Epidural steroid injections and nerve root blocks, commonly know as pain injections are a high risk procedure oftentimes done quickly in outpatient settings and can sometimes result in medical malpractice. In order to avoid the unnecessary risks associated with this procedure, make sure you make an informed decision to proceed with the nerve root injection and comfortable with the risk of spinal cord injury. The purpose of the injection is to get a long needle into what is known as the foraminal space, the space between vertebrae where the nerve roots exist and branch off through the body.
To do the injection properly, a doctor or nurse practitioner must not get the needle too deep and must get the injection near the nerve root by the spinal cord without hitting any blood vessels or allowing the injection to get into the blood vessels or onto the spinal cord.
Once the needle is in the proper position the doctor makes a small injection of contrast and watches with a fluoroscope (video x-ray) to make sure the contrast does not go anywhere torrid, particularly into an artery or directly onto the spinal cord itself. Once that is confirmed, the doctor proceeds to inject the steroid medicine which numbs or kills the nerves and thus hopefully reducing or eliminating nerve pain associates with spine or disc injuries. Seems simple, but mistakes can occur anywhere along the line leading to a potential medical malpractice lawsuit.
Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor, take the time to ask your doctor the following:
Full investigation into the procedure, the facility where it is being done, and the doctor is very important as steroid pain injection procedures carry real risks of partial to complete paralysis or even wrongful death.
The steroid can be inadvertently injected into an artery or vessel or it can get onto the spinal cord or hit the spinal cord itself, oftentimes causing infarcts, which are dead tissue areas of the spinal cord resulting in neurological deficits, i.e. all levels of paralysis and even death from respiratory failure.
We have handled these cases before and have the medical knowledge, experts, and legal know how to purse negligent pain injection cases in Missouri and Southern Illinois to successful conclusions.