Chicago Paralysis Lawyer
You’ve been having pain in your back that’s starting to interfere with your daily life and your ability to do your job. At first you thought it might just be a muscle strain or something that would heal on its own, but it’s not getting any better. You decide to go see a doctor in the hopes something can be done to alleviate the pain. You’re told that you need back surgery for a herniated disc.
You agree to the surgery and prepare yourself for a painful procedure and a lot of time off your feet afterward — but you think it’ll be worth it if you can get back to normal afterward. You’ve already lost a lot of time at work because of your back and you’re worried about losing your job if you can’t resume your normal duties at some point. You’re resting a lot of hope on this surgery to fix the problem.
But when the day comes and you wake up from the procedure, instead of getting your back fixed you learn that the surgeon made a mistake and damaged your spinal cord. Now your legs are paralyzed. You’re feeling a whirlwind of emotions, and a good amount of disbelief that this has happened. You trusted the surgeon to help you, but instead you were made worse. There’s some possibility that additional surgeries might repair the damage, but there’s a chance you may never regain full use of your legs.
You definitely won’t be able to keep doing your job, and you’re going to have to make major adjustments to your life to cope with your inability to walk or drive. You’ll have to get a wheelchair, install a ramp at your home, remodel your bathroom, and get a new bed with rails so you can get in and out. You’ll probably need some in-home care. And all of that takes money that you don’t have.
When you become paralyzed through the negligence of a surgeon, physician, chiropractor, or another health care provider, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. You have to be able to establish that the medical provider was negligent, and that the negligence was the proximate cause of your harm. If you’re successful in doing that, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced Chicago personal injury attorney look at the unique circumstances of your case and discuss your options for pursuing a claim.
What is Paralysis?
When you suffer an injury or damage to your spine or your brain, the signals between your brain and your muscles can be interrupted or blocked. When the messages from your brain don’t reach your muscles, you lose the ability to move those muscles. That’s called paralysis.
Paralysis can affect part of your body or all of it. You can lose function just on one side of your body or on both, or just in one part of your body. How paralysis affects you depends upon the nature of the underlying injury or damage. Some forms of paralysis include:
- Quadriplegia — paralysis of your arms and legs
- Hemiplegia — paralysis of one side of the body
- Paraplegia — paralysis of both legs
- Facial Paralysis — paralysis of the muscles in the face
Paralysis can be caused by medical conditions or by trauma to the spine or brain. According to the National Institutes of Health, common causes of paralysis include:
- Spinal cord injury or broken neck
- Traumatic brain injury
- Degenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS
- Autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Bell’s palsy
Causes of Malpractice-Related Paralysis
Oftentimes paralysis may be related to an accident or a degenerative illness, but sometimes it may be the result of negligence by a medical provider. Some types of mistakes that might lead to paralysis include:
- Spinal or Back Surgery Errors — There are a number of ways that a back or spinal surgery could go wrong. Errors in medical records could lead to you getting the wrong operation or on the wrong part of your spine or back. The surgeon could operate on the wrong vertebrae, or make a mistake when placing hardware such as rods or screws. A mistake made with the spine can be catastrophic and result in paralysis.
- Chiropractic Errors — When a chiropractor makes a mistake while manipulating your neck or back, the consequences could include broken vertebrae, damage to the spinal column, or arterial damage that may result in a stroke. Spinal cord damage or stroke each can lead to paralysis.
- Failure to Diagnose or Treat a Medical Condition — If a physician or chiropractor fails to diagnose a medical condition that affects the spinal cord or the brain and the condition is allowed to progress without treatment, paralysis could be an eventual consequence. Likewise, failure to diagnose high blood pressure or other medical conditions that raise the risk for a paralysis-inducing stroke may be malpractice.
Effects of Paralysis
Even temporary paralysis is devastating for the person experiencing it. Permanent paralysis — whether partial or total — changes someone’s life forever. You’ll likely have to go through lengthy rehabilitation and physical therapy to attempt to regain any function you can. You may have to use a wheelchair and make modifications to your home to accommodate your disability, or live in a nursing home where you can get round-the-clock help with basic functions such as bathing or using the restroom.
You may be unable to work and have to rely on disability insurance payments or government assistance — which could mean a drastic change in your standard of living.
Medically, in addition to being unable to use the affected muscles or limbs, paralysis may lead to the following secondary effects:
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Chronic pain
- Life-threatening blood clots
- Respiratory issues
- Loss of sexual function
- Muscle spasms or stiffness
A Chicago Paralysis Lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Can Help
If you or someone you know has been affected by paralysis or quadriplegia as a result of a medical practitioner’s negligence, contact us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation with a Chicago personal injury attorney.