Spinal abscess injury claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

A spinal abscess is an infection of the tissues that surround the spinal cord, characterised by the build up of a pus-filled sac. The condition is caused by bacteria entering the spine, usually after a back injury or trauma.

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Spinal abscesses may also develop as a complication of medical procedures such as epidural anaesthesia or catheterisation of the spine.

Since antibiotics have been routinely used during medical procedures, spinal abscesses have become extremely rare. When they do occur, however, these abscess can have very serious consequences. Any delay in detecting and treating a spinal abscess is capable of causing permanent paralysis and damage to the spinal cord.

Anyone who has suffered a spinal abscess after receiving substandard medical treatment, or experienced a delay in diagnosis or treatment of an abscess may be eligible to make a medical negligence claims.

Doctor discharging patient

Do I have a claim for a spinal abscess?

If you have suffered a spinal abscess in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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Spinal abscess symptoms

A spinal abscess injury may initially present no symptoms. As the abscess grows, the patient may begin to experience the following:

  • Fever
  • Numbness and tingling in a localised area of the skin
  • Pain in the back which radiates to the hips, legs and arms
  • Rapid progressive weakness or paralysis
  • Impotence
  • Urinary or bowel incontinence

Because the initial symptoms are vague and may indicate many diseases, doctors will try to detect the presence of an infection with a blood test. Medical staff may also look at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the spinal cord or test a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. Fluid is extracted from the spine using a procedure known as a lumbar puncture.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the recommended treatment is to drain the abscess and flush out the bacteria using a saline fluid. The patient is usually given intravenous antibiotics to prevent further infection.

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Making a claim for a spinal abscess injury

Early diagnosis is critical to the chances of a patient making a full recovery from a spinal abscess injury. Left untreated, the abscess could burst allowing millions of bacteria to spread throughout the body. An enlarged abscess could also compress the spinal cord leading to neurological conditions such as paralysis, incontinence and nerve loss. In some cases, a spinal abscess can be life-threatening.

Medical staff owe a duty of care to provide treatment in a professional and timely manner. A claim may arise whenever this duty is breached and the patient suffers injury as a result. Examples include:

  • A delay in diagnosing the spinal abscess
  • Failure to treat the spinal abscess as an emergency case
  • Incomplete draining of a spinal abscess resulting in further infection, spinal compression or scarring
  • Surgical error during a spinal epidural, lumbar puncture or catheterisation procedure
  • Errors in the delivery of post-operative care.

This list is not exhaustive. A claim may be made whenever it can be shown that the medical practitioner behaved in a manner which dropped below reasonably expected standards. The arguments will often be highly technical, revolving around the details of extensive medical reports.

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How to make a No Win No Fee spinal abscess claim with Quittance

A no win no fee contract (more correctly referred to as a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between a claimant and a PI solicitor.

The no win no fee agreement is essentially the terms under which the solicitor is instructed by the claimant.

The contract sets out what the solicitors will do as well as how they is rewarded if the claim is ultimately successful.

If you use our solicitors for your spinal abscess claim there are absolutely no hidden charges , no up-front fees and the comfort that you will never be financially out of pocket.

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Calculate my spinal abscess compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the team

The nationwide panel of Quittance solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of medical negligence claim, from fast track cases to life-changing injuries. Our lawyers are selected on the basis of their track record in winning claims and their level of specialist experience.

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Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Carol Cook Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Lee Raynor Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.

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