Epidural Steroid Injection: Demonstrating Its Pros and Cons

Epidural steroid injection is a pain management procedure that can cause harm if administered carelessly. Medical malpractice animation can come in handy here.
Epidural Steroid Injection
Photo by Irwan iwe on Unsplash

Medical researchers are trying, every day, to discover more invasive treatment methods that would not involve cutting open the body to perform some procedures. This is the case with the use of epidural steroid injection. 

Nevertheless, the widespread use of this drug was not enough to convince the Food and Drug Administration about its safety. In fact, this regulatory safety body has refused to approve the use of this injection. This is due to the potential risks associated with its use. 

The risks often make people wonder if the risks are worth the benefits. Studies have shown the safety of this procedure in patients with a lack of adverse risks. However, the FDA issued a warning concerning this drug that is celebrated as the best approach for specific medical conditions.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, there is a risk of severe adverse effects associated with epidural steroid injections. This includes death, spinal cord infarction, paraplegia, quadriplegia, cortical blindness, stroke, seizures, nerve injury, and brain edema. 

It gleaned this position from a review of some cases in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) and medical literature.

What is Epidural Steroid Injection(ESI)? 

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure. It helps relieves pain in individuals suffering from irritated spinal nerves in the neck, arms, back, and legs. It works by flushing out the proteins that induce inflammation after being injected into the epidural region of the spine. 

This sensitive region is sandwiched between the dura mater and the bony vertebra. The duration of ESI relief might range from a few days to many years, giving your spinal condition time to recover with physical therapy. 

Epidural steroid injections are commonly prescribed for patients who experience severe radiating neck pain that travels down their arms or who experience severe back pain that travels down their legs. These pains are usually from a herniated disc, joint tumors, and spinal canal narrowing (stenosis).

Assume a medical practitioner prescribed and treated you with this invasive procedure negligently. In that case, you can use medical animation to showcase the cause of the injury and the resultant effect on your body in court. 

Epidural Steroid Injection
Epidural Steroid Injection

Medical Malpractice Arising From Epidural Steroid Injection Treatment

Like any medical operation or treatment, there are instances where an epidural steroid injection is given carelessly. No one receiving treatment for severe pain should suffer from the mental and physical harm connected to this type of medical misconduct, whether the doctor neglected to take the patient’s medical history into account or the injection was administered wrongly.

Most of the time, the error in treatment is associated with the accidental puncture of the dural sac.

The spinal cord is protected by a thin sheath known as the dural sac, sometimes known as the thecal sac. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)  is contained within the dura. A dural sac puncture might happen if the physician administering the epidural steroid injection doesn’t position the needle correctly. 

A dural sac puncture causes spinal fluid to escape. Given that the brain is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, this is significant. When you cause a CSF leak in the thecal sac, the fluid that supports the brain may be drained away, leaving the brain resting on the bone. 

If not appropriately managed, this can cause excruciating headaches and possibly result in dangerous conditions.

Case References

A case in point where the epidural space was missed and the dural space was injected is the medical malpractice case of Mr. Henry So. He had been involved in a car accident and experienced pain in his neck caused by stenosis. The defendant prescribed treatment with an epidural steroid injection. 

He woke up after the injection experiencing severe pain in his abdomen and legs, loss of sensation in his legs, and difficulty breathing. A test later discovered that the injection was injected directly into his spine. Mr. So’s spinal cord became damaged, and he also suffered permanent neurological deficits. 

Similarly, the physician’s error also led to severe damage in the $600,000 paralysis injury settlement for a woman on whom a pain management epidural treatment was performed. The plaintiff, in this case, was diagnosed with sacroiliac joint dysfunction and ischial bursitis. 

In treating the pain resulting from these diagnoses, the physician prescribed an epidural steroid injection. However, the physician negligently injected the plaintiff’s spinal artery. The plaintiff immediately experienced severe pain and burning in her feet, radiating to her abdomen and lower back. She lost control of her lower body and had difficulty breathing. 

She was later diagnosed with acute lower extremity paralysis and loss of sensation. Discovery showed that the error in treatment caused cord infarction, nerve damage, and bowel and bladder incontinence. 

How Can Medical Animation Be Used In Epidural Steroid Injection Malpractice Cases?

The harm caused in both cases is horrendous and cannot be overlooked. With just one treatment, one moment of carelessness, a formerly buoyant life is reduced to piles of medical injuries and tons of hospital visits and rehabilitation.

When a medical professional causes irreparable harm, as seen in both cases mentioned above, it is essential to hit the courtroom and demand justice. To win the case, it is crucial to consider demonstrative evidence like medical animation.

With medical animation, the plaintiff can illustrate the physician’s treatment method in contrast to the procedure they should have followed. The plaintiff can also animate the expected effect when the type of mistake is made in their situation. 

This way, they would be able to prove that the effects that have been undergone are not just by chance. It will be clear to see that it wasn’t caused by some other means but due to the malpractice of the operating physician. The entire injury can also be animated to give the jury a view of the harm that has been done to the plaintiff.

Conclusion

Using medical malpractice trial animation in an epidural steroid injection case requires deep expertise and coordinated effort. There is a need for collaboration between an expert, an attorney, and a reliable medical animation company. This is to ensure that the case is appropriately captured and all admissibility rules are followed.

At Fox-AE, our qualified team of medical animators takes pride in working hand-in-hand with expert witnesses and attorneys, treating each case as unique and deserving of every professional input. This effort is geared towards making sure that we create admissible medical animations that can simplify your arguments and have a positive impact on the outcome of the case.

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