Spinal Epidural Abscess

Maine Medical Malpractice Lawyers Handling Spinal Epidural Abscess Injuries

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Spinal Epidural Abscess Injuries

Permanent injury, disability, paralysis, and death: these are potential outcomes of an undiagnosed and untreated spinal epidural abscess. This severe and debilitating infection, while relatively rare, requires early detection and prompt management to avoid catastrophic and life-changing damage.

Unfortunately, many patients with common symptoms of the condition fail to receive a correct diagnosis from their physician or get diagnosed only after the infection has progressed past the point where treatment can spare them from the worst consequences. Such failures to detect, diagnose, and treat a spinal epidural abscess – or to allow one to develop after a surgical procedure on the spine – can form the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Maine’s Leading Malpractice Lawyers for Spinal Epidural Abscess Injuries

At Berman & Simmons, Maine’s premier medical malpractice law firm, we work with individuals and families who have suffered unfathomable injury, pain, and loss due to the negligence of physicians and other health care providers who fail to diagnose and treat a spinal epidural abscess properly. Our record of success in medical malpractice cases stands head and shoulders above any law firm in New England, with over $1.45 billion in compensation obtained for our clients.

What Is a Spinal Epidural Abscess?

An abscess is a pocket of bacteria or fungus – pus – that can develop in the body’s tissues, usually due to an underlying infection. A spinal epidural abscess occurs within the spine and can result from other infections elsewhere in the body, particularly urinary tract infections. A spinal epidural abscess can also develop after back surgery if health care providers do not adequately monitor the patient for infection. 

The dangers of a spinal epidural abscess are due to the infected area’s compression of the spinal cord and spinal roots, as well as its interference with arterial blood supply, all of which can cause motor dysfunction and, ultimately, paralysis and death.

What Are the Signs of a Spinal Epidural Abscess?

Back pain, which can radiate outwards from the abscess site, is the most common symptom of a spinal epidural abscess and most often leads a patient to seek professional evaluation and treatment. Other signs that a patient may have an abscess include:

  • Fever caused by fighting the infection.
  • Chills.
  • Incontinence.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Difficulty walking.

Risk Factors for Spinal Epidural Abscess

The risk of developing a spinal epidural abscess is higher for individuals who have or had:

  • Recent back surgery or an invasive procedure involving the spine.
  • An infection in the blood.
  • A boil, especially on the back or scalp.
  • Bone infections of the spine (vertebral osteomyelitis).
  • Immunodeficiency.
  • Spinal trauma.

Spinal Epidural Abscess Injuries and Medical Malpractice

As one scientific study of spinal epidural abscesses noted, “The most important prognostic factor for a favorable outcome is early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.” Often, however, physicians who evaluate a patient with signs of a spinal abscess such as back pain and fever fail to consider the condition or do not order the appropriate laboratory screens or critical diagnostic tests like an MRI and blood cultures, which could confirm the presence of an abscess. Even though a spinal epidural abscess is a medical emergency, to save money, tragically, some hospitals do not perform MRIs at every spinal level – taking a stage approach – which can delay diagnosis hours or even days. 

When found early, most spinal epidural abscesses can be effectively treated with antibiotics, though some may require surgery. However, failing to diagnose a spinal epidural abscess can allow the infection to progress to the point where effective treatment is no longer possible, and permanent injury or death are likely outcomes. This negligent failure to diagnose the condition can be an act of medical malpractice that could lead to the recovery of damages. 

In addition to missed and delayed diagnoses, the failure to monitor a patient for signs of infection after back surgery – and after outpatient procedures, in particular – may constitute medical negligence. 

Damages Recoverable for Spinal Epidural Injuries Caused by Medical Negligence

As noted, an untreated spinal epidural abscess can cause life-altering, permanent injuries and is often fatal. The practical, economic, emotional, and psychological challenges that follow can overwhelm victims and their families. Permanent paralysis and disability mean life will never be the same, and the loss of a loved one leaves families struggling to move forward and searching for answers about how such a tragedy occurred.

Damages recoverable for spinal abscess injuries or death caused by medical negligence include:  

  • Past and future medical expenses.
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning potential.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of companionship.
  • Loss of quality of life.
  • The costs of ongoing rehabilitation, therapy, medical equipment, or modifications to the home necessitated by the injury.

How Berman & Simmons Can Help

Medicine is complicated. So is the law. Determining whether an act of medical malpractice occurred and obtaining compensation for injuries requires an in-depth understanding of both. At Berman & Simmons, our attorneys combine their legal talents with extensive medical knowledge and work closely with the world’s leading and most highly credentialed medical experts to get our clients the maximum amount of compensation available. 

We understand the struggles that victims of medical malpractice face, including those who suffer preventable spinal epidural abscess injuries. When you speak with us at your free initial consultation, we will carefully and patiently listen to your story as part of our comprehensive effort to understand what happened. We will then bring our extensive experience and unmatched resources on your behalf, developing solutions that can make your life better, including obtaining payment for or deferral of your debts until we resolve your case.

Please contact Berman & Simmons today at 866-664-2403 to arrange your free consultation. You pay nothing unless we obtain compensation for you by settlement or jury verdict. Our Maine medical malpractice lawyers are ready to help you through this difficult time so you can recover and rebuild your life.


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