There are a sizeable number of risks and complications associated with nearly every surgical procedure. This is especially true when anesthesia is used. One of the greatest risks is nerve damage due to a surgical miscalculation.
How Does Surgical Nerve Damage Occur?
In general, there are two ways nerve damage can occur during surgery:
- One is a mistake made by a surgeon during surgery
- The other is an inaccurate administration of anesthesia
Often, surgeons come in close contact with the nerves when they are performing an operation. The slightest mistake could result in the severing of a nerve. In addition, the surgical instruments used could come in contact with a nerve and cause the nerve to become inflamed.
Essentially, there are three ways anesthesia is administered locally, regionally, and generally. If any of these methods are not properly administered, it could result in nerve damage. Local anesthesia is administered through a syringe and careful precautions must be made to ensure the needle does not come in contact with a nerve.
Normally, regional anesthesia entails the injected of a needle into the spinal column. A large number of nerves that send out signals from the brain are contained within the spinal column. Potentially, an injection in this area could lead to devastating nerve damage.
General anesthesia can also result in nerve damage if it is not administered correctly. A mistake with this type of anesthesia could render the body defenseless against recognizing any signs of discomfort or pain. For example, if the patient is in an uncomfortable position and is lying on their arm, they would not be able to tell if their arm had fallen asleep. If the patient were to lie is this position for a long period of time, it could result in the patient developing a pinched nerve.
Malpractice and Negligence
When surgical errors occur, some patients may sue for malpractice. In order to do so, a patient must prove they have a doctor-patient relationship and they must prove the doctor was negligent during the surgical procedure or immediately before or immediately after the surgical procedure. The patient also has to prove their doctor caused them injury or harm during the time of the surgical procedure.
A surgeon is negligent when they fail to give their patient quality care. If a patient is filing a surgical malpractice suit, they must establish that they did not receive the industry’s accepted standard of care, which is a legal term that means a doctor is competent. Generally, it will take an expert’s testimony to establish that a doctor failed to give their patient proper care and is incompetent.
A patient that is filing a malpractice suit must also have proof that their doctor committed a breach of the standard of care. For example, if a patient does not receive the proper anesthesia and nerve damage occurs that is breach of the standard of care.
In addition, they must prove that the doctor’s negligence caused them harm such as pain and suffering and the cost of the medical bills. In nerve damage cases, the harm does not have to be severe. It can be a feeling of mild discomfort that goes away after a few days. If this is the case, a large amount awarded for damages is unlikely. If the nerve damage is severe and leaves the patient permanently harmed or damaged, a large amount of compensation could be awarded.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
- Do Statute of Limitations Apply If Symptoms Were Present Immediately but Got Worse Recently?
- Do You Have to Prove a Doctor-Patient Relationship if You Sue?
- Can I Sue for Future Medical Expenses in a Medical Malpractice Case?
- How Long Do Medical Malpractice Cases Take?
- What Is Meant by “a Breach of the Standard of Care” in a Medical Malpractice Case?