Is My Nerve Damage My Doctor’s Fault?


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Nerve damage can cause excruciating pain, sometimes even disabling the individual afflicted with the injury. Suffering from this type of pain can only be made worse when it could have been prevented entirely. Unfortunately, many people are left to deal with nerve damage after undergoing surgical procedures, and sometimes, it’s because of medical negligence on the part of one of the medical professionals charged with providing care.

Nerve damage that is a result of medical mistakes or negligence may entitle you to compensation if the doctor or hospital is found liable for the injury.

What Are The Different Types Of Nerve Damage?

Three general types of nerve damage may occur to the body -- neurapraxia, axonotmesis, and neurotmesis. Before getting into the details of those types, it's crucial to understand how nerves function in the body. 

Nerves are essentially like electrical wires. They have a core, called the axon, that conducts senses and stimuli between the brain and the body. The axon is surrounded by the epineurium, the perineurium, and other protective tissue layers.

The three types of nerve damage are:

  • Neurapraxia – This is the least severe of the three types. It results in temporary blockage of nerve stimuli but doesn't involve damage to the axon, the epineurium, or the perineurium.
  • Axonotmesis – This type of nerve damage occurs when the axon is severed, but the epineurium and the perineurium remain intact, which allows the axon to heal eventually.
  • Neurotmesis – This is the most severe type of nerve damage. It occurs when the axon, epineurium, and perineurium are all severed, making surgery mandatory for any recovery.

How Do Medical Mistakes Cause Nerve Damage?

Medical negligence can cause many different types of injuries, including nerve damage. One of the most common situations that result in nerve damage is negligently performed surgery. Individuals who suffer from nerve damage may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of sensation or feeling
  • Loss of motor function
  • Incontinence
  • Mild tingling to complete numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Deformity and scarring
  • Seizures

When nerves are severed completely, it can result in a permanent loss of sensation and function. Nerves that are damaged but not severed, often result in chronic pain, ranging from mild to severe and typically getting worse progressively.

Some of the most common medical errors that cause nerve damage include:

  • The failure to accurately diagnose some degenerative conditions
  • The improper use of surgical tourniquets
  • The improper application of bandages, devices, or surgical retractors
  • The negligent use of surgical tools
  • Intubation errors
  • Errors made during childbirth
  • Incorrect positioning of the patient that results in too much pressure being applied to a nerve for some time
  • Spinal surgery mistakes
  • Nicking the femoral artery
  • Surgical errors that occur in severing nerves

Anesthesia mistakes can also cause nerve damage. When nerve blocks that are used to manage pain or local anesthesia are administered incorrectly, severe, sometimes permanent nerve damage may occur. This type of error often happens during childbirth, and the results can cause life-changing disabilities.

How Are Nerves Damaged During Surgeries?

The nerve damage that results from surgical mistakes can be temporary or permanent. During surgery, there are several ways in which nerves may become damaged:

  • Severing a nerve
  • Stretching a nerve
  • Compression that inhibits circulation
  • Inflammation of the area surrounding a nerve

Additionally, some patients may be more prone to nerve damage than others. For example, patients who have diabetes or cancer, or those who smoke, drink alcohol heavily, or are obese are more likely to experience nerve damage.

When Nerve Damage Is Caused By Medical Malpractice

Nerve damage caused by medical mistakes is more common than people think, and in many cases, it was preventable. Medical malpractice cases are complex, and it can be challenging to prove that a medical professional violated the accepted standard of care.

If you or your loved one suffers from nerve damage that resulted from the error or negligence of a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional, you need a medical malpractice attorney to review your case. Obtaining a top-rated medical malpractice lawyer is the best way to ensure that your rights as a patient are protected and that the person who caused your injury is held accountable.

The attorneys at Ross Feller Casey have decades of experience fighting for their clients who are victims of medical malpractice. At our law firm, we have medical doctors on staff to review medical records and determine how the mistake or negligence happened. Contact our office today for your free case evaluation. And remember, all of our medical malpractice cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means there is no charge to you until we win your case.

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