July 2009 Archives

Compartment syndrome is an emergency medical condition that occurs when pressure builds up inside one of the muscle compartments of the body.  Usually the result of trauma or over-exertion, compartment syndrome can be both limb-threatening and life-threatening.  When swelling occurs inside of a closed muscle compartment, the pressure can build up rapidly because the muscle compartments are not expandable.  If the pressure reaches a certain point, the arteries which supply blood to the muscles and nerves become compressed, which can cause permanent damage to tissues and nerves.  If the compartment syndrome is not timely diagnosed and treated, usually by surgical decompression, the consequences can be devastating and can include permanent paralysis, limb loss, and even death.

The symptoms of compartment syndrome include severe pain, numbness and tingling, or a feeling of tightness or burning in the affected extremity.  If you experience these symptoms, especially following an injury or a period of vigorous exercise, you should immediately seek medical attention.  Doctors can perform a neuro-vascular examination of the affected extremity and, if necessary, they can directly measure the pressures inside of the muscle compartment using a special catheter.  If the pressures are sufficiently elevated, the patient will require an emergency fasciotomy surgery which entails making deep incisions into the muscle compartment in order to relieve the pressure and swelling.  If the pressure is not relieved in a timely fashion, the muscles and nerves will die, which can lead to amputation and possible renal failure or even death.  

Dever and Feldstein, LLC formerly represented a professional basket player who suffered a severe lower leg fracture while playing basketball.  He was taken to the hospital and placed in a cast by an orthopedic surgeon who wisely decided to admit our client to the hospital for overnight observation.  The orthopedic surgeon wrote orders to the nurses to perform neuro-vascular checks every two hours in order to identify any signs or symptoms of a developing compartment syndrome.  Tragically, the nurses failed to follow these orders, and when the orthopedic surgeon returned the next morning, he discovered that our client's leg was extremely swollen and neurovascularly compromised.  Our client was rushed into emergency fasciotomy surgery, but by this point the muscle had become partially necrotic and there was permanent damage to the nerves of the lower leg.  Our client was left with a significant limp and his career as a profession basketball player was over.  Our firm took on the case and retained several prominent orthopedic surgery experts who testified that the hospital nurses had breached the standard of care and thereby caused our client's permanent injuries.  After two years of hard fought litigation, we obtained a signficant settlement for our client, which compensated him for his lost future earnings, as well as his pain and disability.

If you or someone you know has suffered significant injuries due to a delay in diagnosis of compartment syndrome or other serious medical condition, please contact our firm for a confidential, no-charge consultation.    

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Ear pain (otalgia) is commonly reported by children who tend to suffer frequent ear infections, but it is less common and a potentially more serious symptom for adults.  Adults who suffer ear pain should promptly see their primary care doctor who will take a history and perform an examination to see if there are any obvious problems in the external or middle ear, such as infection.  If there are no obvious problems in the ear itself, and if the pain fails to respond to usual therapies, the primary care doctor should send the patient to a specialist for a comprehensive head and neck examination to determine whether the patient is suffering "referred" ear pain -- meaning that is originating elsewhere in the head or neck.  Possible causes of referred ear pain include TMJ dysfuction, sinusitis, dental impactions or infections and, most seriously, cancers of the the head and neck.  The medical literature strongly indicates that cancer must be ruled out in any adult patient with unexplained hear pain, especially patients who drink or smoke, which signficantly increases their risk for throat and mouth cancers. 

Dever and Feldstein, LLC previously represented the surviving husband and teenage daughter of a 32 year-old woman who died tragically as a result of a significant delay in the diagnosis of her throat cancer.  In the year prior to her cancer diagnosis, our client had visited her primary care doctor on several occasions complaining of severe ear pain, but the doctor repeatedly declined to refer her to a specialist and instead kept prescribing her anitbiotics even though she had no symptoms of infection.  By the time the cancer was finally diagnosed by another doctor, it had already spread to the lymph nodes, and our client was compelled to undergo extensive surgery and months of chemotherapy and radiation before she ultimately succumbed to the cancer.  We sent our client's medical records to leading medical experts in the fields of internal medicine and head and neck oncology who advised us that the primary care doctor had committed medical malpractice by failing to refer our client to a specialist to determine the cause of her ongoing ear pain.  Our experts further advised us that our client's cancer could have been successfully treated if she had received a timely diagnosis of her condition.  Based upon the findings of the medical experts, our firm filed suit and aggressively litigated the case for more than a year before ultimately obtaining a large confidential settlement for our clients.

If you or someone you know has experienced a significant delay in the diagnosis of a cancer or other serious medical condition, please contact the lawyers at 1-(888) 825-9119 for a confidential, no-charge consultation.      

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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