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Emergency Room Doctors are Obligated to Ensure Patients are not Afflicted with Secondary Injuries

New York medical malpractice attorney explains how an ER doctor accidentally tied off a nerve when treating a laceration on an arm to save a patient causing him permanent injury.

In an incredible story related by a New York state medical malpractice trial attorney, a man got so angry that he took his anger out on a window by smashing his fist into it. The glass broke and one of the pieces lacerated his arm slicing an artery causing the blood to shoot out and splash onto the wall. A friend who was present at this time drove him to a hospital about four minutes away. He goes to the ER room bleeding profusely while he is waiting to be treated.

ER Doctor Causes Permanent Injury by Tying a Patient's Nerve

The ER doctor saw the bleeding and realized that it had to be stopped to save the man's life. He somehow managed to stop the bleeding by suturing the lacerated arm.

Over the next couple of weeks the man visited the hospital for follow ups. During these sessions he noticed tingling and numbness at the tips of his fingers. When he told the resident doctors, who are doctors in training, about this numbness and tingling, they reassured him that it was nothing to worry about where the pain was a result of the trauma of having put his fist through the window.

Two weeks later he went back to the hospital and told them that his problem had worsened and spread to other parts of his hand. This is what experts say is known as dermatom pattern, where every nerve in the body controls a particular anatomical function of the body.

If the resident doctors had known about dermatom pattern they would have known that man's symptoms are those of a nerve injury and sent him to a neurologist to be treated immediately. Instead, the resident doctors once again told him there was nothing to be concerned about and asked him to come back in a few weeks.

The Negligence of the Hospital Caused the Man to Lost Partial Function of His Arm

After, this went on for a month and a half, with the condition of the man's hand worsening over time, the resident doctors finally sent him for an evaluation by a hand surgeon at the hospital. The surgeon came to the conclusion that the he had a permanent nerve injury.

The man decided to get a second opinion from a hand surgeon outside the hospital. Upon evaluation, the hand surgeon recommended surgery to find out what exactly happened to the nerve. The surgery revealed that during the ER procedure the doctor had sutured a nerve that controls the functions of the hand. Having been left untreated after the erroneous surgery, the nerve had died causing permanent injury to his hand.

According to the medical malpractice attorney in the case, this is a classic case of medical negligence where the doctor who sutured the man's hand had an obligation to check if he had any other structures around the wound. Had the ER doctor been careful, it could have prevented him from suffering permanent nerve damage.

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