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Is Post-Operative Nerve Damage Medical Malpractice?

nerve pain

Our bodies are endlessly complex. Any surgery involving invasive access to your body carries its own risk, even mundane procedures like wisdom tooth or appendix extraction. Our nervous system is vulnerable during these surgeries. If you experience numbness or paralysis due to nerve damage during a routine surgery, do you have a case for medical malpractice?

As in any medical malpractice case, you’ll first want to establish how either your surgeon or your anesthesiologist (the two most common parties in nerve damage cases) were negligent in their care.

Negligence means the caregiver deviated from the standard of care expected of every medical professional. In Indiana, caregivers must be able to use the same skills as proficiently as similarly skilled professionals in their medical field. If your surgeon or anesthesiologist was negligent and did not meet the standard of care for your state, then you could have grounds for a medical malpractice case.

Surgeon Negligence

operating equipment

If your surgeon warns you during pre-operative preparations that nerve damage is a potential side effect of your operation, and you decide to proceed with the operation anyway, then you’ll have difficulty proving negligence because your caregiver made you aware of the risk ahead of time.

For example, nerve damage along the lower jaw is a common complication of wisdom tooth extraction. It’s common practice for dental surgeons to warn patients, especially those with deeply impacted lower wisdom teeth, about the potential for nerve damage during extraction.

However, giving advance warning of potential nerve damage risks does not protect the surgeon if they substantially damage your nerves during an operation. Accidental nerve sundering or irritation are common types of medical malpractice that stem from negligence during wisdom tooth extraction.

Anesthesiologist Negligence

medical equipment

Since anesthetics mostly deal with numbing and limiting motor function, a common source of post-operative nerve damage stems from anesthesiologist error in administrating anesthesia.

Improperly administering any type of anesthetic—local, regional, or general—can result in nerve damage of varying severity. This could mean unnecessarily prolonged numbness, pinched nerves, and other complications.

In any case, you must establish that your nerve damage resulted directly from negligence by your surgeon or anesthesiologist. If the damage was caused by something you did, or you had a pre-existing condition that you didn’t disclose to your surgeon or other caregivers, making a medical malpractice case will be difficult, if not impossible.

Help from an Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Surgery and subsequent recovery are scary enough without also worrying about how complications like nerve damage could affect how long it takes for you to return to your normal routine. If you or someone you know has suffered nerve damage following an operation due to the negligence of a caregiver, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help.

Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our Indiana medical malpractice lawyers are here to help.