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Failure to Diagnose Scoliosis can Lead to a Permanent Deformity

Nov 27, 2015 | Failure to Diagnose

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition in which the person’s spine is curved, usually in the shape of an S or a C. It usually occurs in children around the age of puberty, but may often go undiagnosed as a result of medical malpractice.

Scoliosis usually occurs in three types:

  • Functional scoliosis
    • Occurs due to abnormalities in other parts of the body, such as a discrepancy in the length of the leg
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis
    • Occurs due to abnormal development of bones in the spine
  • Idiopathic scoliosis
    • Cause remains unknown

Symptoms of scoliosis can have various obvious symptoms that help physicians identify the condition:

  • Back pain
  • Curved spine
  • Off-center head
  • Uneven hips
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Diagnosis and Treatment

The condition is usually diagnosed at an early stage of its development, by making the child bend and touch his toes during a physical examination. If the spine is curved during this process, an x-ray can be done to identify and confirm scoliosis.

Scoliosis can occur at a mild level, moderate, or severely. Mild scoliosis can be corrected with just careful monitoring. A moderate scoliosis may require the child to be placed in a brace, whereas a surgery may be required to correct severe scoliosis.

The physician may choose the mode of treatment based on the skeletal maturity and age of the patient, along with the degree of curvature of the spine. Ongoing observation, bracing, and surgical correction may be undertaken in a methodical manner.

Bracing is the commonly recommended treatment; it usually does not correct the curvature, but often stops it from progressing further. If identified and treated at a moderate stage, surgery may not even be required. However, if the patient has reached skeletal maturation, surgery may be the most dependable option to correct scoliosis.

When scoliosis is left undiagnosed and untreated, it may lead to permanent deformity, back pain and early arthritis for the patient. The misalignment in the spine may contribute to posture issues, pain in the shoulders, back, neck, and hips. It can also create breathing difficulties by constricting the lungs.

Correcting scoliosis with surgery does have a high success rate. However, surgery may involve a series of risks that must be made transparent to the patient, before performing one. Risk factors include:

· Disc degeneration

· Failed fusion

· Loss of height

· Nerve damage or other nerve injuries

· Spinal fusion disease

· Uneven shoulders or back

· Corrosion of hardware or rods

· Flat-disc syndrome

· Need for additional surgeries

Pursue Legal Action with Our Wholehearted Support

Our New York City medical malpractice attorneys have won cases of medical malpractice by failure to diagnose scoliosis and other conditions. Get in touch with Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff (RMFW) today if you or a loved one has suffered due to medical negligence. You can reach us using this number: 212 697 9280.

RMFW have law offices situated in Astoria, Queens, New York City, and two offices in Brooklyn. We understand your agony and anguish, and can help you pursue the best possible compensation for your losses. Call 212 697 9280 to schedule a free consultation. We are not paid until you are paid. We do not quit or settle until you give us the go ahead. If you have a genuine case, we will carry this legal torch for you.