Incidental durotomy is a condition where small tears or punctures develop on the outer membrane of the spinal cord, and it is often caused indirectly by spinal surgery. When it is quickly recognized and treated, it will not affect the patient's long-term health. However, when it is not recognized, or when a treatment to repair it fails, surgeons may face lawsuits. North Carolina surgical patients may be interested in a published study that revealed the criteria that durotomy cases tend to be judged by.
The study covered a group of 48 malpractice cases involving dural tears. The plaintiffs were split evenly between males and females, were 55 years old on average, and differed from each other in the severity of their injuries. The authors found that more than half of the rulings were in favor of the surgeons accused of malpractice. Eighty percent of those victims who suffered from no serious neurological conditions like brain damage did not receive a settlement.
The 21 plaintiffs who won their case reported more serious injuries, made allegations that the diagnosis and treatment of durotomy was delayed, and/or claimed that a second surgery to repair the tears had failed. These factors, it is clear, will more often than not lead to a successful malpractice ruling.
Durotomy can sometimes cause death. In such cases, the family of the victim can consult with an attorney about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. It will have to be determined that the death was the result of an error on the part of the surgeon that constituted a failure to provide the requisite standard of care before, during and after the procedure.