The American Academy of Neurology has released guidelines that recommend monitoring during spinal surgery and certain chest surgeries to protect the spinal cord and lessen the danger of paralysis.
Spinal cord monitoring or watching evoked potentials during surgery can lessen the chance of a spinal cord injury, nerve damage, paralysis, paraplegia or quadriplegia in a patient. Studies have shown strong evidence that changes in evoked potentials were a sign of an increased risk for severe neurological damage. Patients who did not have any changes in their evoked potentials did not have any nerve or neurological problems.
Continuous monitoring of the spinal cord during surgery can alert the surgeon if a retractor or other surgical instrument is pressing on a nerve or if the blood pressure is to low and not enough blood and oxygen is getting to the spinal column. The sooner the problem is fixed, the less damage there will be to the nerves. The best way to treat paralysis is to prevent it.
Here at the Philadelphia Beasley surgical error law firm our experienced medical and legal spinal cord injury teams have reviewed hundreds of cases where there were changes in the evoked potentials that went unaddressed or untreated and patients wound up with paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, neurogenic bladders, incontinence, an inability to walk, an inability to breath or other nerve problems. We have also reviewed cases where evoked potentials monitoring was not performed and patients woke up after surgery paralyzed. If you or a loved one suffered from a spinal cord injury during surgery please feel free to contact one of our specialized lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.