Texas RSD and CRPS Attorneys
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Lawyers Practicing Nationwide
BY BRYAN POPE
As an attorney who has been reviewing potential CRPS/RSD liability cases for the last 20 years, I have a pretty good feel of trends in the causes of CRPS. Unfortunately, I have noticed a growing number of people who have contacted me complaining of developing CRPS as a result of an IV needle stick. There are very few actual cases of nursing/ medical malpractice that can be brought as a result of developing CRPS from a needle stick.
First, it is always foreseeable that if you are getting a needle stuck into a part of your body, you may develop CRPS as a result. The nurse could do everything by the book in a correct needle stick procedure and you could still develop CRPS. In this case, there is not a potential nursing/ medical malpractice case to be pursued. The vast majority of cases I review fall into this category.
However, if a nurse violates the standard of care during a needle stick procedure, then it is a different analysis. The most common needle stick injury I see is when a nurse sticks the needle directly into a nerve, such as the median nerve, and damages the nerve. Usually, when this happens, the patient feels an immediate jolt of “electric” pain and reacts by crying out in pain. Unsurprisingly, there are very few medical records I have reviewed where this reaction is documented, allowing for plausible deniability if there are any subsequent complications from the needle stick.
If there is direct nerve damage due to a careless needle stick, usually the person will follow up with a doctor. The doctor may then do exploratory surgery to determine the extent of damage to the nerve. I have had a few cases where the subsequent treating doctor will take pictures and document the damage done to the nerve. Obviously, these are the best legal cases as the documentation and pictures provide compelling evidence of the damage done to the nerve. This also helps with proving causation in that the needle stick caused direct damage to the nerve, which resulted in the development of CRPS Type II.
Our law firm reviews potential CRPS/ RSD cases, whether the CRPS is caused by a trauma (car accident, workplace injury, slip/trip and fall) or medical/nursing negligence (unnecessary surgery/procedure performed incorrectly that damages the nerve). If you have any questions regarding what you think may be a potential CRPS/RSD legal case, please contact our office for a free consultation.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 RSDSA Community Update.