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Surgical error associated with durotomy may be malpractice

An incision in the membrane surrounding the spinal cord could lead to problems for patients. Durotomy, as the incision is known, could arise from a surgical error and may result in cerebral spinal fluid leakage if not quickly resolved. Rhode Island residents may be interested to learn more about the study of 48 durotomy cases performed by researchers, which gives more details about the problem and the malpractice cases that followed.

Researchers reviewed the three largest legal databases and identified the 48 cases related to durotomy issues. They found that a delayed diagnosis of durotomy and improper durotomy repair led to an increased risk of litigation and surgeon liability. In 56.3 percent of the cases, the court ruled in favor of the defendant surgeon, but patients received settlements in the remaining number of cases. 

Of the 48 cases, 56.3 percent of the patients needed additional surgery. In over 40 percent of the cases, the patient suffered a delay in the diagnosis of the issue. Over 20 percent of the cases alleged an improper repair. If the patient experienced a delay in treatment, or a defect in the repair, he or she was more likely to win the malpractice case. 

An accidental incision that leads to the leakage of spinal fluid is considered a surgical error. A patient is protected legally if the error was a result of a surgeon's departure from the usual standard of care. In the event of a questionable durotomy in Rhode Island, a person may wish to consult with an experienced attorney for an evaluation of the case.

Source:, "Study investigates durotomy-associated medical malpractice cases", Monica Jaramillo, Dec. 19, 2017

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