Compartment Syndrome: A Serious Complication That Still Gets Overlooked
One of the most devastating complications from an orthopedic injury is compartment syndrome. This serious condition happens when the leg or arm muscles swell after an injury or surgery. Because a tough tissue called fascia encases the muscles and nerve tissues, the swelling can result in extreme pressure, cutting off blood flow and eventually depriving the muscles of oxygen.
Why Doctors Should Take Potential Cases Seriously
Compartment syndrome can be a medical emergency, requiring prompt surgery to relieve the pressure. If untreated, it can lead to:
- Muscle death
- Muscle contractures and deformities
- Permanent nerve damage
The classic signs of impending compartment syndrome include:
- Extreme pain
- White or bluish skin color (from decreased circulation)
- Loss of sensation
- Bulging of the muscle
- Decreased mobility or paralysis
- Absence of a pulse in the affected area
Not all of these signs may be present in every case. Although doctors have known about the risk of compartment syndrome for over a century, many doctors — including emergency room physicians and orthopedic surgeons — continue to miss the diagnosis. Because the risk of permanent damage is so great, doctors should always consider compartment syndrome and conduct further evaluation if an at-risk patient is showing any symptoms.
Contact A Legal Team That Understands This Devastating Condition
Suffering from the life-altering consequences of compartment syndrome that was undiagnosed — or diagnosed too late? Contact our attorneys at Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates. With backgrounds in the law and medicine, we are familiar with how compartment syndrome occurs. We also understand the responsibilities doctors have to recognize and treat it. If their negligence has resulted in permanent harm, you deserve compensation.