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Compression Injuries During Surgery, Who is to Blame?

Compression Injuries During Surgery, Who is to Blame?

We were contacted by a middle aged woman who had recently undergone surgery. She and her family were told that her surgery was anticipated to last approximately an hour and a half. Concerns arose during the surgery and, ultimately, the surgery lasted almost six hours. When the patient awoke, she had pain, numbness and partial paralysis in both arms. Obviously she was asleep during the surgery, however, subsequent treating doctors explained to the patient she appeared to have suffered nerve damage because of extended compression and/or a positioning issue during the surgery. At this point of the phone call and without any discovery or document review yet being done, it was difficult to ascertain if she had been repositioned during the surgery at all. These cases are often very difficult because the nursing/hospital team of defendants tends to explain that positioning is directed by the surgeon or the anesthesiologist. The surgeon tends to explain that he or she is focused on the surgery and the positioning is the responsibility of the nursing staff or, perhaps, the anesthesiologist who is watching for signs of concern during the procedure. The anesthesiologist tends to express that positioning or repositioning is the responsibility of the nursing staff or the surgeon. In that the patient is unconscious during the surgery, it is very difficult to ascertain who is responsible for compression injuries. Additionally, some patients suffer compression injuries even in the best of care.

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