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CRPS and Medical Negligence: is There a Link?

CRPS and Medical Negligence: is There a Link?

What is the link between Medical Negligence and CRPS (formerly RSD)? Shaked Law Firm explains Medical Negligence resulting in CRPS.

What is the link between Medical Negligence and CRPS (formerly RSD)?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, formerly RSD) affects every victim who suffers from it differently. Doctors estimate that 90% of those with a CRPS diagnosis suffer from Type I (without visual nerve injury). The remaining 10% of victims of this suicide-inducing disease suffer from Type II (with a visual nerve injury).

Some readers may be unfamiliar with CRPS and the debilitating, unimaginable pain it causes. Therefore, we’ll first provide a brief review of CRPS. We’ll explain how specialists are able to reach a diagnosis of this “invisible” disease.

What is Medical Negligence?

Within this article we revisit an important topic here on our Shaked Law Firm Blog: Medical Negligence.

A doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath upon receiving their medical license:

[…]If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

The Hippocratic Oath

Taking The Hippocratic Oath means the doctor swears to uphold their duty of care to the best of their ability with every patient. This includes taking their time during surgery, avoiding Misdiagnosis, and prescribing the correct medications.

Usually a Medical Negligence case comes down to a doctor ignoring their duty of care. The definition of Negligence is a person committing an act they know is wrong, simply because they are reckless and/or careless. Negligence means a medical professional does not uphold a high standard of care for patients, thus resulting in them coming to harm.

Why do doctors ignore the pain of CRPS patients?

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 diagnosis. Thus, it’s become known as a “diagnosis of exclusion”. This is what physicians normally refer to as “clinical diagnosis”. A clinical diagnosis is only available when there is no adequate or standard medical test available to accurately confirm or deny the patient’s symptoms.

Why is accurately diagnosing CRPS difficult?

Many patients suffer CRPS due to Medical Negligence for years before proper clinical diagnosis is made. These patients visit multiple specialists, present with severe pain, receive little to no help. This is because CRPS can be an “invisible illness”. The pain is real, but diagnostic testing fails to show cause. With little help available in the way of pain relief, patients often suffer from extreme depression and mental anguish. Suicide is highly common among patients with a diagnosis of CRPS.

This Shaked Law Firm Blog article on CRPS delves into diagnosis and prognosis of CRPS patients.
©Dr. Ming Kao

When do surgical errors factor into Medical Negligence?

Every surgeon should treat each patient as their own family. This means with a duty of care. (See above for the meaning of this term.) However, when doctors make mistakes, and patients suffer from their Negligence. With insurance companies making unreasonable demands, surgeons feel pressure to complete surgery in less time. Rushing through surgery leaves room for error. Errors in medicine leave patients with grave injuries.

What are errors in judgement in medicine?

Sometimes a surgeon makes an error in judgement. This could be the decision to speed through surgery. If the doctor acts in a manner that’s careless in respect to patient care, this may become grounds for Medical Negligence litigation.

What are CRPS risk factors?

There are instances when CRPS is not a risk factor of having a specific surgery. For example, if there is proof that due to the surgeon’s Negligence the end result is pain and suffering, this could be Medical Negligence. When a patient wakes up from surgery with injuries due to the carelessness of a doctor, this is Negligence. Ultimately, the #1 goal is recovering maximum compensation for the pain and suffering of the client.

What is not Medical Negligence?

Occasionally, a diagnosis of CRPS following certain surgeries is a complication a patient is aware of. CRPS is a risk in surgeries dealing with broken bones. It’s especially common in those in the hands where the nerves are numerous. If this is the case and the patient is aware of such risks, then a claim of Medical Negligence is not an option. Any possible complication the patient is aware of prior to surgery, is not Medical Negligence.

Patients are usually asked to read and sign forms prior to consenting to surgical procedures. These forms present in writing, the risks and complications that can result from the surgery.

Patients live healthy lives prior to Medical Negligence

It’s possible for a patient to be completely healthy prior to a diagnosis of CRPS.

What are some other, non-surgical causes of CRPS?

  • Blood draws. Errors during a blood test can occur due to the carelessness of a nurse. Sometimes the error is the result of a nurse who fails to use proper care when performing the blood draw. In cases where nerve damage is outcome of a blood draw error, CRPS Type II can occur.
  • Slip and fall accidents. The link between falling and CRPS is due to the nature of nerve damage during a fall.
  • Limb strains and sprains. The link between CRPS and limb sprains, specifically ankle sprains, may be due to disuse of the limb and/or splinting of the foot and ankle during recovery.

What kind of lawyer is necessary in CRPS cases?

A Board Certified lawyer is necessary for cases of Medical Negligence. These lawyers see CRPS cases to verdict, and as a result, maximum damages are recovered. Not every lawyer is equal. Not every lawyer has the experience to take on a CRPS case successfully. Clients should only sit down for a consultation with a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer.

Suffering from the debilitating pain of CRPS? Resources and hope are available by going to https://rsds.org/

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