Compartment syndrome occurs when swelling or bleeding in an area creates excessive pressure within a particular muscle compartment area of the body. A recent physical injury is usually the cause of compartmentalized bleeding or swelling. The pressure can prevent blood from flowing to the affected area, necessitating emergency surgery. Failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of compartment syndrome, as well as failure to rule out this condition, can result in medical malpractice lawsuits.
The most common type of compartment syndrome is acute compartment syndrome which is typically caused by a broken arm or leg. Acute compartment syndrome develops rapidly over hours or days and can result from the fracture itself, pressure from bleeding or swelling, or later as a result of fracture treatment. If you have been injured because of negligence or medical malpractice, it is critical that you contact our attorneys. As a victim, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Our highly experienced medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve. We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.
Muscles, organs, and other body parts are generally divided into areas known as “compartments.” Internal segment walls of connective tissue known as fascia separate these compartments within the body. When there is a physical injury, fluid and/or blood will frequently accumulate and cause swelling within the injured compartment of the body. The fascia tissue that forms the walls separating the various compartments is not very elastic. As a result, when swelling occurs because of an injury, the pressure within the compartment frequently rises significantly. When compartmental pressure reaches a certain level, it prevents normal blood circulation to the tissue or organs within the compartment. Those organs or tissue can quickly decay if there is no constant supply of oxygen from blood flow. This can have serious ramifications, including functional loss and, in some cases, death. The arms, legs, and abdominal area are the body parts most prone to compartment syndrome.
A new and persistent deep ache in the arm or leg, pain that is greater than expected for the severity of the injury, numbness, pins, and needles, or electricity-like pain in the limb, swelling, tightness, and bruising are all symptoms of acute compartment syndrome. Paralysis or loss of feeling in the affected area may occur in the later stages. This indicates that irreversible muscle or tissue damage has occurred.
Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency that necessitates immediate evaluation and treatment. Early patient evaluation is critical for proper care and treatment. Missed compartment syndrome can result in amputation, kidney failure, sepsis, and death. Delays in diagnosis and treatment have been identified as the most common causes of acute compartment syndrome malpractice claims, most likely due to the difficulty in establishing a compartment syndrome diagnosis. Instead of compartment syndrome, the patient’s pain could be misdiagnosed as post-surgical or post-injury pain. Medications used to treat pain can cause symptoms to be masked.
Surgery is the only effective treatment for acute compartment syndrome. Surgical treatment usually entails a procedure known as a fasciotomy. This is essentially a surgical incision through the skin and fascia wall of the compartment, with the goal of reducing swelling and hopefully restoring blood flow. The surgical incision can be closed once the swelling has subsided.
Failing to diagnose compartment syndrome in a hospital or clinician setting is medical negligence and can result in complete loss of function of the extremity. If you or a loved one has developed a harmful form of compartment syndrome that was the result of negligence by your treating medical professionals, contact our experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.