Nerve Damage From Surgical Error
Our bodies are remarkable when healing from many different injuries and wounds, often regenerating and repairing damage to muscle, bone, and tissue through the natural healing process. However, the nervous system is not as resilient, and most of the damage done to a nerve is permanent.
Our brain connects to nerves that run throughout the body and communicate to our organs, muscles, and tissue. Surgeons performing procedures on the delicate nervous system must be cautious not to nick or sever the nerves around the procedure.
Hiring a Surgical Nerve Damage Complication Attorney
The surgical error attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC know the degree of devastation when surgical complications arise. Some postoperative patients are horrified when waking up from a procedure with nerve damage, internal bleeding, brain injury, spinal cord trauma, or another serious injury.
We serve as legal advocates for injured victims of medical malpractice and can help your family too. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers currently represent clients throughout Illinois and in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Elgin, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. We handle cases were medical professionals, including surgeons and anesthesiologists, failed to provide an acceptable standard of care that results in medical malpractice.
The Role of the Central Nervous System in Human Health
Nerves do not merely allow the brain to control other areas of the body. Nerves are the means through which the brain is aware of what is happening inside and outside of the body.
The entire nervous system carries signals back to the brain that communicates pain, variances in temperature, texture, balance, sensation, and location. This essential information allows us to remain aware of our surroundings and respond when we are injured, not feeling well, suffering from a heart attack, or experiencing brain damage.
Millions of connecting neurons communicate through neurotransmission using an electrochemical process to transmit messages in both directions. Damaged nerves cannot pass a signal through the nervous system, spinal cord, and brain.
The diminished capacity might impact motor function, circulation, and organ function. Unlike muscle tissue or bone, nerves are unable to repair or regenerate. Many medical malpractice cases involve patients that developed birth injury like cerebral palsy or diminished brain activity after undergoing general anesthesia.
Scientists and medical experts research the body's response to nerve damage to develop an effective treatment to repair or regenerate nerve cells. Test results show that the brain sends special immune cells to the nerve injury site tasked with cleaning up dead cells and clearing the area.
This process also results in the formation of scar tissue that severs communication beyond the point of injury permanently.
Surgical Nerve Damage Complication FAQs
Can Nerve Damage From Surgery be Reversed?
On nearly every incident, extensive nerve damage on a significant nerve cannot be healed completely. However, the doctor can recommend numerous treatments to reduce common symptoms associated with nerve damage. Unfortunately, damage to the nervous system is often a progressive condition. However, the doctor can recommend how to reduce the chances that the damage will remain permanent.
Can You get Compensation for Nerve Damage in a Medical Negligence Lawsuit?
Injuring your major and minor nerves in a workplace environment is the second leading cause of nerve damage. However, you must file the appropriate paperwork at the job site, if you are able, or afterward to begin the process of seeking compensation for your injuries on the job.
An attorney working on your behalf can help you file a Worker's Compensation claim to receive a monetary recovery for your damages. The documents must be filed before the state statute of limitations expires.
Can You Permanently Damage a Nerve?
The level of severity of the injured or severed nerve will determine if the damage is temporary or permanent. In some cases, the nerve can be treated or repaired, primarily if a neck laceration occurred by the physician during the procedure.
Many individuals with permanent nerve damage experience chronic pain, and others develop skin sores that refused to heal.
How Long Does it Take for Nerve Damage to Repair?
A neurological expert can help identify the length of time the body needs to regenerate the damaged nerve, if possible. Typically, traumatized, or bruising nerves that are not cut will fully recover in as little as six weeks, or up to twelve weeks or longer. Growing and repairing nerves can regenerate at about 1mm every day. In some cases, rests and minimal use of the damaged nerve will help it regenerate quicker.
Can You see Nerve Damage on an MRI?
Standard x-ray technology cannot identify a damaged nerve unless it is completely severed. However, an MRI (magnetic resident's image) machine and a CAT scan can identify damage nerves and provides a detailed examination of large nerves, including the nerve roots to the spinal cord.
How can You Prove Nerve Damage in an Illinois Medical Malpractice Case?
Neurologists and other doctors can test the conduct to the of a damaged nerve using an electrical test like the NCV (nerve conduction velocity) test. If the electrical impulse cannot pass to the nerve, it typically proves that there is significant damage, including severed tissue.
Doctors can also evaluate and diagnose injury to the nerve who experiences numbness and weakness in their appendages (legs or arms).
Errors That may Result in Surgical Nerve Damage
Surgeons make every effort possible to avoid significant nerves and clusters of neurons when operating on patients. An awareness of where nerves are located near an organ, limb, or tissue being repaired is essential to avoiding nerve damage during and following the procedure.
In nearly all cases, surgeons can make cuts in the wrong places. How life-threatening problems by the medical staff could happen include:
- The nerve is cut due to an incision in the wrong location. Surgeons make cuts in the wrong place all the time, but most of the time, they notice and repair the damage. However, when a surgeon's misplaced cut severs a significant nerve, there is no possibility of repair.
- Anesthesia errors also cause damage to the nerves. When anesthesiologists are administering anesthetic medications, they must ensure that the patient is in the right position, and the drug is delivered to the correct location through the conventional means of delivery.
- Oxygen deprivation can also cause nerve damage. Some surgical procedures require patients to be placed into positions that cut blood flow circulation to specific body areas. During surgery, the medical team monitors the patient's vital measures to ensure that oxygen levels are sufficient to prevent tissue and nerve death.
- Compression can also damage nerves. While nerve damage is most often associated with the laceration of significant nerves, injury can also occur when the nerve is pinched or compressed. A carpal tunnel system diagnosis is an example, which is defined as pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. Nerve damage can happen when even minimal pressure is placed on nerve clusters during surgery, and the problem is not noticed or corrected, which may or may not be treatable.
- The damage is caused by a defective surgical device or when the surgeon uses the wrong instrument.
The Long-Term Impact of Nerve Damage From a Surgical Procedure
Our nerves are responsible for so much more than the ability to move our bodies and sense things through touch. The simple awareness of where our limbs are located helps with coordination and balance, and our organs function without our knowledge due to the signals they are receiving from the brain.
The injuries that can result from nerve damage may impact the victim's quality of life and can include the following.
- Hypersensitivity— Partially damaged nerves may send signals back to the brain more rapidly, indicating tingles, pain, and sensitivity to temperature. Hypersensitivity sends signals regardless of whether the person is touching something or moving the affected area.
- Loss of feeling— It is possible in some cases for the person to retain motor ability while losing access to the sense of touch in the limb or digits. This loss of sensation can be dangerous because it is possible not to notice when the affected area is exposed to intense heat or cold, or when the limb is injured due to a wound or infection.
- Incontinence— Our bladder and bowel functions are dependent on healthy nerve function. Nerve damage can result in loss of bladder control. The emotional distress that can accompany this condition is considerable.
- Digestive problems— Nerve damage can impact the digestive tract, resulting in various painful and debilitating gastrointestinal concerns.
- Muscle atrophy— When a nerve stops communicating to a limb or muscle, the muscle begins to lose mass due to a lack of use. This loss of communication can impact coordination when opposing muscles are unable to work together effectively due to the disparity in strength.
- Loss of balance and coordination— Nerve damage might make it more challenging for the victim to establish or maintain balance. It can also affect coordination and make it harder to perform simple motor functions.
Living With Paralysis Following a Surgical Error
In the worst cases, our Chicago surgical malpractice lawyers represented clients who must continue his or her life without complete motor function due to surgical nerve damage complications. The degree of paralysis can be catastrophic based on the location of the injury.
According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the medical costs for someone with partial paralysis can amount to over $347,484 in the first year and over $42,000 a year after that. If an injury should result in tetraplegia, these costs quickly skyrocket to over $1 million in the first year and $185,000 per year for the rest of the person's life.
The high cost of caring for someone with paralysis can add up to as much as $4.7 million. These figures do not recognize the cost of losing income and opportunity, along with the loss of any benefits the victim had access to before the injury.
Even partial paralysis can have a devastating financial impact on a family and result in lost wages and the rising cost of medical care. Because of that, many victims will hire a medical negligence injury attorney to seek damages from negligent healthcare providers that created a life-changing catastrophe.
Surgeons never intend to harm or kill their patients through wrongful death, but they are still fully accountable for their mistakes and held accountable through malpractice lawsuits.
Effective and Dedicated Surgical Error Attorneys Serving Chicago, Illinois
If you or a loved one suffered nerve damage due to a surgical error, you might be able to recover damages for your medical costs, out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and more. The expert medical law team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has helped thousands of people, just like you, recoup the compensation they need for their ongoing care.
Contact our personal injury attorneys today (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to arrange your free consultation with one of our award-winning Chicago surgical error attorneys. Please do not send sensitive information to our law office in a text message, email, or voicemail.
During the free case evaluation, we will discuss your legal options and answer your questions and concerns so that you know what to expect before moving forward. All discussions you have with our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
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