If you or a family member suffered catastrophic injury due to a doctor’s delayed diagnosis of a spinal epidural abscess, or failure to diagnose the condition, speak to the McEldrew Young Purtell team of medical malpractice lawyers at 1-800-590-4116.
About Spinal Epidural Abscess
A spinal epidural abscess is an accumulation of pus in the epidural space. Essentially, it is a bacterial infection in or near the spinal cord. If not treated, it can lead to traumatic back pain, neurological issues and death. It is usually diagnosed with the assistance of a MRI. If caught early, it is treated with antibiotics. In most cases of delayed treatment, surgical decompression is required immediately.
The diagnosis of the disease is easiest when a patient presents with fever, spine pain and neurologic deficits. However, only a small percentage of patients initially present with all three symptoms.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Spinal Epidural Abscess
Medical malpractice can be the basis of a lawsuit in Pennsylvania when a healthcare professional breaches the standard of care. The standard of care is what other similarly situated professionals would do for a similarly situated patient. As a result, the standard does not require a doctor to provide perfect treatment. Instead, they will be liable only for harms that result from failing to treat a patient as other doctors would in the circumstances.
The literature about the infection discusses four common stages. First, the patient has local back pain and possibly a fever. Second, the patient has radiating nerve root pain. Third, the patient experiences motor weakness and bladder/bowel dysfunction. Finally, the patient experiences paralysis.
Outcomes for patients with a spinal epidural abscess are best when a patient is diagnosed early and invasive surgery can be avoided. However, for many reasons, doctors may misdiagnose a patient at this stage.
For a medical malpractice lawsuit to be viable in cases of spinal epidural abscess, there needs to be a point in time where the majority of doctors would conclude that the patient has this condition and there is still time for the doctor to intervene and prevent the severe medical conditions that result from delayed treatment. If this window is not present in a case, it will be difficult to justify the expense of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
About McEldrew Young Purtell
Our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers will evaluate cases of failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis of spinal epidural abscess for the presence of a point in time where the doctor could have diagnosed the condition as well as prevented the severe consequences that resulted with treatment. To do so, our attorneys evaluate the medical records and consult with experts in the field to determine the standard of care under the unique circumstances of the case.
Jim McEldrew is a Past President of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association with thirty years of experience evaluating and prosecuting medical malpractice lawsuits. For a free initial consultation with Jim McEldrew or one of our other trial lawyers, please call 1-800-590-4116.