A spine surgery error lead to paralysis and death after years of suffering in a 14 year old boy in New York. Edward Beloyianis went in for what should have been a routine spine surgery to correct a curved spine. He came out of the surgery paralyzed. Later evidence revealed a significant spine surgery error: several screws were lodged directly into Edward’s spine, causing paralysis.

According to sources reported in the New York Daily News, the hospital initially mislead the family, informing them that a scan of Edward’s spine showed no surgical error. In truth, the hospital actually did no medical imaging and simply told the family that they had performed this test.

The jury awarded damages for Edward’s pain and suffering. This element of damages compensates injured patients for the pain, suffering, and mental anguish—known as non-economic damages. While it can never make a person truly whole, it’s the best way the law has to compensate individuals who are horrifically injured. In this case, the jury decided that $5 million was appropriate for the seven years of pain and suffering before the child died of complications from the surgical error. The jury also awarded $5.6 million in damages to the child’s parents for their loss.

Surgical errors can lead to life long and devastating injuries to the person involved. Because the patient is under anesthesia while under going surgery, these patients are often the most vulnerable to injury. Surgical malpractice or medical negligence can occur in many ways. Some cases we have seen include surgical error in operating on the correct body part. This can be the mistake of either the surgeon or the hospital, or both. If there are no policies or procedures in place to protect patients, it’s easy to see how negligence can occur.

Some of the most devastating surgical errors  occur due to inattention during the provision of anesthesia. These mistakes can result in a life long brain injury that will permanently disable the patient. Sometimes, the only recourse for many of these patients who have been victims of spine surgery errors is bringing a lawsuit.