Patient disfigured after Illinois surgeon damages spinal cord

As we have mentioned in other posts on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, there are risks that are associated with any type of surgery. However, surgeons, nurses and hospitals also have a duty to minimize and prevent these risks by providing their patients with the quality care that they need and deserve.

When doctors are negligent during surgical operations, patients do not receive the care and attention they need, which increases patients’ risks of suffering temporary, disabling or fatal injuries.

A lawsuit was recently filed in Illinois against a surgeon who allegedly caused one of his patients to suffer a permanent and disfiguring injury after damaging the patient’s spinal cord. According to the lawsuit, the patient suffered the spinal cord injury in surgery because her doctor was negligent when operating on the patient.

When performing surgery on or near the spinal cord, doctors must be careful not to apply too much pressure to the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, arteries, bones and tissue. Too much pressure for even a short amount of time may cause permanent damage to patients. In severe incidents of medical malpractice, damage to the spinal cord during surgery may result in paralysis, paraplegia or quadriplegia.

Fortunately, the patient who is suing her doctor in Illinois was not paralyzed after her doctor damaged her spinal cord during surgery, but the patient claims that her doctor’s mistake has caused her to suffer a disfigurement now. The damage to the plaintiff’s spinal cord has caused her to develop Horner’s syndrome. This is a rare nerve disorder, and the disorder has caused the patient’s eyelid to droop.

This permanent injury has caused the patient to experience emotional distress, she has incurred costly medical expenses, and she has also lost wages as a result of her permanent injury. The patient is requesting to receive at least $100,000 to help her cover the damages of her surgeon’s mistake.

Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, “Surgeon accused of damaging spinal cord in St. Clair County suit,” Kelly Holleran, May 15, 2013

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