After you’ve been through a serious accident and sought medical treatment, you most likely assume that your worries are behind you now. But there is always a chance you might develop a serious condition known as compartment syndrome. This syndrome can leave you partially paralyzed and in excruciating pain. Sadly, compartment syndrome usually develops from lax medical care, meaning that your pain and suffering was caused by someone else’s poor decisions.
If you find yourself suffering from compartment syndrome in Dallas due to someone else’s negligence, then you are entitled to proper compensation. We at The Lenahan Law Firm want to be the ones to get it for you. With our help, you can achieve a settlement to pay all your costs, with enough left over for you to relax while you recover. For a free case evaluation, call our skilled team at (214) 295-1008 today. We just want to help you get what you already deserve.
In each of your limbs you have what are called compartments. These compartments are made up of groups of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. To protect them, the compartments are covered in a thick, rigid membrane called a fascia. The fascia helps give your limbs their shape and provides important support to your arms and legs. Without these compartments and fascia, you would not be able to move as freely as you do.
However, there is a downside to the rigidness of the fascia: when the muscles inside a compartment become bruised, torn, or otherwise injured, they may begin to swell. Swelling is a normal response to injury, and in most cases, it should not present much of an issue. But when the swollen muscles begin to hit the fascia, the fascia is not able to expand, leaving the muscle with nowhere to go. This is called compartment syndrome, and it can lead to serious and dangerous consequences.
When the muscle inside of a compartment begins to swell, and it has no place to go due to the rigid fascia, the result is a buildup of pressure. This pressure will continue to build as the muscle continues to swell. The pressure will squeeze the blood vessels and nerves in the compartment, cutting off blood flow to the compartment, which, in turn, can cause the muscle to slowly suffocate. Without blood, muscles cannot get any oxygen, which can cause them to start to die.
If compartment syndrome is allowed to progress, then the muscles inside the compartment can die completely (or the nerves, which are also being squeezed, could become permanently damaged). In both cases, the limb may be paralyzed. In extreme cases, doctors may amputate the impacted limb in order to prevent the cell death from spreading.
It’s no wonder compartment syndrome is considered a medical emergency. The most unfortunate part is that compartment syndrome can arise after any number of accidents, including:
- Car crashes
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Crush injuries
- Dog attacks, and more
- Swimming pool falls
If you were involved in an accident that resulted in serious injury to one of your limbs, such as a broken arm or leg bone, then it is very possible you could develop compartment syndrome. Again, this condition is considered a medical emergency, and doctors failing to provide proper treatment can result in the loss of use in one of your limbs.
After you have been involved in a serious accident, keep in mind that you may already be developing compartment syndrome – and hospital staff should be on guard for it. You may assume that the pain you are experiencing is just residual pain from your underlying injuries.
Symptoms to pay attention to include:
- Intense aching in the impacted limb
- A burning sensation in the impacted limb
- Tightness of skin on the impacted limb
- Numbness or a tingling in the impacted limb
- Weakness of the impacted limb
- Swelling or bulging of the impacted limb
- Partial paralysis of the impacted limb
It is important to keep in mind that you do not need to experience 100% of these symptoms to be suffering from compartment syndrome. If you were involved in a serious accident and sustained an injury to one or more of your limbs, and you are now experiencing ANY of these symptoms, demand medical attention immediately. The sooner compartment syndrome is caught, the better the prognosis.
Symptoms of compartment syndrome do overlap with symptoms of other, more common, conditions. A responsible medical professional should immediately measure the pressure in your limb to see whether or not you have developed compartment syndrome. If the doctor or nurse treating you neglects to do this, then you should not hesitate to ask for a pressure measure, or to seek a second opinion.
Once your compartment syndrome has been diagnosed, you will be scheduled for emergency treatment: a surgery called a fasciotomy. In this procedure, the surgeon will cut open the fascia, and allow the pressure to be released. Once the pressure has been released, the incision will be stitched closed. In extreme cases, stitches may not be an option, as the swelling can take some time before it begins to go back down. In such cases, your incision will be left open until stitches can be made, or the surgeon may elect for a skin graft to make sure that the wound can close on its own.
While a fasciotomy is not as invasive as other surgeries, it can still cost you a great deal of money, especially if you have to get a skin graft. On top of that, the surgery causes intense scars, leaving you with a clear reminder of this difficult chapter in your life.
On the other hand, if the syndrome is not treated in time, you can be left suffering from partial paralysis or amputation. This can impact your ability to work, live an independent life, and enjoy your favorite hobbies. Compartment syndrome is not an easy injury to recover from, and if your compartment syndrome was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you deserve compensation.
After wrestling with compartment syndrome, calling a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind. Especially since the condition can develop long after the initial accident occurred. However, you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and emotional trauma. If you have suffered compartment syndrome due to another person’s negligent decisions, then contact us at The Lenahan Law Firm. Our team of experienced Dallas personal injury attorneys want to help get you the settlement that you need. Call us at (214) 295-1008 today.
- Compartment Syndrome - MedlinePlus
- Compartment Syndrome - Merck Manual
- Compartment Syndrome - OrthoInfo