The human body is complicated and delicate. When the immune system senses an infection, white blood cells gather to curtail it—the pool of fluid, dead cells, and dead bacteria make up the pus.
The delicate part is when this pus refuses to dry up or drain out. When pus or fluid is confined in the tissue, it becomes an abscess.
An abscess is a red, warm swelling on or under the skin and other body parts. Abscesses are seemingly mild conditions but can get severe quickly if not quickly noticed or if misdiagnosed so that they burst.
One might have had only to imagine what a spinal cord abscess looks like, but with the help of legal medical animation, there’s no need for imagination.
What Is a Spinal Cord Abscess?
The spinal cord is the structure encased in the vertebral column that connects the brain to the lower back. It is a cylinder of tissue and nerve cells through which nerve signals are transported around the body.
It majorly controls regions below the neck and sends external signals from the skin to the brain and from the brain back. This fact shows that a loss of function in the spinal cord can lead to paralysis.
Hence, a spinal cord abscess is an abscess of the spinal cord. It involves a swelling and inflammation caused by the collection of pus and germs in or around the spinal cord.
Causes and Complications of Spinal Abscess
While this infection is rare, spinal cord abscesses occur enough times for negligence to be noticed.
The most common cause is an infection in the spine. It is caused by staphylococcus. However, in some parts of the world, it is caused by tuberculosis. In rarer cases, it is caused by fungi. A spinal cord abscess can also be caused by an epidural abscess, which is the same, but specifically near the spine or inside the skull.
People who have had boils on their back, bloodstream infections, back injuries, and complications from lumbar puncture or back surgery have a higher chance of having an abscess in the spinal cord.
A spinal abscess comes with several severe complications. The abscess can compress the spinal cord, and it can cause paralysis.
An abscess that isn’t detected on time can rupture and spread infection into the surrounding environment and the bloodstream. This spread will eventually lead to the patient getting ill and having a fever.
Failure to properly drain the abscess will cause it to get worse and lead to possible recurrence and even death. According to a medical journal by The American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 20% of people are likely to die from a spinal infection.
This lawsuit shows an example of someone with a spinal cord abscess. This case was one where the claimant was misdiagnosed to have a virus. The case escalated with the patient ending up with incomplete quadriplegia and using a walker.
Another example is a case in Maryland in 2015. The 72-year-old claimant had a late diagnosis despite being under the care of a urologist. This late diagnosis caused him to be paralyzed. Medical-legal animation of the abscess will be useful in cases with similar circumstances as this.
What Impact Can A Spinal Cord Abscess Animation Have During Trial?
Medical-legal animation is the best tool for cases involving this rare infection, as the proof will be visual and accessible for all to understand. Many are likely to become partially or fully paralyzed due to improper diagnosis from a medical practitioner.
Hence, it’s best that an attorney on such a case use their most potent form of demonstrative evidence to ensure that their client gets their deserved compensation for the emotional, financial, and physical damages.
A spinal cord abscess animation can illustrate the formation process of an abscess. An expert witness will help to bolster the point as the abscess can grow in parts of the body other than the spinal cord. They will compare the difference and sensitivity of an abscess growing in the spinal cord and elsewhere.
In addition, with the help of an expert witness, trial animation will highlight how this bag of fluid in such a sensitive place can get infected with bacteria and infect the bloodstream. It can be used to illustrate all vertebral levels affected and the boundary of the abscess on the spinal cord.
It can illustrate a person’s spine with and without a spinal abscess. This animation will explain all the physical signs to the jury. Showing this will further prove to the court why a medical practitioner cannot display such a level of negligence.
Animation of spinal cord abscesses isn’t a new concept for our Fox-AE team. Our work product was admitted as evidence during a trial because of how closely it resembled the observations of the neutral witness, who was a neurosurgeon. The misdiagnosed abscess left this man paralyzed. Our animation contributed to winning the case by making this complex argument easy to understand.