Why You Should Insist on an MRI After an Accident
Back and neck injuries can be tricky to diagnose without an MRI.
When individuals are involved in extremely serious accidents where a catastrophic spinal injury is suspected, they will most likely automatically be given an MRI. However, MRIs are much less common for minor accidents like fender benders or slip and fall accidents—despite the fact that these kinds of accidents also have the potential to cause serious injuries that only an MRI can reveal.
Delayed Diagnosis Can Cause Permanent Damage
Here is an example of how much not getting an MRI promptly can hurt you.
A nurse walked into an exam room and slipped on a thin layer of liquid soap that had been deposited overnight by a leaky hand soap dispenser. She fell hard enough to knock the wind out of her, but when she visited urgent care she was sent away with ice and aspirin after an initial examination by a nurse practitioner.
The next day the nurse awoke in excruciating pain. Her back, which had been merely sore the day before, was now extremely painful, and her right leg was numb and shaking. She returned to urgent care and was seen by a physician who took an x-ray. Since no obvious herniations appeared in the x-rays, she was sent home with a prescription for pain medication and advised to rest and then follow up with occupational therapy.
Since her symptoms were not improving, the nurse decided to push for an MRI, which could produce a better image of her spine than a flat x-ray. The MRI was difficult to obtain since her insurance precluded her family doctor from helping her. Instead she had to get a referral to a surgeon who could then request the MRI.
The MRI revealed that she had a ruptured disc and a bone chip was pushing on her sciatic nerve. When she was referred to a neurosurgeon, she was told that she should have had surgery a long time ago. The delay in treatment caused the nerve to suffer permanent damage. Although her eventual back surgery did cure her back pain, the nurse now suffers with permanent numbness in two toes, her heel, and the back of her leg that causes her to walk with a limp.
Do Not Let This Happen to You
Sadly, stories like this one are not really that unusual among victims of car accidents and slip and fall accidents. If you have been injured and your pain or other symptoms have not been adequately explained by x-rays, you should definitely insist on an MRI—as inconvenient as your insurance provider may make it.
And in any case, if your accident was caused by another party’s negligent or reckless behavior, you should consult a personal injury attorney like Fernando D. Vargas for help. Attorney Vargas has ample experience with back injury cases and he can help you maximize your compensation.