Most people understand that there can be risks associated with any kind of surgery, whether the procedure is a minor or major one, but no one goes into surgery worrying that they may suffer a serious injury – or even death – because of the negligence of their surgeon or other medical personnel.
One of the most common medical malpractice incidents that occur is nerve damage, specifically to the femoral nerve or one of the iliac arteries. The femoral nerve is one of the largest nerves in the leg, starting in the pelvis and running down the front of the leg. The nerve helps the muscles move the hip and straighten the leg and allows feeling to be felt in the front of the thigh and lower leg. There are three iliac arteries, with each one originating in the hip area. The arteries carry blood to the pelvis and the legs.
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There are two ways that surgical mistakes can cause damage to the femoral nerve or iliac arteries, either by an error made by the surgeon or an error made while anesthesia is being administered.
The majority of surgical procedures involve the surgeon operating close to nerves. Whenever there is unintentional contact between a nerve and a surgical instrument, there is a high risk of damage to the nerve. A nerve can become inflamed just by an instrument’s rubbing against it.
Administration of Anesthesia Error
If there is an error while the patient is administered anesthesia during the procedure, it can cause serious nerve damage. There are three different types of anesthesia:
- Local: This type of anesthesia only affects the part of the body that is being operated on. The surgeon administers local anesthesia with a syringe. Any contact between a nerve and the syringe can result in damage to the nerve.
- Regional: The anesthesia is injected into the patient’s spinal column. The spinal column is made up of nerves which send signals from the brain to the lower extremities. If the anesthesiologist damages the group of nerves that he or she is injecting into, the patient can be left with severe nerve damage.
- General: In general anesthesia, the patient’s is induced into unconsciousness, with their whole body affected. Since the patient is not alert and not responsive to pain, they can suffer injury to nerves if they are left in the same position for an extended period of time, restricting blood flow to the area.
When a patient has suffered nerve damage due to surgical error, they may be left with one or more of the following conditions:
- Temporary loss of feeling
- Permanent loss of feeling
- Numbness or tingling in extremities
- Burning pain
- Loss of motor function
Is It Medical Malpractice?
In order to prove malpractice, there must be three elements that a Virginia medical malpractice attorney will need to prove:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship that existed.
- The surgeon (or anesthesiologist) was negligent at some point before, during, or after the procedure.
- That negligence caused harm to the patient.
The harm that the patient may have suffered because of the medical negligence includes:
- All of the expenses associated with medical care, including treatments, medication, therapy, and medical equipment
- Loss of income, as well as loss of future earning capacity and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life’s enjoyment the same way prior to the injury
Contact a Va. Surgical Error Attorney
If you or a loved one have suffered a femoral nerve, iliac artery, or any other injury during a surgical procedure, contact a Virginia medical malpractice attorney today. The legal team at Shapiro & Appleton have built a significant reputation for aggressively advocating for our clients and obtaining the financial compensation they deserve for the losses they have suffered. Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation.