Nerve injuries have the potential to cause the most severe pain a person is capable of experiencing. When this pain is caused by medical malpractice, confusion and anger are understandable reactions. It can feel like a breach of trust when you put your health and wellbeing in the hands of a doctor, only to be worse off in the end.
While medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, medical malpractice claims account for less than five percent of personal injury cases. When events like this happen, you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering. Our Baltimore nerve injury lawyers at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz are here to help you manage your challenging nerve injury case, so you can focus on rest and recovery.
How the Nervous System Functions
To fully understand why nerve injuries occur and how they impact a person’s body, it’s important to understand how the nervous system functions when it’s not damaged.
The nervous system is broken down into two parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system includes the spinal cord and brain. All the other nerves in the body are part of the peripheral nervous system.
These two parts work together to control certain mechanism in our bodies, as well as help us communicate with the outside world. It helps us gather information through our sense, process that information, and react accordingly.
Within this system exists three different types of nerves:
- Autonomic nerves control certain actions like heart rate, temperature regulation, digestion, and blood pressure.
- Motor nerves allow us to voluntarily move by sending messages from the brain to the spinal cord and muscles.
- Sensory nerves cause us to feel the effects of outside forces on our bodies. This can include things like temperature and pain.
When these fragile nerves are damaged as a result of cutting, stretching, or excess pressure, serious injuries can occur.
Medical Errors that Result in Nerve Injury
Medical errors that result in nerve injury are often due to medical malpractice or negligence. Most often, nerve damage occurs when surgical errors are made – like a miscalculation of anesthesia. When nerve injuries are caused by anesthesia, blood flow to the central nervous system or the brain may be slowed or stopped.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information additional medical errors that lead to nerve damage are:
- Nicking veins or arteries with a scalpel
- Birth injury errors
- Failing to diagnose degenerative conditions
- Negligent use of surgical tools like tourniquets, retractors, or bandages
- Intubation mistakes
- Improperly positioning a patient resulting in too much pressure on certain nerves for an extended period of time
- Lack of adequate padding
To diagnose nerve damage, a nerve conduction velocity test may be performed. This test examines how well nerve impulses travel through the nerves. It’s important to recognize that even if you’ve suffered from nerve damage, this test can yield normal results. A secondary medical opinion is normally a good idea.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a nerve injury, the symptoms can vary tremendously; however, here are some of the more common symptoms:
- Motor function impairments and coordination issues
- Temporary or permanent loss of feeling
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Muscle weakness
- Sharp or burning pains
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
The Impact of a Nerve Injury
The treatment and recovery process for nerve injuries can be strenuous and long. The treatment process often depends on how severe the injury is. The entire recovery process will depend on the type of nerve injury, the age and health of the patient, and where the injury is on the body. Regardless of the severity, physical therapy is often useful.
For mild injuries, the nerves can often repair themselves. This can happen as quickly as in a few minutes, or it may take a series of weeks.
When nerve fibers are broken, the nerves can have grown back on their own; however, it can take months. The messages that would have been sent between the brain and body stop at this time, until the nerves grow. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
If a nerve has been severed or cut completed, surgery is necessary to reconnect the nerve. In surgery, the nerve ends will typically be sewn back together so the inner fibers can grow and fuse together. Nerve fibers grow slowly – approximately one inch per month. It’s likely the affected muscles will take longer to heal and work well again, even after the nerve fibers have fused completed. During and after the healing period, a person is likely to experience the “pins and needles” feeling.
Unfortunately, if the damage is severe there’s a chance the nerve injury will never be entirely repaired.
Trust in Our Baltimore Nerve Injury Lawyers
Our nerve injury attorneys have the dedication and experience it takes to handle severe medical malpractice cases. We will do whatever it takes to advocate for you in and out of the courtroom. For a free consultation with our nerve injury lawyers, contact us online or call us at 800-895-5333 or 410-234-0100.