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How Medical Negligence Can Lead to Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can cause long-term or chronic pain, paralysis, loss of sensation, muscle weakness, and other major medical problems. When a doctor makes a mistake  resulting in harm to a patient’s nerves or nervous system, it can cause irreparable harm. If this happens, the injured patient has the right to bring a Philadelphia medical malpractice claim to pursue financial compensation for preventable nerve damage.

What Is Nerve Damage?

Nerve damage refers to harm or injury to the body’s nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for virtually everything the body does, from feeling sensations to regulating your breathing. Damage to the autonomic nerves can affect the body’s ability to self-regulate, including heart rate and body temperature. Damage to the motor nerves can impact movement, balance and motor function. Damage to the sensory nerves can change how you feel pain, heat, cold and other sensations.

What Are the Symptoms of Nerve Damage?

The signs and symptoms of nerve damage depend on the nerves affected and the severity of the harm. Potential symptoms include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Changes in sensation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Twitching
  • Chronic pain
  • Deformity
  • Paralysis
  • Incontinence
  • Seizures
  • Lightheadedness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Constipation
  • Bladder problems

Any of these conditions are signs of potentially serious medical conditions and may require prompt medical attention.

What Types of Medical Negligence Can Cause Nerve Damage?

Nerve damage can be caused by many accidents, injuries and medical conditions. A nerve could be damaged by external trauma, such as a car accident or fall that crushes or compresses the nerve. Medical conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or autoimmune diseases, can also cause nerve damage. In some cases, the negligence of a medical provider can result in a nerve injury to the patient. Examples include:

  • Diagnostic mistakes: the failure to diagnose certain degenerative conditions can damage a patient’s nervous system through a lack of treatment. Failing to diagnose a tumor on a patient’s spinal cord can also cause nerve damage.
  • Improper application of medical treatments: incorrectly applying a bandage, compress, tourniquet or medical device in a way that inhibits circulation or inflames the area surrounding a nerve. Incorrect patient positioning could also cause nerve damage.
  • Surgical errors: injuring, severing, stretching or compressing a nerve during an operation through the negligent use of surgical tools and instruments. Spinal surgery mistakes can also result in permanent nerve damage.
  • Anesthesia mistakes: errors made while anesthetizing a patient for a procedure, such as intubation errors or incorrectly administering an epidural during labor and delivery, can cause nerve damage.
  • Birth injuries: errors made before, during and shortly after childbirth can cause severe and permanent nerve damage to the infant. Examples include shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus injuries, Erb’s palsy and facial paralysis.

Medical negligence is an act or omission that a reasonable doctor would not have made under the same or similar circumstances. If you believe that the error of a doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or another health care provider was a cause of your nerve damage, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim.

What Are Your Rights as a Victim of Medical Negligence in Philadelphia?

A medical malpractice claim seeks financial compensation for your economic and noneconomic losses that result from medical negligence. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, lost capacity to earn, permanent disability, diminished enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and more.

Your lawyer must establish that the medical provider fell short of the professional duty of care and that this was a cause of your nerve damage to qualify for compensation. Holding a medical provider accountable can bring you justice as an injured patient. For more information about a potential medical malpractice claim after suffering a preventable nerve injury in Philadelphia, contact Youman & Caputo for a free case consultation.