Nerve Injuries Caused by Surgical Malpractice
Nerves carry messages between the brain and the body for various purposes. Some transmit messages that make the body move. Others provide information about temperature, pressure, and pain. Each nerve is a bundle of small fibers inside an insulating layer. Stretching, pressure, or cutting can damage nerves. When a nerve is cut during surgery, it cannot carry messages because the signal will not be able to move through a gap in the nerve. If you suffer nerve injuries caused by surgical malpractice, you should consult the Ocala surgical malpractice lawyers at the Dean Law Firm.Complications Related to Nerve Injuries Caused by Surgical Malpractice
Signs of nerve injuries vary depending on which nerve was damaged. They can include numbness, weakness, or pain. When nerves only send messages about sensation, an injury to that nerve will generate numbness. When nerves are used to send movement messages, the result of damage to those nerves will be weakness. There may be pain at the injury site, as well as along the course of the nerve. Other signs can include color changes to the skin around the nerve, alterations to sweating patterns, or smaller muscles.
Some mild nerve injuries improve, while other nerve injuries are permanent or need repair. It can take months for broken nerve fibers to regrow, and sometimes surgery is necessary. If the insulating outer layer of the nerve as well as its inner fibers are cut or nicked during surgery, another surgery may be necessary to help the nerve heal properly. During a surgery, the surgeon can sew the nerve ends together. However, inner nerve fibers will still need time to grow back in order to be functional once more.
Surgical mistakes can cause serious nerve damage. Often, surgeons operate very close to nerves. The contact between nerves and surgical instruments can harm the patient. Nerve damage can be a result of a surgeon accidentally slicing a nerve or running an instrument against the nerve so that inflammation results.
However, a doctor may also make an error and cause nerve damage while administering anesthesia. When local anesthesia is being administered with a syringe, the anesthesiologist needs to carefully avoid contact between the syringe and a nerve. If there is contact, there may be damage. Regional anesthesia involves anesthetic being injected into the spinal column, which is full of nerves that may be damaged during the injection. Similarly, mistakes in administering a general anesthetic can result in nerve damage because the body loses its ability to sense pain and discomfort as it would if it were alert.
In order to prove that medical malpractice caused your nerve injuries, your attorney will need to prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor deviated from the professional standard of care during a surgical procedure, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. When there is surgical malpractice, it is usually easy to establish a doctor-patient relationship, but it is usually necessary to retain a credible and persuasive expert to explain what the professional standard of care was and how the doctor deviated from it. The expert will likely need to show that the professional standard of care required the doctor not to cause damage to nerves surrounding the surgical site. In addition to showing breach and causation, you will also need to establish damages by a preponderance of the evidence. Damages arising out of nerve injuries may include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, among others.Consult a Surgical Malpractice Lawyer in the Ocala Area
Surgery generally involves some unavoidable risks. However, in some cases, nerve injuries were preventable and resulted from a surgeon or nurse's deviation from the standard of care. At the Dean Law Firm, our aggressive Ocala trial attorneys may be able to sue a doctor or medical practice on your behalf if you or a loved one suffers nerve injuries caused by medical malpractice. We serve patients harmed by medical negligence in hospitals, clinics, and private practices in Ocala, The Villages, Crystal River, and throughout Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or through our online form.