A 2001 case in Florida tragically illustrates the ease by which a mistake with a medication can result in severely adverse consequences. A patient in his late 70s entered a hospital with stomach pains. The doctor prescribed a common antacid, but a nurse accidentally administered a different drug that induces paralysis. The patient died within 24 hours.
Paralysis from a medical mistake can involve loss of a small function, affecting how a finger moves or loss of sensation in one area of the body. But it can also lead to quadriplegia, profoundly affecting the patient. We most often associate paralyzing injuries with traumatic accidents and some illnesses (such as a brain tumor), but there are cases where a medical mistake – malpractice – was at fault.
How paralysis from medical mistakes can happen
In the Florida example, the individual who was found responsible for the error was a nurse who allegedly misread or negligently failed to read a label.
Other types of medical errors leading to paralysis are:
- Improperly administered anesthesia
- Misdiagnosis of a stroke
- Surgical errors that damage the spinal cord
Sometimes, paralysis can be caused when emergency medical personnel fail to immobilize trauma patients on the scene of an accident or while transporting the patient to a hospital.
With a medical malpractice attorney working on your behalf, you can receive fair compensation for injuries — or the wrongful death of a loved one — caused through the negligent actions of a healthcare provider.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.