x-ray of hurt backGeraldo Rivera, a TV personality known for his appearances on Fox News, is seeking a settlement for errors made during his back surgery. The personality, now 72 years old, is suing the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for the botched procedure, which happened in 2010.

Following his back surgery, Rivera suffered from a crippled right foot. The TV personality complains that he can no longer jog, play sports, or ski – activities he regularly did before his surgery. Now he can’t keep up with his 10 year old daughter.

The hospital is defending themselves, stating that Rivera injured himself by kicking a refrigerator door in his rehabilitation room after the surgery. The lawsuit is still underway, but Rivera hopes that the hospital will settle. He states he will donate 100% of the settlement to charity if he is successful.

An Issue of Proving Liability

When a surgical error occurs, a patient must prove that the surgeon is liable for the damage sustained – on top of proving the fact that an error actually did occur. All surgeries carry some risk, and there is no such thing as a “minor” surgery; however, a patient should never encounter unnecessary nerve damage or debilitating injuries post-surgery.

There are two surgical mistakes that can cause nerve damage:

  1. Surgeon error
  2. Anesthesiologist error

When the Surgeon Performs an Error

Surgeons are often operating in close proximity to a person’s nerves. Accidentally making contact with a nerve could result in significant damage, possibly leaving a patient with crippling, long-term effects. These injuries can occur from a surgeon’s instrument, inflammation, or accidental severing of the nerve itself.

When the Administration of Anesthesia Causes Nerve Damage

There are three types of anesthesia used in surgery: local, regional, and general. Any one of these three types of anesthesia can cause nerve damage.

  • Local – A surgeon must use the syringe carefully to administer local anesthesia and ensure they do not make direct contact with a nerve. Direct contact can lead to temporary or permanent damage.
  • Regional – Surgeons may inject anesthesia into the spinal column, which contains a dense concentration of nerves. If an anesthesiologist or surgeon strikes this cluster of nerves while injecting anesthesia, debilitating nerve damage may be the result.
  • General – General anesthesia can also be dangerous and can inhibit a person’s ability to control their body. If a patient is in a position that can pinch a nerve and they are put under by general anesthesia, they could suffer significant damage.

Proving Negligence – Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC

Proving negligence and establishing liability requires the patient to prove that there was a relationship, that the physician acted negligently, and that there was harm. A medical malpractice attorney can help establish these three key elements for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you were injured because of an error made during surgery, contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC online or call 866-479-7909 to schedule a consultation.