Surgeons are held to high standards of care when treating patients. Surgery is an incredibly complex process, and all doctors must use a reasonable level of care and skill when performing procedures on patients who need their help.
If you or a loved one was injured during surgery by a doctor who cut too deep or damaged nerves, call our surgical injury attorney to evaluate your case. If a surgical error caused your nerve damage, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent surgeon.
A medical malpractice lawyer at Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA. can help accident victims suffering from nerve damage, numbness, and paralysis related to surgical errors. Our lawyers will fight to take the responsible doctor and hospital to court to get you the compensation you need for your additional medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other harms related to the injury.
To set up a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (305) 694-2676.
What is Nerve Damage?
Nerves are vital to your body’s normal functions. Nerves send signals from your brain to the individual parts of your body and back again, relaying sensory information. They can tell you if something you touch is hot or cold, soft or sharp. Nerves also transmit signals for your body parts to move and function as they should. Nerves operate your eyes, ears, and nose; they operate your bowels and bladder; and they operate your heart, lungs, and other vital organs.
Nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, is a condition where there is damage or dysfunction to one or more nerves in the body. This can result in many symptoms, including pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and loss of coordination or balance.
There are many different types of nerve damage, and the causes can vary widely. Some common causes include:
- Diabetes: high blood sugar levels can damage nerves over time, leading to diabetic neuropathy
- Trauma: injury to a nerve can cause damage and disrupt nerve function
- Infections: certain infections, such as shingles or HIV, can damage nerves
- Autoimmune disorders: conditions where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, such as multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barre syndrome, can cause nerve damage
- Exposure to toxins: exposure to certain chemicals, such as those found in chemotherapy drugs or heavy metals, can damage nerves
Common Symptoms of Nerve Damage
Nerves are, unfortunately, very fragile and delicate, and any damage to the nerve can interfere with various body signals. Unlike other tissue in your body (e.g., skin, bones, or muscles), nerve damage is often permanent. Nerves are not capable of healing like skin or bones can, and severing or damaging a nerve can often interfere with its function or cut off the signal altogether.
Severing a nerve entirely or damaging it beyond repair can result in total paralysis, numbness, and loss of sensation in whatever the nerve links to. For instance, severing a nerve in the hand may result in a finger becoming numb and immobile. Severing other nerves could result in loss of bowel control, muscle weakness, or other detrimental effects.
In some cases of nerve damage, the nerve is not severed entirely, but it may suffer damage that reduces its ability to send signals or interferes with the signal. Damage short of severing a nerve can cause numbness, pain, “pins-and-needles” sensations, and other harmful effects. Moreover, weakness, reduced motor control, and other difficulty moving or using the body part might occur. These sensations may go away over time or be reduced through surgery and physical therapy, but you still might not recover to 100%.
Common Causes of Nerve Damage During Surgery
Nerve damage can be caused in a few different ways during surgery. One of the most common ways nerve damage occurs is during surgery involving those nerves. If your doctor is supposed to operate on or near your nerves, such as in procedures involving previous nerve injuries or spinal cord damage, the nerves are at a higher risk of incidental damage and exposure. In many cases, these injuries are within the normally expected side effects of the procedure, which your doctor should adequately warn you about.
While every surgery comes with inherent risks, nerve damage caused by surgical negligence can have significant consequences for patients. If you believe that your nerve damage was caused by medical malpractice, it is essential to seek legal advice to determine your options for seeking compensation.
There are various potential causes of surgical nerve damage, including:
- Poorly administered anesthesia
- Improperly performed blood sample extractions via needles
- Damage to the inguinal and genitofemoral nerves during hernia surgery
- Nerve severing during knee replacement surgery
- Incorrect use of surgical tools, such as retractors and tourniquets
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of degenerative nervous system conditions
- Nerve damage caused by a scalpel or other surgical instruments
- Inflammation of surrounding tissue due to incorrect use of surgical equipment
- Excessive force applied to the nerve during surgery
- Incorrect positioning of the patient during surgery.
Many times, nerves are severed because of mistakes made with scalpels and other tools. If a doctor cuts too deep and nicks or severs a nerve, it can cause serious damage to your body. Many times these nerves can be reconnected, but you may still suffer ongoing effects such as numbness, pain, or reduced motor control.
Positioning injuries can also cause significant nerve damage. During surgery, you might be put under anesthesia to prevent feeling the surgery and prevent you from moving around. As such, you have no ability to roll over or move if you’re posed in an uncomfortable position. In some cases, the patient’s weight on a bent arm or leg could cause injury to the nerves or a nerve junction, resulting in permanent or long-term injury.
Childbirth can also cause nerve damage. Injury to the facial or cranial nerve is common in cases involving the misuse of forceps and other tools to extract the baby. Similar to positioning issues, babies can also suffer injuries to the nerves in their shoulder or arm (e.g., the brachial plexus) if they are cramped or moved awkwardly. This could result in developmental problems, paralysis, numbness, and pain in the affected areas.
Suing for Nerve Injuries During Surgery
If you suffered a nerve injury during surgery due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. To prove medical malpractice, your attorney must show that your surgeon’s actions or lack of action fell below the standard of care expected from a reasonable and skilled surgeon in a similar situation.
Your attorney will consult with medical experts who can testify about the appropriate standard of care and how your surgeon deviated from it. If the expert testimony shows that your surgeon’s actions were negligent and that negligence caused your nerve injury, you may be able to recover damages.
Compensation in a medical malpractice case may include economic damages such as additional medical expenses, lost wages or earning capacity, and property damage. Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life may also be awarded. In some cases, courts may award punitive damages intended to punish the negligent party and deter similar behavior in the future.
Navigating a medical malpractice case can be complicated and emotionally challenging. It is important to work with an experienced surgical error attorney who can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the legal process. If you have suffered a nerve injury during surgery due to medical negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice and protect your rights.
Call Our Miami Surgical Error and Nerve Damage Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one underwent a surgical procedure in Florida and suffered nerve damage, talk to a lawyer about your case today. Our medical malpractice attorney, Prosper Shaked, represents injury victims and their families. To schedule a free legal consultation and learn more about how to get the compensation you need, call our office today at (305) 694-2676.