A Needlestick Can Cause CRPS: What Patients Need to Know About Routine Blood Draws, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, and Options for Legal Recourse

Console and Associates, P.C.
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Attorneys across the nation have noticed an increase in the number of potential plaintiffs coming forward with a painful condition called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) that they believe resulted from needlestick injuries. The question on many patients’ minds is, “Can I sue a medical professional for CRPS?”

Here’s what patients (and potential plaintiffs) need to know about CRPS claims and what to expect from the legal process.

What Is Needlestick-Injury-Induced Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

CRPS is a condition that results from nerve injury and causes a person to experience excessive, prolonged pain—even in response to very light physical touch or completely spontaneously—as well as other symptoms. Over time, the temperature, texture, and color of the skin of the affected limb may change, and in severe cases, atrophy of the muscle and bone may hinder the patient’s ability to move the limb.

The type of nerve damage that can lead to CRPS can occur from many different causes. Recently, though, attorneys have reported more inquiries from individuals who believe a routine blood draw or injection that was negligently performed by the healthcare provider is the cause of their CRPS. When a needlestick-induced nerve injury is to blame for CRPS, it’s most commonly the result of needle placement errors or injection errors in either medication volume or delivery.

What Are the Causes of Needlestick Injury That Leads to CRPS?

Medical malpractice is a form of negligence, not—generally speaking—malicious intent. Unfortunately, medical negligence can undermine even the best intentions of healthcare providers.

Many factors can contribute to medical errors in venipuncture procedures, including:

  • Improper training or lack of training

  • Inability to correctly locate the desired vein

  • Improper needle insertion procedures, such as moving the point of the needle around under the skin to find the vein or inserting the needle at an improper angle

  • Staffing shortages that overburden healthcare professionals

  • Fatigue among healthcare professionals

  • Miscommunications among healthcare professionals, including communication failures regarding medication dosages

  • A general lack of care or conscientiousness on the part of the healthcare professional

While the circumstances that contributed to a needlestick injury may be relevant to your case, it isn’t why a healthcare professional failed to adhere to the standard of care that matters most. What is more important is being able to prove that the healthcare professional committed medical malpractice.

What to Do When You Have a Needlestick Injury

If you have recently had an unusually painful experience getting your blood drawn or receiving a medication or vaccine by needle injection, you might be wondering what you can do. While there aren’t really preventive steps to speak of that can stop a nerve injury from producing symptoms of CRPS, there are steps you can take to improve the likelihood of receiving effective medical intervention and preserve your legal rights.

1. Document the Injury.

If you notice an unusual pain—particularly one that feels like an electrical shock—at the time of the needle insertion, don’t ignore it. Alert the healthcare provider to the situation and request that they note the incident in your medical file.

This incident doesn’t mean that you definitely will develop CRPS. Most such nerve injuries heal in a matter of weeks to months without triggering CRPS symptoms. However, if you develop symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome over the weeks and months following venipuncture, having documented the injury may be important for achieving the best possible physical and financial recovery.

2. See a Doctor Right Away.

Whether your symptoms persist in the immediate aftermath of the needlestick injury or don’t develop for weeks, you should see a doctor as soon as possible once you notice them. Early intervention can prove more effective in managing and relieving the symptoms of CRPS.

3. Ask for a Referral to a Specialist.

Your primary care doctor may be able to begin ordering tests that can diagnose CRPS and rule out other potential causes of your symptoms. However, you are going to want to see a specialist, like a neurologist (a doctor who specializes in the nerves, brain and spinal cord), to oversee your treatment for complex regional pain syndrome.

4. Speak to a Needlestick Injury Lawyer.

When a needlestick nerve injury results from improper venipuncture procedures, you may have a medical malpractice case against the healthcare provider who drew your blood, gave you the injection, or inserted an intravenous (IV) line. A medical malpractice legal claim can provide much-needed compensation for medical expenses and lost income, as well as pain and suffering.

To get a CRPS lawsuit started, you will need experienced legal representation. Like other kinds of medical malpractice matters, needlestick nerve injury cases are challenging and complex. The attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. have decades of experience practicing law and offer free, no-obligation consultations and no-win, no-fee legal assistance.

Needlestick-Injury-Induced CRPS Claims Are Moving Forward Now

A routine blood draw or injection shouldn’t leave you with debilitating pain that lingers for months (if not longer), but that can happen if a negligent healthcare provider commits malpractice while performing a venipuncture procedure. In fact, needlestick-induced CRPS lawsuit claims against healthcare professionals are now in progress across the United States.

Attorneys are currently reviewing potential medical malpractice lawsuits arising out of needlestick-injury-induced nerve damage and CRPS. If you believe that you may have the grounds for a CRPS claim, consider consulting a law firm that handles complex regional pain syndrome cases about your legal rights and options.

You can learn more about needlestick-injury-induced CRPS claims here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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