Spinal surgical errors

12 November 2021

For some people, one of the most effective treatments for chronic and often debilitating pain is spinal surgery.

For example, it can treat low back pain − a condition that nearly everyone experiences during their lives. Surgery can help reduce long-term pain in your arms or legs too. But surgical errors that can occur during an operation on the spine can also have a life-changing impact.

Our expert medical negligence solicitors have substantial experience of handling spinal surgical error cases. And we’re here to help you if a spinal operation leaves you – or a loved one – with long-term problems. From permanent damage to the spinal nerves to problems with bowel and bladder control or even paralysis, you could be able to claim compensation for surgical errors.

What are the different types of spinal surgery?

‘Spinal surgery’ is the term for a number of different procedures that may be performed on the spine. It’s often a last resort, however. In most cases, non-surgical treatments are first used to relieve any pain caused by pressure on the nerves in the spine. It can be an option if you suffer from other spinal problems such as weakness or deformity too.

Some of the common types of spinal surgery include:

  • Spinal fusion: Two (or more) of your vertebrae are joined together using bone grafts, screws and rods to help make your spine stronger and/or more stable.
  • Laminectomy: This is a form of lumbar decompression surgery (a type of surgery used to treat compressed nerves in the lower (lumbar) spine. A section of bone is removed from one of your vertebrae to relieve pressure on the affected nerve.
  • Discectomy: The removal of a burst, torn or ‘slipped’ disc between two vertebrae that puts pressure on a nerve and causes pain in the leg, bottom or feet. A slipped disc is when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out.
  • Vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty: If one of the vertebrae is fractured and collapses, a glue-like bone cement can be injected to relieve pressure on the spine. The difference between the two is in the former the cement mixture is injected into the fractured bone, whereas in the latter, a balloon is inserted into the fractured bone to create a space and then fill it with the cement mixture.

Spinal surgical errors: How do they happen?

Like all spinal injury claims for medical negligence, surgical errors are rare and – in most cases – you can expect to receive high quality care during an operation on your spine. Sadly, mistakes do happen.

It could be an honest accident by the surgeon who performed your operation. Or there could be other factors involved – such as a mistake caused by a professional who hasn’t taken the right precautions or who doesn’t have the proper qualifications and/or experience to carry out the procedure.

One example of negligent spinal surgery is where an underlying original problem isn’t dealt with properly, including the failure to remove a slipped disc where it is pressing down on the nerves as they leave the spine. If this error isn’t diagnosed until after the operation, it would mean you have to undergo an unnecessary second procedure. And this can increase your risk of injury.

In any spinal operation, there are risks. But avoidable injuries can also occur when major blood vessels or the nerves themselves are cut. This can result from the wrong surgical approach or a failure to protect those vessels or nerves. If you or a loved one experience any of these surgical errors, you may be able to claim compensation – call 0808 303 1316 or contact us today to see how we can help.

Can spinal surgical errors cause infection?

Infection is an ever-present risk in hospitals – despite all the efforts to prevent it. If your spine gets infected, it can be really dangerous. Any swelling can put pressure on the nerves or blood vessels, which – in turn – could lead to permanent nerve damage.

An infection can also scar your spine and cause long-term problems such as loss of mobility or sexual dysfunction. If you suffer a spinal infection and a surgical error is the cause, you might have a case. And our team of specialist solicitors have the skills and expertise to help if you do.

Can I make a spinal surgical error compensation claim?

No one should come out of an operation with further problems that require long-term – or even lifelong – care and treatment. If you or a loved one are now coming to terms with the impact of a surgical error caused by medical malpractice, you may have a claim for compensation.

In any operation on the spine, surgical errors can take many different forms. And such mistakes or negligent treatment can often have a serious, debilitating and lasting impact. If you think this is what happened to you or a loved one, it’s essential to get proper support from legal experts.

At Shoosmiths, our dedicated medical negligence solicitors can help when you believe you might have a spinal surgical error claim. Using our years of experience, we can tell you if you do – and what your options are. For a free initial consultation, call 0808 303 1316 or contact us now.

How can a spinal surgical error affect me or a loved one?

The impact of a spinal surgical error can be traumatic, upsetting and debilitating. It doesn’t just affect the individual themselves; friends and family members also feel the impact – not least if it means a person needs ongoing care for the rest of their life. 

As the aim of an operation on your spine is to help relieve existing pain and improve your quality of life, when things go wrong it can have a much more negative impact. Not only has the operation failed to make things better. It has, in fact, made things worse. 

For some people the impact can mean learning to live with new or additional long-term pain in the back, neck, limbs, fingers or toes. Spinal surgical errors can also cause permanent damage to either the spinal cord or nerves. In turn, this can lead to loss of bladder control or paralysis.

As well as the physical impact, there is also an emotional one, and feelings of anger, frustration or distress are not uncommon. 

How can Shoosmiths help?

At Shoosmiths, our aim is to help you get the answers, advice and support you need. At a time when you might not know where to turn, our friendly experts are here to help.

If you or a loved one are left feeling the physical and emotional effects of a spinal surgical error, we can work towards securing the compensation you need. From the moment you first come to us for a free initial consultation, we’ll make sure that you know exactly where you stand.

We want to make it possible for you to claim surgical error compensation. Using our skills and experience, we’ll do all we can to make sure your pain and suffering is recognised.

In addition, we also have close relationships with leading organisations, such as the Spinal Injury Association. It means we can put you and your family on the right path when it comes to getting the specialist care and treatment that you might need after a spinal surgical error.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, why not talk to us about your experience for free and in confidence. Call 0808 303 1316 or contact us now to start the conversation.

Why should I make a claim?

We know the idea of making a claim for surgical error compensation can seem daunting. But it needn’t be. And there are some compelling reasons to start a claim if you believe that an error during a spinal operation has caused you avoidable pain and suffering.

One important aim of any surgical error compensation claim is to put you in touch with the best possible care, rehabilitation and treatment options. At Shoosmiths, we help make this happen – and do what we can to make sure you have all the tools needed to live as full a life as possible.

Spinal surgical errors: What do I need to prove?

Like all medical negligence claims, a successful spinal surgical error case must be able to prove that, on the balance of probabilities, the care and treatment received was negligent and caused you harm. It must be clear that your care was not up to standard, that your pain is the direct result of the surgical error, and that you’ve suffered financial loss too.

The impact, for example, could mean you’re now unable to work.

Our expert solicitors can help you build a strong case and get all the proof you need. As part of the process, we’ll collect statements and other evidence to help make sure your claim succeeds.

How much compensation could I receive for a surgical error?

There’s no set amount of compensation that you could receive for a spinal surgical error. Every claim is decided on its own merits – so it’s unique to you and your family. Any amount that you do receive will be made up of general, and special damages.

General damages reflect the type – and severity – of your injury.

Special damages, however, will be completely tailored to you and your circumstances. So, this could be shaped by factors such as ongoing care needs, lost earnings or special equipment.

What should I do next?

If you think you have a spinal surgical error case, the first thing to do is contact us. As a “well-regarded clinical negligence practice with a strong reputation for handling an array of complex cases”, our legal experience can help you find out if you can make a successful claim.

It all starts with a free consultation. From there, we’ll let you know your options – including if our specialist solicitors can take your case on a no win no fee basis. Don’t let a spinal surgical error stop you from living a long and happy life – phone 0808 303 1316 or contact us today.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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