When you hear the word “paralyzed” it’s easy to jump to a few specific mental images. However, the range of paralysis is much wider. A single muscle can be unable to send or receive nerve impulses, creating a type of localized paralysis.

One of the leading causes of paralysis in the United States continues to be strokes, with 33.7% of all paralysis being pinned to blood flow and oxygen interruptions during an incident.

While paralysis can be the result of an injury or a result of necessity in surgery, it can also be the product of negligence or medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one has suffered paralysis after a medical procedure, it’s worthwhile to explore how this occurred and what could have been done to prevent it.

Surgical Error

The first broad category of paralysis happens from surgical injury or error. The human body contains a lot of densely layered interdependent systems. Interruptions of functions to one part can lead to injury and problems with another part.

There are known risks when it comes to surgery. Anytime work is being done near the brain or spinal column, doctors warn of potential nerve damage and paralysis. It is one thing to assume these risks in a life or death situation. A brain hemorrhage or blockage could easily lead to more damage if left untreated.

Injuries to the spine cost more than $40.5 billion in medical costs and care each year. The majority of these have known causes, but 382,000 come from unknown sources which includes error.

Not all surgery is necessary and not all surgeons possess the same skills. When paralysis occurs from unnecessary risks during a surgery or complications brought on by miscommunication of staff, those are unforeseen risks.


Two types of medical misdiagnosis result in paralysis. The first is not swiftly identifying an underlying condition and treating it. 

Diseases such as meningitis cause swelling, which can cut off nerve signal and blood flow to extremities, resulting in paralysis. 

The second grouping is misdiagnosis that leads to the wrong treatment. When counter-indicated medications can cause swelling or atrophy of a system unexpectedly. Damage to the liver and kidneys can create atrophy in systems left unable to vacate waste products. 


After surgery, monitoring is a very important step to prevent paralysis. Though it is difficult to catch when a post-surgical complication has occurred, doing so can save a life or functionality. When after-care is cut out or patients are given quick once-overs without proper inspection, paralysis is a severe risk.

Fevers and swelling are the most common after-surgical complications and both can lead to paralysis when neglected. 

Find Help

Even minor paralysis can severely reduce the quality of life for a person. If you have been injured by medical error, it’s in your interest to find answers and get compensation.  Please feel free to contact us to learn more about your options. We’re always here to help.