Nerves are critical to our physical functioning. The nervous system allows the brain to control the entire body and lets the brain know what is happening internally and in our environment. They are part of the “electrical wiring” system between the brain and body. Motor nerves carry messages from the brain to the muscles for movement. Sensory nerves carry messages from the brain to different parts of the body to make us aware of temperature, pain, balance, and pressure.
Nerves are composed of many fibers called axons, separated into bundles within the nerve. Protecting the nerve is a ring of tissue covering it—something like insulation around a cable. If a nerve is cut, both the nerve and the insulation are severed. And the fibers inside the nerve can break while the insulation remains intact. But if both the nerve and the insulation have been severed and the nerve is not repaired, the growing nerve fibers may form a painful nerve scar or neuroma.
Medical Mistakes that Cause Nerve Damage During Surgery
During a patient’s surgery, surgeons can inadvertently damage a nerve by putting too much pressure on, stretching, or cutting a nerve. Resulting nerve damage can be temporary or permanent. In general, nerve damage can be caused by:
- a cutting mistake made by a surgeon during surgery
- a surgical instrument coming into contact with a nerve, causing the nerve to become inflamed and
- inaccurate administration of anesthesia.
Signs of Damaged Nerves After Surgery
Signs of nerve damage, whether temporary or permanent, can be experienced by the following symptoms:
If a nerve that transmits feeling is damaged, the patient may experience a loss of sensation
If a nerve that affects mobility is damaged, the patient may experience weakness
A common symptom that can be felt as tingling or burning
The patient may have changes in muscle mass, perspiration levels, or skin color.
As to anesthesia mistakes, during many surgeries regional anesthesia is injected into the spinal column. That’s a place where many nerves send out signals from the brain. An injection in this area can potentially lead to catastrophic nerve damage. General anesthesia can also cause vagus nerve damage if not administered correctly. An error of this type could make the patient defenseless against recognizing any signs of discomfort or pain, resulting in a pinched nerve. So, if a patient does not receive the proper anesthesia and nerve damage occurs, it would be a breach of the standard of care.
Treatment Options for Nerve Damage
Some treatment options for nerve damage that may have varying degrees of success are additional surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture, pain medication, and topical creams. Outcomes vary from patient to patient and can range from total or relative success to complete failure.
How Many People Die from Medical Mistakes?
Medical error death rates in the US are now the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer, surpassing respiratory illness. An analysis of the medical death rate data over an eight-year period by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in May 2016 estimated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the US. And it doesn’t even take into account the way that the CDC’s way of collecting national health statistics fails to classify medical errors separately on the death certificate. In other words, medical errors are excluded from national health statistics.
Do You Think You May Have a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you believe your medical doctor was negligent and caused you never damage after surgery, you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Contact us online or call us directly at 727-446-0840. We will be happy schedule your free consultation. There is absolutely no obligation in filing a claim. We will simply answer your questions and concerns to better help you understand what might be best in your particular circumstance.