Without immediate treatment, acute compartment syndrome (ACS) may require amputation. If you had to have an amputation procedure because of ACS, you may be a medical malpractice victim, and you should discuss your rights at once with a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer.
How can you know if you have been victimized by medical malpractice related to acute compartment syndrome? What is acute compartment syndrome, and what is the proper treatment for this condition? How will a Nova Scotia medical malpractice lawyer help you?
If you’ll keep reading this short discussion of medical malpractice, ACS, and your rights in Nova Scotia, you will find answers to these questions, but if you are personally a medical malpractice victim, you should also have the services a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer can offer.
What is Compartment Syndrome?
“Compartments” are groups of nerves, muscles, and blood vessels in your legs and arms. A tough membrane – a “fascia” – covers these compartments. The fascia keeps the nerves, muscles, and blood vessels in place, and it does not stretch or expand easily.
Because the fascia does not stretch, compartment syndrome is a painful condition that happens when pressure within the muscles increases to a dangerous level. The pressure can reduce blood flow, preventing oxygen and nourishment from reaching muscle and nerve cells.
Compartment syndrome usually happens in the lower leg below the knee, but it may also occur in the thigh, feet, arms, hands, and buttocks.
Chronic vs. Acute Compartment Syndrome
Chronic compartment syndrome (or “exertional” compartment syndrome) is not usually a medical emergency. It is usually caused by exertion, and it is usually reversible with rest.
However, acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency typically caused by a serious injury, and it is extremely painful. When ACS happens, unless the pressure is relieved quickly, permanent disability and tissue death may be the results, and amputation may be required.
How is ACS Treated?
There is no nonsurgical treatment for ACS. It requires prompt surgery. The doctor makes an incision that opens the skin and fascia covering the injured compartment. The procedure is called a fasciotomy. Skin grafts are sometimes used.
If a doctor misdiagnoses or overlooks your ACS, and your treatment is delayed, amputation may become the only way to avoid death. If a doctor misdiagnoses or overlooks your ACS, and amputation becomes the only option, that doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice.
What Makes a Doctor Liable in an ACS Case?
If a doctor fails to meet the professional standard of medical care in diagnosing your condition, and the failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis causes actual injury such as an amputation, it can fall under medical malpractice.
However, if a doctor conducts the necessary diagnostic tests, and if those tests do not indicate acute compartment syndrome, a misdiagnosis may not be the doctor’s fault.
Nevertheless, if a doctor does not test for acute compartment syndrome when that test is called for, or if that doctor misinterprets the test results after you sustain a severe injury affecting a compartment, the doctor may be responsible for medical negligence.
If your ACS is not treated immediately, and if you are forced to undergo an amputation, you should speak to a Nova Scotia medical malpractice lawyer as quickly as possible.
How Do You Pursue a Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you suffered ACS and you ended up undergoing an amputation, you must arrange – as quickly as possible – to speak with a Halifax lawyer who has substantial experience representing the victims of medical malpractice.
The deadline (statute of limitations) for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Nova Scotia is two years from the date that you became aware of your injury, but you must not wait that long to discuss your case with a medical malpractice lawyer. Schedule a consultation at once.
If you have missed the deadline, your case may qualify as one of the rare exceptions, so go ahead and speak to a lawyer. However, if you are a recent victim of ACS-related medical malpractice – or if this happens to you in the future – contact a medical malpractice lawyer promptly.
What Does It Take to Prevail With a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
A medical malpractice lawsuit is a civil action that seeks monetary damages to compensate an injury victim’s losses. To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, the injury victim (the “plaintiff”) who is bringing the action must prove the following three claims:
- The plaintiff sought medical treatment from a professional, licensed health care provider.
- The health care provider (or the health care facility) failed to diagnose and/or treat the plaintiff as other health care providers and/or facilities would have diagnosed and/or treated the plaintiff in similar circumstances.
- The plaintiff’s health declined, or the plaintiff suffered an injury or was forced to undergo an amputation due to the provider’s or facility’s medical negligence.
In Nova Scotia, when you pursue a medical malpractice claim, you and your lawyer must establish that a health care provider’s act of carelessness or negligence became a direct cause of your injury.
Most health care providers in Nova Scotia take special measures to reduce risks to patients, but other health care providers may be less conscientious.
How Will Your Claim Be Settled?
Your lawyer will negotiate with the health care provider or facility, or with that provider’s or facility’s lawyers and insurance company, for the damages you seek.
However, if a reasonable settlement offer isn’t made during the out-of-court negotiations, your lawyer can ask a Nova Scotia court to order payment of the damages you are entitled to under the law as an injured victim of medical negligence.
What Will It Cost to Win Justice?
Financial concerns should never be an obstacle to ACS patients who seek justice after a medical malpractice incident. A reliable medical malpractice lawyer in Halifax won’t charge a fee for advice or representation unless and until that lawyer recovers compensation on your behalf.
The amount you pay your lawyer will be determined by the compensation amount you recover. If your medical malpractice claim does not prevail, you will owe no lawyer’s fee. Your first case evaluation is also offered with no cost or obligation.
Take advantage of the opportunity to obtain reliable legal advice and to learn how the law applies in your own situation. If you have been forced to undergo an amputation related to ACS, arrange to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer in Halifax, and make that phone call today.