The following is a follow up to my last blog post titled, “DeKalb, Georgia Jury Awards $1.5M to Former Boxer in Medical Malpractice Surgical Case ~ part one,” where I began to discuss some of the important questions to ask in a Medical Malpractice Case such as this when there is a Deviation from the Standard of Care that results in Nerve Damage, and why each question is important:
3.) What Precautionary Measures were Taken?
Why is this important? Precautionary measures need to be taken to minimize the likelihood of nerve injury such as proper positioning, the use of surgical materials, and the precise surgical technique will reduce the likelihood of certain types of nerve damage. As was observed in this case, the surgeon thought he was cutting a common area leading to the gall bladder when he was, in fact, cutting an artery which lead to the nerve damage.
4.) Were the Upper Extremity Nerves Injured During the Surgical Procedure?
Why is this important? Any nerve that passes into the upper extremity may sustain an injury during the peri-operative period.
5.) Was a Lower Extremity Nerve Injured During the Surgical Procedure?
Why is this important? A number of studies have suggested that there are many factors other than improper intra-operative care that may contribute to the risk of lower extremity nerve injury.
6.) Was the Nerve Injury Addressed at the Time of Surgery?
Why is this important? Most micro-surgically treated iatrogenic nerve injuries occur directly during an operation. Certain nerves are at a higher risk than others, and certain procedures and regions of the body are more prone to sustaining nerve injury. In this case, when the surgeon realizes that he had cut into the artery he immediately called for a neurosurgeon.
7.) Was the Nerve Injury Managed at the Time of Surgery?
Why is this important? Once a nerve injury has occurred intra-operatively, it is the duty of the clinician to manage the injury without delay to minimize damages. Again, in this case, it was indicated that the surgeon did call in a neurosurgeon after he realized he had cut the artery.
8.) Was the Patient Referred to a Specialist?
Why is this important? Immediate referral of the patient to a neuron/micro-vascular/plastic surgeon must occur for the efficient management of the nerve damage. In this case, this did happen, but the nerve damage was none the less a permanent injury even with intervention of a specialist at the time of surgery.
9.) What Signs and Symptoms of Motor Injury did the Patient Exhibit Immediately After Surgery?
Why is this important? Post-operatively, patients may experience symptoms like severe burning pain, numbness, tingling sensation, and loss of function of a body part due to nerve damage. It was apparent in this case that the patient lost function of parts of his body as a result of the nerve damage.
10.) Was a physical examination performed on the patient ?
Why is this important? The clinician must perform an immediate physical examination if the patient is exhibiting signs and symptoms of nerve damage, so that the nerve damage is immediately identified and its management is initiated.
11.) Were Investigative Diagnostic Studies Performed?
Why is this important? If the patient exhibits signs and symptoms of nerve damage, immediate investigations must be conducted by the clinician to identify the presence and extent of the damage.
12.) Was the Nerve Injury Discovered Immediately After Surgery?
Why is this important? As stated previously, the sooner that the nerve damage is discovered, the sooner that intervention can begin to reduce the ultimate effects of said nerve damage.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we are experts at Medical Malpractice Cases so if you or a loved one has been injured due to Medical Malpractice at any time then please Contact Us as soon as possible for your free legal consultation. We are here to assist you, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.