Residents of New Jersey who undergo spinal surgery should know about durotomy. Dural tears are tears made in the outer membrane of the spine, and they are sometimes an unintended consequence of surgery. They do not lead to serious injuries if they are discovered and repaired right away; however, they can also generate claims of medical malpractice when they go undetected.
A study published in the medical journal “Spine” has analyzed the medical malpractice claims of 24 males and 24 females, averaging 55 years of age, who suffered from durotomy. Researchers noted how the allegations ranged from the need for additional surgery to delayed diagnoses to the reopening of dural tears after the second operation. They also noted how the injuries ranged from physical weakness (in 80 percent of the cases) to serious conditions like brain damage and even death.
All 48 claims were resolved by verdict or settlement, with the verdicts of 27 favoring the surgeon. 80 percent of those victims who did not receive a settlement had only minor, non-neurological conditions. The remaining 21 received settlements averaging about $2.8 million (when adjusted for inflation to 2016), with the majority claiming that their doctor either failed to diagnose durotomy quickly enough or failed to repair it. It’s clear, then, that serious injuries and delayed action are more likely to end in verdicts supporting the victim.
This is important to remember whenever someone wishes to file a medical malpractice claim. Also, it’s a good idea for the victim of a doctor error to get legal representation. A lawyer can request an inquiry with the local medical board and even hire investigators to build up the case. The potential settlement can be high, so the victim should leave all negotiations to the firm. If successful, the victim could be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and future lost income for permanent disabilities.