Signs and Symptoms Indicating You Have an Epidural Abscess
An epidural abscess is an infection inside your skull or near your spine. It is often misdiagnosed when doctors mistake the symptoms for another type of ailment or fail to consider the patient’s medical history. A misdiagnosed epidural abscess can lead to a treatment delay that may cause catastrophic injuries, including permanent brain damage, paralysis, or even death.
An epidural abscess is usually the result of a bacterial or fungal infection. It creates a pocket of pus that will not go away on its own. There are effective treatments for an epidural abscess when it is diagnosed in a timely manner. A doctor who suspects a patient is suffering from an epidural abscess may use the following types of tests to get the correct diagnosis:
- Imaging studies
- Blood tests
- A fluid sample from the abscess
What Is an Epidural Abscess of the Skull?
An epidural abscess of the skull forms in the spaces between the bone of the skull and the lining of the brain. Risk factors for an epidural abscess of the skull include head trauma and frequent ear infections or sinus infections.
Long-term complications caused by an epidural abscess of the skull may include:
What Is a Spinal Epidural Abscess?
A spinal epidural abscess is an infection of the central nervous system that occurs at the base of the spine. As the infection spreads, pain will radiate across the patient’s back. Patients suffering from a spinal epidural abscess may experience pain in the lower back or spine, loss of bladder or bowel control, and difficulty walking.
A spinal epidural abscess may be contracted while a patient is recovering from spinal surgery. That’s why hospitals must ensure that all medical equipment is sterilized before any procedure takes place. It’s also important for doctors to schedule follow-up appointments to make sure that the patient is healing properly.
Risk factors for spinal epidural abscess include:
- Spinal injury
- Spinal surgery
- Urinary tract infections
- Bone infections
- Blood infections
- IV drug use
Symptoms of an Epidural Abscess
Doctors and hospital staff responsible for admitting patients to hospitals and ERs must monitor the patient’s condition, ask the patient about their symptoms, and take the patient’s medical history under consideration. Patients exhibiting signs of an epidural abscess must go to the front of the line for diagnostic testing and treatment.
Frequent symptoms of an epidural abscess include:
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of feeling in the legs and arms
Treatment for an Epidural Abscess
When the condition is caught early, patients with an epidural abscess generally have a very good prognosis for a healthy recovery. Treatment may involve one or a combination of the following:
- Surgery to drain the epidural abscess
- Surgery to remove the epidural abscess
An Epidural Abscess and Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient receives treatment that does not meet the designated and approved standard of care. For doctors and other medical professionals, the standard of care is what a reasonable physician would have done under the same or similar circumstances.
Hospitals must develop sensible procedures for admitting patients. It’s crucial that patients suffering from serious ailments are seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Hospitals may be held liable for injuries that result when they fail to provide employees with necessary training. Hospitals may also be held liable for negligent hiring when they employ incompetent personnel.
Are You Suffering from Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice?
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