Medical Malpractice After Spinal Epidural Abscess in South Carolina
Spinal epidural abscess is an ailment that requires timely medical diagnosis and treatment. If this disease is not diagnosed and managed right away, it can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications. Unfortunately, some medical professionals fail to recognize this problem in their patients, causing complications that could have been avoided.
If you suspect that you or someone in your family suffered unnecessarily from spinal abscess because of a doctor’s error, you may have a medical malpractice case. The compensation you could receive from a successful malpractice claim could greatly help ease the financial and emotional burdens that resulted from the misdiagnosed illness.
In South Carolina, talk to the Kassel McVey. Our firm has successfully handled medical malpractice cases like yours, helping South Carolinians recover the compensation they deserve. We can evaluate your potential malpractice case and help you pursue your strongest legal options.
What Is Spinal Epidural Abscess? Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Complications
Spinal epidural abscess (SEA) is an accumulation of infected material, such as pus, in the epidural space. “Epidural” means it is on or around the protective layer of the spinal cord. An infection can occur in this area due to a separate condition, such as the presence of tuberculosis bacteria or infection from a medical procedure.
When infected pus accumulates in the epidural space, it compresses the spinal cord, causing some difficult symptoms and sometimes leading to severe neurological problems.
Symptoms of epidural abscess include:
- Back pain – This is usually the first symptom of the abscess. The pain is often non-specific or unexplainable.
- Fever – This is also a common symptom, as the body reacts to the infection. Fever may be accompanied by night sweats and body weakness.
- Bladder or bowel problems – Bladder and bowel functions depend largely on neurological connections through the spinal cord. The epidural abscess can interfere with these. When the patient has incontinence, difficulty urinating, or difficulty in bowel control, it may be a sign that the abscess has grown to its mid-stage.
- Leg weakness – Likewise, the spinal cord also holds neural pathways that allow the brain to control the legs. The compression of the spinal cord may impede these neural pathways.
While the initial symptoms of spinal epidural abscess seem vague or minor, a physician can order a spine MRI or a spine CT scan for a patient. An MRI is the most common way to spot an epidural abscess. Additionally, doctors have specific clinical markers to verify any suspicions of spinal abscess.
The underlying infection must be managed early on to prevent the abscess from growing. In some cases, antibiotics may be enough to fight the infection, but in more severe circumstances, surgery may be required to drain the abscess. If left untreated, an epidural abscess could create neurological complications such as:
- Nerve damage – This may be characterized by the loss of motor functions or sensory functions.
- Meningitis – a potentially fatal infection of the membrane that protects the brain and spinal cord
- Osteomyelitis – a painful bone infection that may become permanent damage.
How Medical Malpractice Occurs Around Epidural Abscess
It can be highly distressing to discover a spinal epidural abscess, especially if you have reason to believe that your suffering should have been prevented by your doctor. When can you say that it is a case of medical malpractice?
A medical malpractice case is founded on negligence. A physician or medical staff may be considered negligent if:
- They had a standard of care to uphold. “Standard of care” refers to the level of skill and care that any similarly-trained professional is expected to apply in the same situation.
- They failed to uphold this standard of care.
- Their failure caused harm on the patient.
Take a look at some forms of medical negligence around spinal abscess, and example scenarios of medical malpractice:
Missed diagnosis/Delayed diagnosis
It is crucial for an epidural abscess to be diagnosed as early as possible to prevent dangerous complications. However, some doctors dismiss the early symptoms – such as back pain – and then recognize the abscess only when more severe conditions have cropped up.
Improper diagnosis/Improper treatment
Though some physicians immediately recognize that their patients’ complaints are more than just simple back pains, they fail to proceed with appropriate treatment or further examination.
South Carolina Epidural Medical Malpractice – Contact Kassel McVey
If you believe that medical malpractice has played a role in your spinal epidural abscess, don’t hesitate to consult one our experienced attorneys right away.
Don’t wait, South Carolina has a “Statute of Limitations” that sets deadlines for medical malpractice lawsuits. Talk to us about your spinal case today by calling us at (803) 256-4242.
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Post Office Box 1476
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Fax: (803) 256-1952
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