Medical Malpractice: The Risks of Spinal Anesthesia October 6, 2023.
Spinal anesthesia is a staple of modern medicine. It is used in surgeries and many other procedures to reduce or eliminate the pain associated with medical treatments.
However, just because a medical procedure is commonplace doesn’t always mean it is safe, especially if a doctor makes a mistake while performing it. Spinal cord anesthesia is one such example of a procedure where even a small error can cause serious long-term effects.
If you or a loved one is a victim of an anesthesia error involving spinal anesthesia, you may be eligible for compensation for the harm you suffered. This is what you should know about the procedure and your legal options.
What Is the Purpose of Spinal Anesthesia?
Spinal anesthesia, also known as lumbar anesthesia, is similar to other types of anesthesia. It is used to numb the nerves in the spine during a procedure where you would otherwise feel pain in that portion of your body. The process has several adverse effects if done incorrectly, which is why it is usually reserved for major surgery.
Potential Complications and Adverse Effects of Spinal Anesthesia
When spinal anesthesia is administered, a hollow needle is inserted into the cerebral spinal fluid just in front of the spine near the mid or lower back. This numbs the area above and below the site of the injection.
While this is a critical procedure during certain types of major surgery, it also can come with a lot of potential complications, especially if the needle is misplaced. Some of the potential adverse effects of spinal anesthesia are:
- Infection if a doctor doesn’t maintain appropriate sterility at the injection site
- Nerve damage if the needle is improperly placed
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal injury, including paralysis
- Allergic reaction to the anesthesia
- Breathing or circulatory problems, including heart attack
While many of these complications result from a misplaced needle, they can also result from using the anesthesia for too long or too short a time or from administering anesthesia that interacts with other drugs the patient is taking.
Legal Claims for Spinal Anesthesia Errors
If you have been harmed by spinal anesthesia, what are your options? As a victim of medical malpractice, you can file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, hospital, or anesthesiologist who performed the procedure.
The first step to making a medical malpractice claim is consulting with a medical mistake lawyer. They will investigate your case and determine whether your injuries were the result of negligence or just bad luck.
If a medical professional was negligent, you can file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for all current and future medical costs resulting from the medical mistake. You can also get compensation for lost wages and for the pain and suffering you endure.
Since the side effects of spinal anesthesia errors include complications like lifetime paralysis, the compensation for this type of medical malpractice suit can be quite large.
If you suspect you were harmed, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately. They will help you get in touch with an appropriate doctor and start working on your case as soon as possible.
Does Ohio Have a Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims?
Yes. The Ohio statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is one year. This means, under normal situations, you must file a medical malpractice claim within a year of suffering an injury due to medical malpractice.
Additionally, Ohio also has a four-year statute of repose. This means that even if circumstances allow you to extend the deadline to file a lawsuit, that extension can never go beyond four years from the date of the injury.
I Lost My Baby Because I Received Spinal Anesthesia. Can I Sue the Doctor?
That depends on two things. First, did the doctor ask whether you were pregnant? Second, did you tell the doctor that you were pregnant or might be pregnant after they asked?
You aren’t expected to know all the dangers involved with every medical procedure, but the doctor is. They should be aware that spinal anesthesia could be dangerous to a fetus and ask about your pregnancy status before doing the procedure. A doctor who didn’t notify you of the risk is liable for the loss of your child.
Will My Medical Malpractice Case Go to Trial?
Probably not. The majority of medical malpractice cases are resolved via a settlement during the pretrial discovery phase of a lawsuit.
Typically, your medical malpractice lawyer presents all of the evidence they have to the insurance company of the doctor. The insurance company examines the evidence, and if its lawyers think that you have a good chance of winning the case at trial, it will offer a settlement rather than risk a larger jury award.
How Much Money Will I Get From a Medical Malpractice Case?
That depends almost entirely on the long-term side effects of your injury. If your injury caused you to miss a few months of work and required about a year of medical treatments, you will probably get as much as $100,000. However, if it involves a lifetime of therapy and pain, you could easily win well over $1 million in damages.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney at Mellino Law
What should you do if you or a loved one has been seriously harmed by medical malpractice involving spinal anesthesia? The first thing you should do is contact an experienced Ohio medical malpractice lawyer at Mellino Law as soon as possible.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.