After an accident that causes injuries to the extent that a surgical intervention is the only option available to the victim that could bring about recovery, life gets put on hold. Lost wages, job loss, and isolation from family and friends post-accident are all common occurrences. Thus, after most injuries a victim should be able to return to daily life after a short healing period.
However, when the injuries sustained in an accident are catastrophic in nature such as TBI, spinal cord injury, broken vertebrae or herniated disks that require surgery to restore quality of life to any extent, the amount of compensation must be the maximum allowed under the laws of the state in which the accident occurred.
Without proper compensation, a victim cannot be expected to resume their life without undo hardship caused by the financial losses suffered after extended inability to work. In Part 1 of our new Shaked Surgical Series we’ll present our readers with the information they need to know if they, or a loved one, becomes or was already injured in an accident resulting in spinal cord trauma, broken vertebrae, or herniated disks that require surgical intervention. This is information our readers will not want to miss.
In Why Are Herniated Disks A Cause For Concern? We approached the topic of herniated disks from a clinical perspective, providing oft-overlooked symptoms of a serious medical problem that experienced lawyers can quickly recognize in their clients and get them medical attention as quickly as possible.
To refresh, the symptoms of a herniated disk that may require surgery can include but are not limited to:
- Pain in the extremities: if a victim has herniated a disk in his or her lower back (lumbar region) they may typically feel intense, burning pain in the buttocks, calf, thigh, or all three of these areas. In the most extreme cases, the feet and toes may become involved as well. However, if a victim has herniated a disk in their neck (cervical region), they’ll most likely suffer pain in their shoulders and arms. This pain can be described as “shooting pain” and can lessen or worsen depending on the position (sitting or standing).
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in hands, fingers, toes or feet: this is a common symptom of a herniated disk; numbness or tingling in the affected extremities can be uncomfortable, and is caused by impingement or inflammation of the affected nerves. Inflamed nerves can also lead to severe pain and complications, namely CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). See the next section of this article for further information on what’s been grimly nicknamed “The Suicide Disease”.
- Muscle weakness: nerves provide strength to muscles, and therefore when they become inflamed by a herniated disk injury, you may suffer muscle weakness and atrophy (deterioration of muscle). Those affected by muscle weakness due to a herniated disk may be at-risk for falling and must take care when using stairs or attempting to stand up, or perform other tasks such as getting in or out of the bathtub.
Surgical intervention for herniated disks can lead to a longer, more complicated recovery period for the victim; this means more time out of work and unable to adequately provide for a family while medical expenses continue to pile up. Any type of surgery prolongs recovery, though back surgeries typically have a track record for the longest recovery periods and thusly victims must be compensated accordingly.
Post operative physical therapy is usually required, and can be quite painful in the early stages after extensive surgery. If a disk need be removed as it has degenerated or could not be saved after an accident, the risk of spinal cord injury during surgery increases greatly.
CRPS impedes healing, life
CRPS has been too frequently diagnosed in victims who underwent herniated disk or other back, neck, or spine repair, only to wake up post-op injured due to the surgeon’s lack of experience with the neck, spine, and spinal cord nerves. This type of surgical injury, where the “accident” itself is due to a negligent doctor, could be considered medical malpractice.
It’s important to seek legal advice as quickly as possible after experiencing unusual or extremely painful complications after surgery. Surgery under normal circumstances is intended to be curative (repairing a herniated disk and allowing the patient to return to daily life), provide adequate pain relief (spinal cord stimulators), not achieved through more conservative methods of treatment, or both.
In Part 2 of the Shaked Surgical Series we’ll begin to look at the necessity of spinal cord stimulators for patients who find themselves in extreme pain after an accident. This pain and suffering has become so unbearable, the victim must undergo spinal cord surgery in order to relieve even a fraction of their suffering. We’ll also look at various injuries that can affect the spine post-accident, and what treatment options become available to victims after they’re properly compensated.
Disclaimer: Any symptoms you experience should always be discussed with a licensed medical professional, and one should never rely on articles found via the internet when making important medical decisions. This article is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.