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Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

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Old 10-14-2005, 10:09 AM   #1
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Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

Hi all, I had laparoscopic surgery around my stomach back in April and I've suffered progressive nerve pain since then. Recently my surgeon referred me to a Pain Specialist and so I'm been treated as best seems possible so far and I have no grumble with that. In fact since the surgery I've always been very pleasant and cordial with my surgeon and I've never thought that he should bear any blame for my situation; I just consider this a unfortunate situation that could happen regardless of the surgeon.

This was until last week when someone on another board said that they would be very angry with the surgeon if it was them in my position! So since then my pain has been progressing as has been the case and now I'm starting to feel anger towards my surgeon. Is this justified as they other person said???

Any candid opinions will be appreciated so I can get this straight in my head.


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Old 10-14-2005, 10:20 AM   #2
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Re: Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

I, like you had lapriscopic surgery in july 2002 for a severely collapsed lung. Since then I've had massive and crippling internal nerve damage along with external RSD. I also have been nothing but nice to my surgeon since the surgery, as he did everything he could to avoid having to do the surgery, tried 3 other things which all failed before moving on to that. After getting the runaround from him about finding some sort of pain management, I sought my own help for my pain. I suspect any support for finding PM on his part would be tantamount to an admission of guilt, at least in his mind.

I've recently thought about my legal options, being that since this surgery, my life has taken a steady decline. I doubt things would get very far though, being that I am poor and so much time has passed.


Old 10-14-2005, 10:29 AM   #3
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Re: Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

Hey Blaster....this is a dilemma I think about at least 20 times a day. I've had over 60 surgeries on my kidneys and after each one I would get a little worse. My surgeries started in 1980. Around the early 90's, research was being done on how a certain type of surgery on the kidney (I've had this type over 30 times) causes damage. Now, my conflict is that some of these surgeons knew about this type of damage (at a later date after surgery, they admitted it causes damage with repeated surgeries) but, it was ME who signed the consent forms. So, do I blame the surgeons, or myself? A little of both (more myself, than anyone else). As many pain patients are told "have this surgery or that surgery and you will feel better". I couldn't help but want to believe that, so I kept having surgery. Well, the only surgery left for me is to have the freaking kidney removed. Will it help the pain? I don't know. PM doc says it's very likely the pain is "engrained" in my spinal pathways and I would probably have "phantom organ pain" after the kidney is removed (much like the way people have phantom limb pain after an amputation). Strange, huh? I feel I have to at least try and see if the kidney coming out helps. Now, mind you, my story of being treated like crap in the ER last week. Well, if I can't be treated for partial obstruction of the kidney, who the h*ll is going to treat pain from a kidney, when there is no kidney??

Sorry to ramble. Anyway, I hold myself 99% responsible (and alot of guilt with that) and my surgeons 1% responsible for putting me in this position. Nobody forced me to sign the consent forms. Take care and have a good weekend!!

Last edited by friendly_one; 10-14-2005 at 11:43 AM.

Old 10-14-2005, 11:14 AM   #4
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Re: Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

I think life is too short and be angray wastes too much energy.

Although most consent forms are tossed out the window in a case of neglagence, where the doc did something so totally out of the normal scope of medcine that it shocks other docs enough to testitify against them. I think most of us are the victimes fof the inherent risks, HOw many people at the tim of Kstones quens surgery had had that rocedure done enough times for docs to be well informed of the risks involved. Some urgical procedures advance with tim and others fall by the way side as they se he long term result. Severing nerves for example to relieve leg pain was commnl done in the 70 to relieve radiclopothy, but due to years of seeing patient suffer even more after regrowth of the nerve they no longer do it. Does it man those dcs that did it in the 70's t at the patients request are negalegnt or simply still "practicing and learning"

Srtandards change but the reason why consent forms don't mean anything n court is because the person describing or not describing the risk was the person that was neglegent. One fof the few cases of negalegence I have seen on the forum is where someone had BAK ccages inserted from a posterior aproach rather than an anteror. Thye aren't designedfor that use, and I believe that person has a legit lawsuit if they persued it.

There are ther cases of negelegence where anesthesilogist don't dotheir job and thinks like blindness occure from prolognnged pressure on the optic nerve, something clearly never mentioned in a consent frorm and something completely preventable with repositioning at intervals throgh out surgery.

I had teribble leg pain from a impinged nerves and broken hardware, I woke up from mylast surgery with that pain relieved but numb from my hips to my knees. The surgen said it was from positioning during the 11 hour surgery or it could have been frm damage tothe nerves during the procdure, something we will neevrr know and somethin I'm sure the anesthesiologist and surgeon wuld be pointing the finger at each other for. I didn't become anfgray and confentational with my last surgeon untill I got the speach where he has done 1300 fusins and I was the "ONLT " atiewnt to ever have the problems I reported. Aside from the arogance and statitical mpossability, the guty was a jerk, but I can't blame him for the 3rd attempt to correct my back and fuse me failing. At the time They ey used all the methods that are now standards and FDA aproved, I had BMP which was still experimental "Biomorphic proteins " to promote bone growth. I had crosslinking devices to prevent twisting which was experimental then but common practice at axial junctions now, I had scar redcuing enzymes used which weren't aproved at the time but are now. Even though I got state of the art treatment, that's now a standard in fusions, Mine failed? I even had a bone growth stim. So I can't blame the doc for the failure, don't know why I'm still numb, but I can be mad at the way I was treated when I reported problems from the get go that were shrugged off and ignored. Down the road when the doc still claimed everything was a success he blamed psych problems and addiction for what I was experiencing. It wasn't until this set of hardware snapped did they know the scale of the surgical failure. Too bad you can't sue someone for being a jerk, I would be a millionare if you could.

Old 10-16-2005, 07:14 AM   #5
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Re: Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

In almost any sort of surgery,nerve damage is always a possibility my particular case,i needed to have a cavernous hemangioma removed from the inside of my sp cord as it had already bled twice and my NS told me the next one(and there WOULD be a next one)would most surely paralyze me from the chest down as one third of my cordspace was already lost due to the cav and the I could either wait for the next bleed and undergo a very emergent surgery after the damage had already been done,or I could try and have it removed under more controlled circumstances with certain definite damage but the chances of total paralyzation were much smaller.Great choices,huh?I knew going into surgery that I was going to have some very definte damage to my fine motor in my hands and the nerve that went to my legs as the NS had to pass thru these nerves just in order to actually start to remove the cav(it had to be picked out,piece by tiny piece)this also sat smack dab in the middle of the thalamic tract of my cord.This particular tract governs temp(feeling hot and cold as well) and is also the pain pathway to the brain.i actually ended up with damage to my C 7-8 and T-1 nerves,damaged thalamic and cerebellar tracts and last but not least,a damaged sympathetic nervous system.but at least I was not paralyzed.i did however lose the use of my L leg and the L hand but was able to get some of that back while in a wonderful rehab hosp. after spending almost two and a half weeks in the original hosp where i had the surgery I was transferred directly to that rehab hosp for almost three weeks of acute PT and OT.I really do feel rather lucky in some ways but in others I am damn angry.i know that some of my damage was indeed inevitable but the other crap,well,i just was not expecting that or really mentally prepared for it really.I know my NS was a very experienced NS and is actually the head of NS at the University hosp I was at,so I know I was probably in the best hands possible,but it still really pisses me off you know?all of the damaged areas have their very own little ways of showing me that they are not happy either,oh my they are sooo ******.i now have many many various disabilitys and pain syndromes from hell and some of the most godawful bizarre neuro crap ever.honestly I never ever knew just how many totally bizarre off the wall flippin neuro sensations were possible.Honestly.really incredible wierdness and pain that is almost impossible to describe.but quite honestly, if i had to choose this all again,i probably would do the same.The thought of just walkin along one day and having this just 'let go" and go down and never get back up again,to me would have been just way too devistating.unfortunetly,I was just Dxed with an aneurysm in my brainstem so once agin,i am in that same damn situation only in a much different way.i have seen both the interventional rads and my NS and so far i am told it most likely cannot be coiled or even clipped because of the eact location that it is actually in inside the superior cerebellar artery.It is in some kind of a bend and junction with anther artey.god life just sucks sometimes you know?i have to have an angiogram done sometime this week probably to give them the big picture.I am soo hoping it can be coiled and left alone.any other options are just wayyy too freaky to even think about right now.believe me, not to minimize the extent and the results of any surgical nerve damage and the resulting agony(I DO know what that feels like trust me)but honestly,i am much more terrified of any possible brain damage right now.I just cannot fathom what it would be like to lose"myself" you know?or to end up living like a cabbage somewhere lying in a bed in a nursing home.oooo,shudder!i know this saying bothers alot of people when they hear it but honest to god,just when you think things could not possibly get much worse than they are for you right now,trust me,it can.Things can always be worse.i did not think that was even possible.

sorry to ramble,I have been needing to vent for awhile and it just got outta hand.i am trying to stay positive and hopeful,we will just have to wait and see what the angio sees.I will keep ya posted when I find out anything,Thanks for being here guys,really.Marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Old 10-16-2005, 03:59 PM   #6
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Re: Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

When you are getting cut, nerves get cut. That is the nature of surgery. When you heal, scar tissue grows, that too can cause nerve damage and pain. Right now my feet feel like they are on fire because of nerve damage/scar tissue growth,,,,what ever. Can I blame someone? Nah, I don't think so. Some of us has to bit the bullet and get on with life. RSD is something that no one can predict either.
God bless you and good luck.

Old 12-28-2005, 11:32 PM   #7
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neflin HB User
Re: Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

I think nerve damage is done so often in surgery. The people lifting you back and forth from the operating table or where they do their work are not careful and grab you in a spot that is so unforgiving. Ever since my hysterectomy was done 20 years ago I have had pinched nerves in my left hip. When I asked my cousin who was a head nurse she said that it is the way that the staff pulls you around when you are under. I know this is true. When my husband had his knee replacements, one area above his knee is numb because of being handled wrong. But, saying this what can we do about it. We are under and at their mercy. Much different than it was years ago. Just very frustrating.

Old 12-30-2005, 05:54 PM   #8
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Re: Is the nerve damage my surgeons fault??

nope its not ur surgens falt many ppl have trouble from rsd scarring around nerves and so on and some dont its just a coin toss.i do think many surgery pratices should be rethought because the things that prevent prolonged trouble are often left out of the procedure but this is the falt of insurance companys and the bottom line.

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