Shaked Surgical Series Part 3: CRPS After Medical Malpractice
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”) affects every victim who suffers from it differently–although no less painfully. Doctors estimate that 90% of those with a diagnosis of CRPS suffer from Type I (without visualized nerve injury), while the remaining 10% of victims of this suicide-inducing disease suffer from Type II (with visualized nerve injury).
In our third and final installment of the Shaked Surgical Series we’ll revisit a common topic here on our Law Resource Blog: Medical Malpractice. In CRPS Victims Are Suffering Physically, Financially After Medical Malpractice we offered thorough insight on exactly what Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is, and how victims of medical malpractice may have a right to begin litigation if a medical professional such as a physician, surgeon, nurse, or other caregiver in a medical setting is found to be negligent in providing safe and adequate care, resulting in pain and injury instead of healing and recovery.
For those who may be unfamiliar with CRPS and the debilitating, unimaginable pain in which it leaves its’ victims, we’ll first provide a brief overview of this Syndrome and explain how diagnosis (which is considered to be one of “exclusion”) is achieved.
In Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Prognosis Varies, But Early Diagnosis Can Offer a Chance at Restored Function we explained, in detail:
[…]CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is what was formerly known as RSD. CRPS is a pain disorder and considered to be permanent, or as medical professionals often refer to it: “chronic”. There are several ways a person can develop Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. CRPS can develop because of medical malpractice such as a surgical error, or can be sustained from an accident. Regardless of how they developed the condition, it’s considered to be one of the most excruciating, permanent afflictions a person can suffer from.
Patients forgotten, “excluded”
According to medical professionals with longstanding research in the field of the presentation of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, there is not a single test that can accurately confirm a CRPS diagnosis. This is why, it’s what’s now become known amongst pain management specialists as well as neurologists with deeper understanding of CRPS as a “diagnosis of exclusion” or what physicians normally refer to as “clinical diagnosis”. A clinical diagnosis can only be made by a qualified doctor when there is no adequate or standardized medical test available to accurately confirm or deny the condition the patient’s symptoms present.
It’s possible for a patient to have been completely healthy prior to a diagnosis of CRPS. CRPS can be the result of Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence, such as an improperly performed blood test or a surgery in which the doctor acted in a manner that injured the patient, causing nerve damage. There are several rare diseases which present themselves with a side effect of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome such as Marfan Syndrome and Ankylosing Spondylitis (a rare form of spinal arthritis with an early 20’s onset), however these cases do not constitute Medical Malpractice and are extremely rare, only found in less than a small fraction of the population.
For many patients that have suffered CRPS due to Medical Malpractice, it’s often a years-long odyssey for a diagnosis while living in severe, life-altering chronic pain before an accurate confirmation of CRPS can be made, and therefore treatment can be provided. These patients who must visit doctor after doctor, none of whom can accurately pinpoint the source or the cause of the pain, and so with little help available to them in the way of pain relief often feel “excluded” from what they rightfully deserve! That being said, a diagnosis of “exclusion” actually has a tragic double meaning for them.
Malpractice’s mitigating factors
While it goes without saying that every surgeon should treat each and every surgical procedure on every one of their patients as if it’s their own loved one, with care and consideration for every cut and stitch, this is tragically not always the case. With insurance companies making unreasonable demands, hospital board members too worried about the bottom line, and worried families in the waiting room surgeons may feel pressured to complete a complex surgical procedure in less time than would prove medically prudent. This rushed practice of medicine leaves room for error, and errors in medicine leave patients gravely injured.
When a surgeon makes the decision to speed through an operation or performs his or her duty of care to the patient (doctors swear an Oath, after all) in a manner that’s considered careless in respect to such patient care, these may become grounds for litigation, should a patient whom they’ve injured choose to retain a lawyer and file a medical malpractice lawsuit. As we always make clear here on the Blog, an experienced lawyer is the only person who should provide legal advice a patient as to whether or not their CRPS-related claim is able to be litigated.
Occasionally, a diagnosis of CRPS following certain surgical procedures is a recognized complication in such surgeries where broken or fractured bones are repaired, especially those in the hands where the nerves are numerous. If this is the case and the patient has been made aware of such risks, then chooses to pursue the surgery regardless because it may be a medically necessary or life-sustaining, then a claim of medical malpractice cannot be pursued.
There are other instances, though, CRPS was not presented as a risk factor of a surgery. In these instances, if it can be proven that due to the surgeon’s carelessness, rushed work, or negligence in performing the procedure the end result was not healing and recovery but pain and injury, namely CRPS, it is then that there may be grounds for litigation and ultimately compensation on behalf of the patient.
CRPS injuries must be tried by the pros, Miami accident lawyers
Here on the Law Resource Blog, we’re known for telling the whole truth (and nothing but the truth) about everything the insurance companies try to hide! Our daily informational articles are provided to help accident victims as well as their families obtain the justice and compensation they deserve while they’re offered factual, fully lawyer-vetted articles with helpful information provided to help them on the road to physical and financial recovery.
We hope you found the Shaked Surgical Series informational, helpful, and thorough! The Shaked Law Firm wishes everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Blog for our next article series going into the New Year.