Your nerves are like telephone wires, transmitting messages from one part of your body to another. Some of your nerves will take messages to your muscles when your brain is telling them to move. Other nerves communicate messages from the body to the brain about temperature, internal and external pain, pressure, and other things.
Nerves themselves are susceptible to damage – mostly by a cut, being stretched, from too much pressure on the nerve, or lack of blood flow. Nerves can be injured by medical mistakes as well. If a surgeon cuts the wrong spot during an operation or an anesthesiologist improperly positions a patient, serious nerve injuries may occur.
Signs and symptoms of nerve damage
Symptoms of nerve injuries can differ due to the type and severity of injury and its location. Some common symptoms of a nerve injury are:
- Numbing or numbness in an area. These nerve injuries happen on the nerve fibers that transmit sensation throughout the body. Numbness indicates an issue.
- One of the most common symptoms of nerve injury, varying degrees of pain can signify the need for treatment. Pain can occur anywhere along the damaged nerve, and may be throbbing, shooting, or radiating.
- Some of your nerves provide the impetus for movement via motor signals. When these nerves are damaged or injured, weakness can occur.
Treatments for nerve injuries are as varied as symptoms, but some can include:
- Self-repair. For minor injuries, called neurapraxia, the nerve can repair itself in a short amount of time. Augmenting your treatment with rest, heat or cold compress, or other soothing measures can alleviate suffering until repair has occurred.
- Long term self-repair or surgery. When nerve fibres are broken down, called axonotmesis, it can take months for the nerve to heal. Augmenting healing with self-care can decrease discomfort until you have healed. In some cases, surgery is necessary.
- Surgical options. In severe nerve injury cases like neurotmesis, surgery is necessary. This can happen when a nerve is cut, or when the pressure from an injury is unbearable. If you have surgery for a nerve injury, expect physical therapy and a slow recovery. Your brain signals will not travel through that nerve while healing takes place. In the most severe cases of neurotmesis, patients are permanently disabled and may experience loss of movement in limbs.
Nerve injuries caused by medical malpractice
In some cases, surgeries to alleviate nerve injuries create more problems than they solve. Nerve graft surgery or nerve transfer surgeries can be botched due to negligence or other contributing factors. Even a surgery unrelated to the patient’s nerves can cause harm if the physician damages a nerve in the process.
Those who suffer from a botched surgery may lose wages and future earning capacity, have physical pain and mental anguish due to injuries from surgery, and might even need care for life in extreme cases. You will certainly incur additional medical expenses at the very least. A highly skilled medical malpractice lawyer can help you obtain compensation if a healthcare provider’s error led to harm.
Baltimore and Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys are fighting in your corner
If you or a loved one has suffered a nerve injury due to medical negligence, seek legal representation immediately. The award-winning attorneys of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. have successfully resolved dozens of medical malpractice claims in their more than 30-year history. Call our office at 410-234-1000 or fill out our contact form to arrange your no-obligation consultation right away.