Nerve Damage

What are your Nerves:

Your nervous system is also responsible for nearly all actions of your body. The nervous system controls your pain and pleasure, your movement as well as all involuntary movements that go on behind the scenes. You have nerves all over your body. Clearly, our nerves are very complicated but yet essential to all of your body functions.

We have all experienced a twitching muscle from time to time, or felt your fingers go numb of a cold day, these are nerves acting in an abnormal way. Generally, when you warm your hands up the feeling in your fingers will return as normal. However, sometimes, if the fingers have been overly exposed to cold temperatures, the nerve could become damaged and the senses do not return.

This can happen will any part of your nervous system.

There three main forms of nerve damage. These are: Neurotmesis, Axonotmesis, and Neurapraxia.

  • Neurotmesis – Most severe form of nerve damage, resulting to complete loss of nerve function.
  • Axonotmesis – Less severe form of nerve damage, resulting from crush or too much pressure from injuries.
  • Neurapraxia – Mildest form of nerve damage, allowing complete recovery within just days, weeks, or months.

Learn more about the Nervous System here:

Causes of Nerve Damage

With at least 100 types of damage to the nerves, the causes of damage vary time case to case. While the most nerve damage cases are more common with age and in people with diabetes, any form of invasive operation carries a very high risk of nerve damage.

Causes of Damage to Nerves that may have been caused through negligence include:

  • Trauma/Compression
  • Toxic substances and Drug side-effects (i.e. medications such as chemotherapy; toxic substances such as mercury, lead, arsenic, etc)
  • Contracting Infectious diseases (i.e. HIV, Hepatitis C, etc.)
  • Sepsis of Infection

Damage can also be caused in many other ways too:

  • Cancer
  • Motor-Neuron diseases (i.e. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
  • Nutritional deficiencies including Vitamins B6 and B12 deficiency


Symptoms of a Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can have various symptoms, depending on the location and the type of affected nerves.  Some of the more common symptoms are highlighted below:

Sensory nerve damage symptoms:

  • pain
  • numbness
  • sensitivity
  • burning sensation
  • tingling sensation
  • problems with positional awareness

Motor nerve damage symptoms:

  • muscle atrophy
  • twitching
  • weakness
  • paralysis

Autonomic nerve damage symptoms:

  • dry eyes and mouth
  • sexual dysfunction
  • inability to feel chest pain (stroke)
  • too little/too much sweating
  • bladder dysfunction
  • lightheadedness
  • constipation


Treatment for Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can’t be entirely cured in most cases. However, there are number of treatments that can possibly reduce its symptoms which are:

  • pain relievers
  • tricyclic anti-depressant drugs
  • anti-seizure drugs

In many instances, your doctor may prescribe treatment for underlying diseases that may cause nerve damage. Goals of these treatments include:

  • changing your medications (if it’s causing nerve damage)
  • surgery or physical therapy for nerve compression/trauma
  • providing medications (for autoimmune diseases)
  • Lifestyle changes

It is important that a clear cause and understanding of your nerve damage is determined as early as possible.

We are here to assist you in preparing your notes in a cohesive manner and provide guidance in retaining a second opinion or expert report. These steps will help you decide if you have a claim where the injuries were as a result of a medical injury.

Late and Misdiagnosis

Late and Misdiagnosis

Medical professionals do a fantastic job of helping people in their time of need, providing expert advice and treatment to prevent injury or illness and to help with their recovery. However, medical professionals, such as GPs and nurses, are not immune from making mistakes, and when this happens the effects can be devastating. This can take the form of an ailment either not being diagnosed or being diagnosed incorrectly.

Errors of this type can result in important treatment either being delayed or not being carried out at all. As such, a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis can have a life-changing impact and it is important that if this has happened to you or someone you know that legal assistance is sought to secure a compensation amount that can help you to continue with your life.

Common Errors

A diagnosis may be delayed or missed for any number of reasons. However, some of the more common mistakes can include:

  • Failing to correctly examine the patient
  • Interpreting test results incorrectly or not accurately enough
  • Failing to refer a patient to a specialist
  • It may be that a condition goes completely undiagnosed over a lengthy period, for example if you regularly visit your GP and a diagnosis is not made when it should have been, or it could be that a diagnosis is simply incorrect. For example, if a sprain is diagnosed when in fact you have suffered a fracture.

Typical claims may include:

  • General Practice claims
  • Cancer claims
  • Diabetes claims
  • Fatal claims
  • Brain Injuries
  • Orthopaedic Injuries including Fractures
  • Spinal Injuries including Cauda Equina Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
A&E Negligence

A&E Negligence

Accident and Emergency Negligence

Given the often hectic nature of A&E wards, the potential for error can be high, especially with medical professionals attempting to see as many patients as possible. Common issues relating to A&E negligence include:

  • Failure to diagnose and treat a fracture
  • Inappropriate or substandard treatment of fractures
  • Failure to perform and/or correctly interpret diagnostic blood tests
  • Failure to order X-rays or scans and/or interpreting them wrongly
  • Failure to recognise when someone is likely to harm themselves
  • Failure to identify the seriousness of a condition and make the wrong diagnosis
  • Inadequate cleaning, suturing and dressing of wounds

Nerve Injuries

Nerve injuries can occur in many ways and can have very serious consequences, ranging from loss of sensation through to paralysis. Sometimes, nerve damage is caused through surgical error. In fact, this is one of the most common problems faced by patients who are the subject of mistakes during surgery because surgeons performing an operation will often work near various nerve endings. This means any mistake can prove very problematic for the patient.

Medical mistakes in surgery leading to nerve damage can include:

  • Nerves being cut during knee replacement surgery
  • Nerves being damaged during surgery to remove tumours
  • Knee replacement surgery resulting in nerves being severed
  • The inguinal and genito-femoral nerve being damaged during hernia surgery

Other Causes of Nerve Damage

Nerve injuries can also be caused using needles by medical professionals, such as taking blood or giving an injection. This could include a caudal epidural and facet joint injection causing a spinal cord injury or the median nerve being damaged when blood is taken from the arm. Also, local anaesthetic errors may be made if the correct precautions are not made when using a syringe or needle.

Damage can also be caused using inadequate surgical equipment, which can lead to nervous inflammation.

Where a nerve has become severed the damage is usually permanent. However, often the damage is to the

Making a Claim

Nerve damage can have lasting effects on your quality of life and can affect your ability to work. If the injury was caused by negligence, then compensation could help support you and your family and mitigate the financial impact of your injury.

Even minor nerve injuries can have a big impact on your day-to-day life and therefore, if your nerve injury was caused by medical negligence, it is possible to make a claim.

Financial compensation can help you pay for various expenses following nerve injury, including:

  • Medical care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Bills incurred during a period spent out of work

It is also intended to compensate you for a loss of quality of life.

Orthopaedic Negligence

Orthopaedic surgery or orthopaedics generally means anything to do with bones or connected tissues or more precisely, the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of:

  1. Bones
  2. Muscles
  3. Cartilage
  4. Ligaments
  5. Tendons
  6. Joints
  7. Soft tissue
  8. Nerves

An orthopaedic claim relates to a compensation claim made because of the negligence of a medical professional in treating or operating on an area of the musculoskeletal system.

Common procedures carried out by orthopaedic surgeons include:

  • Repairing damaged muscles, tendons and ligaments
  • Repairing fractured bones
  • Repairing cartilage
  • Replacing or resurfacing joints such as hip and knee joints
  • Correcting bone deformities

For the most part orthopaedic injuries are treated in a safe manner. However, in rare cases clinical negligence can occur and seriously affect the life of the patient.

Common Claims

We have helped clients claim for:

  • Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis
  • Missed fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to circulation
  • Errors in surgery
  • Serious wound infections
  • Inappropriate or substandard treatment of fractures
  • Inadequate cleaning, suturing and dressing of wounds
  • Failure to recognise the seriousness of a patient’s condition

There has been a huge rise in orthopaedic negligence claims over the past 20 years

It is estimated that Orthopaedic Practitioners are two or three times more likely to occur than claims brought against the average doctor. This is due in part to a steady rise in complicated trauma cases and an increase in complex surgery, such as joint replacement. It may also be attributed to the fact that a missed or late diagnosis can be evident for years after the fact and often become apparent on an unrelated diagnostic review.

Fortunately, healthcare in Ireland is generally of a very high standard. However, sometimes things can go wrong. If you have been harmed as a result of incompetence, lack of care or poor judgement, you may be able to make a claim.

In our experience where one has been involved in a road traffic collision, an injury can be missed by the medical team which leads to delays in the healing process and can become a medical negligence claim. It is therefore always essential in such cases to have your medical records reviewed from a medical negligence perspective.

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