Can You Sue a Surgeon for Nerve Damage?

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You may sue a surgeon for nerve damage if the harm is a result of medical malpractice. It depends on how the nerve damage occurred, if it was an anticipated result of the procedure, and whether you were properly informed of the risks of the operation.

For a personalized consultation about your situation and immediate legal help, contact a Beaufort medical malpractice lawyer at Schiller & Hamilton.

Suing a Surgeon for Nerve Damage

Nerve pain may continue long after you have recovered from surgery. Nerve trauma can result in structural damage, changes in nerve function, and maladaptive chemical responses. There may be secondary problems, like mental health and emotional challenges that accompany the physical problems.

Sometimes, nerve damage is an unavoidable part of surgery. For example, as many as 60% of people who have a limb amputated experience nerve pain.

However, surgical nerve damage may be avoidable, or you may not have been warned that it was a possibility. Suing a surgeon for nerve damage may result in compensation. It depends on the specifics of your case.

How common is nerve damage during surgery?

Surgically induced neuropathic pain occurs in 10-40% of patients. Nerve pain may be the result of damage or an inflammatory response. Nerve pain varies in severity and the extent to which it may be treated or its effects mitigated.

Is Nerve Damage During Surgery Serious?

Serious nerve damage occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 patients undergoing surgery with general anesthesia. Sometimes, nerve damage resolves within several weeks. However, in rare cases, full recovery can take more than a year, or permanent harm may occur.

Nerve damage during surgery:

  • Varies in severity
  • Affects the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, or both
  • May be temporary or indefinite
  • May be repairable, or permanent
  • Can be a reasonable risk of surgery, or it may be the result of medical malpractice
  • Can give the victim the right to claim financial compensation

Causes of Nerve Damage During Surgery

There are multiple causes of nerve damage during surgery:

  • Transaction: During surgery, a nerve may be cut accidentally or intentionally.
  • Contusion: Needles used to place a cannula (drip) into a vein or artery can cause contusions.
  • Compression: Positioning during surgery may result in nerve compression. When awake, the body can respond to discomfort and move. Under anesthesia, the body can’t respond to compression. In addition, a tourniquet may cause compression damage.
  • Stretching: Surgical instruments can stretch a nerve. In addition, the position of the person during the procedure can stretch nerves.
  • Inflammation: Local anesthesia delivered by injection can cause inflammation.
  • Inadequate blood flow: Reduced blood flow can prevent the nerves from receiving adequate oxygen. Lack of blood flow may cause spinal cord damage under general anesthesia.

What Happens If a Nerve Is Cut During Surgery?

If a nerve is cut during surgery, it may no longer send signals between the brain and the body in a normal way. The injury can disrupt a variety of processes, impacting movement, feeling, and important bodily systems like respiratory and excretory functioning.


Symptoms of nerve damage during surgery:

  • Pain
  • Loss of feeling
  • Numbness, tingling
  • Weak muscles, loss of balance
  • Buzzing feeling, like an electrical shock
  • Inability to hold objects
  • Inability to smile, speech difficulties
  • Allodynia (pain from an unusual stimulus)

Determining whether you have nerve damage, and the extent of your injury may involve nerve conduction tests, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Computed Tomography (CT) scanning. Sometimes, treatment can help, like physical therapy and medication. An operation may be effective in relieving pressure.

Lawsuit for Nerve Damage After Surgery

A lawsuit for nerve damage after surgery is based on the following:

  • Nerve damage occurred.
  • The harm could have been prevented with sound medical care.
  • Additional medical care may be required.
  • The victim has endured physical pain, physical limitations, emotional anguish, and other harm.

The purpose of a lawsuit is compensation for the victim. When nerve damage occurs, the victim’s life changes. There may be increased medical bills to treat the damage. The victim may be unable to work or do other things they used to do. It may result in physical pain and immobility. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health injuries may be secondary.

All these losses are damages that may be claimed if you sue a surgeon for nerve damage.

Do I have a case to sue a surgeon for nerve damage?

As lawyers, when we evaluate nerve damage in surgery, we look at whether the harm that occurred should have been prevented. The standard is whether the surgeon and healthcare team did something a reasonable healthcare provider wouldn’t have done, or whether they did something a reasonable healthcare provider wouldn’t do.

A surgeon must have the knowledge and skills of a reasonable practitioner. They must know the risks of nerve damage for the type of surgery. They must evaluate the risks as they weigh whether to recommend the surgery. During the procedure, the entire team must take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks. When failures occur, and they rise to the level of medical malpractice, you may have the case to sue the surgeon.

The strength of each case is highly specific. As lawyers, we evaluate the facts and work with experts to provide medical information and opinions. We invite you to contact us to talk about your situation.

Contact a Lawyer in South Carolina About Surgical Nerve Damage

When preventable nerve damage occurs during surgery, those responsible should do the right thing and compensate victims. Unfortunately, large healthcare companies and their lawyers fight good claims.

You can have the lawyers at Schiller & Hamilton fighting for you. We’ve got your back when you need a lawyer for nerve damage from surgery.

You may qualify for compensation, but the process of building a case can be difficult alone.

Leave it to our team of professionals. We take care of everything.

Whatever your situation, you can contact us online or call 843-379-5006. We do hospital and home visits for our clients. Get in touch today.

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