implantation, that may be considered medical negligence.
After a patient is determined to be a good fit for a spinal cord stimulator, the next step is a trial period. During this period, the stimulator is implanted with minimal surgical procedures in such a way that it can potentially be removed if it is not effective for the patient. This step offers many potential places where medical malpractice could occur. First, the implantation surgery could go wrong and cause complications, including paralysis. Second, the device may malfunction and not work as intended once it is inside your body. Finally, if the device does not work as you want it to, the surgery to remove it might be done incorrectly and result in injuries due to medical negligence.
Much like the trial period, the final implantation of the spinal cord stimulator also offers up areas where malpractice can occur. Again, the surgery can potentially be botched and result in complications up to and including paralysis. There also is a chance that there are non-stimulator-related issues, such as poorly done incisions and restitching of the surgery area or placing the stimulator in such a way that it is uncomfortable at the location where it sits inside of your body.
Call Our Maryland Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Right Away
Rice, Murtha & Psoras has Severna Park, MD medical malpractice lawyers ready to give free case reviews when you call the number (410) 694-7291.