Personal Injury

Lawyer’s View From the OR

Recently, I was invited by one of my Surgical Center clients to observe a surgical procedure known as a “discography” on a patient’s back. The patient was a 50+ year old male who failed conservative treatment and was in excruciating back pain.

I was initially impressed by the cleanliness of the surgical center and the steps that were taken to assure that every individual in the OR is properly scrubbed down and dressed in an endeavor to prevent any infection bring visited on the patient. Even the manual holder for the surgical lamps was covered and those protective covers were changed after each procedure. The Surgi Center personnel who assisted the neuro-surgeon and his co-surgeon worked efficiently and seamlessly in a well organized “team” approach. There were two groups of nursing assistants along with an anesthesiologist and a backup who constantly monitored every aspect of the patient’s vital signs, before, during and after the procedure.

Secondly, it was fascinating to see the voluminous state of the art surgical tools that were utilized, such as a HARP (highly articulated robotic probe) for MIP (minimally invasive procedures), as well as the HD surgical screen which provided a virtual 3D view of the surgical site. For instance, this surgeon used a harmonic scalpel (a cutting instrument used during surgical procedures to simultaneously cut and coagulate tissue), permitting the doctor to perform, essentially, a “bloodless” procedure. Several sets of x-rays were taken pre-operatively and then the surgical site was outlined. The surgeon then cleaned the outlined area and began with the incision. The procedure in this case was to scrape off a certain portion of the lumber vertebrae which was impacting upon the patient’s nerves resting on that level of his lumbar vertebrae.

The doctor, being a gifted neuro-surgeon, orchestrated the movements of all team members seamlessly. When a second set of x-rays were to be taken, there was a countdown so that everyone could be shielded from the effects of the x-rays themselves. After the patient’s bone was scraped and the surgical area was repaired, the surgeon copiously debrided the area and sealed the surgical site. The patient was then brought back from anesthesia and removed from the OR for recovery. Because the doctor operated at such a high level of efficiency the entire procedure only lasted an hour and a half.

In addition to educating oneself through continuing education with respect to personal injury laws, a personal injury trial attorney must fully develop a working, practical understanding of every aspect of representation in order to fully appreciate the level of each client’s pain and suffering. This begins with a thorough analysis of the bio-mechanics of the initial accident occasioning the traumatic event, and follows with an intimate understanding of all applied medical treatments, procedures, and surgeries, to recovery and follow up therapies. Only then can a true advocate delineate the actual extent of the past, current and future pain and suffering of each client.

The practical experience obtained from participating in a real life surgical procedure, has exponentially enhanced my ability as an advocate to understand and articulate the levels of pain already suffered and to be continually suffered by an accident victim, as well as delineate the degree of permanency my client has sustained as a result of this traumatic event. Additionally, in litigation negotiations with both adjusters and adversary attorneys, an attorney advocate’s depth of knowledge of each patient’s injuries and the surgical procedures endured, often serve to facilitate obtaining maximum settlement damages. Accordingly, when one is injured it is important to seek advice and counsel from an experienced trial attorney, specifically trained in personal injuries who can advise you as to the correct course to take in resolution of both your medical treatment and your monetary claim for permanent injuries.

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