Car crashes, slips and falls, heart attacks, and even surgery can lead to complex regional pain syndrome. Sometimes, this painful syndrome is the result of a healthcare professional’s negligence. Attorney David Kates has experience with complex medical malpractice cases and is committed to pursuing financial compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and more.
What Is CRPS?
CRPS, previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is believed to be the improper function of nerve fibers that carry pain messages to the brain. This overflow of pain messages leads to inappropriate inflammation in the body.
Some symptoms can be subtle and can resolve on their own or if treated early enough in the syndrome’s progression. In other situations, the symptoms are more severe, can last indefinitely, and be difficult to treat when not addressed early on. The more serious cases can leave someone unable to work, complete household chores, or care for their children.
The debilitating pain and corresponding mental anguish are so extreme that CRPS is referred to as “The Suicide Disease.”
What Are Symptoms of CRPS?
One of the reasons CRPS is challenging to diagnose is because the symptoms can vary from person to person and can also change over time. CRPS sometimes spreads from its source to other places in the body, such as the opposite limb.
Symptoms of CRPS include:
- Continuous burning or throbbing pain (often in the arm, leg, hand, or foot)
- Joint stiffness and swelling
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to touch or cold
- Alternating between being hot and cold
- Changes in skin color and texture
- Difficulty moving the affected body part
Poor circulation, poor nerve health, and genetics can impact the degree of pain and other symptoms. These factors also affect how quickly recovery may happen.
What Causes CRPS?
CRPS usually follows some trauma or injury. Many syndrome cases follow a powerful injury to an arm or a leg, which can happen during a car collision, a workplace accident, or even a fall at home. Other types of traumas – surgery, heart attack, stroke, and infection – can also lead to CRPS. The precipitating event does not necessarily need to be severe, which can make the CRPS pain even more baffling.
If allowed to continue without treatment, the syndrome can become quite severe and can have life-long consequences. When a physician doesn’t address the fundamental issue or was responsible for its onset, you may be entitled to compensation.
What Treatments Are Available?
There’s no single test to diagnose CRPS. Instead, healthcare providers use a variety of scans, tests, and X-rays to help determine if the syndrome is present and to rule out other conditions. Treatments and therapies are usually administered by neurologists, pain management specialists, and rehabilitation therapists.
Depending on the symptoms and their severity, treatments can include:
- Pain relievers
- Nerve-blocking medications
- Intravenous ketamine
Certain therapies have shown some success in improving symptoms:
- Heat therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Even if the symptoms are minimized through medications and therapies, it is possible for CRPS to reoccur.
Health organizations continue to research CRPS causes and treatments.
Could My Doctor Have Caused CRPS?
There are times when CRPS is the result of something a doctor did or did not do. For example, there might be grounds for medical malpractice if the surgeon rushed through a procedure or acted in a similarly careless manner. If a doctor misdiagnoses the condition or delays diagnosis, medical malpractice may be a contributing or exacerbating factor.
To prove these cases, Attorney Kates must establish the doctor/patient relationship, demonstrate how the doctor breached their duty by deviating from the usual standard of care, show how the doctor’s actions or inactions caused the injury, and present the damage caused by the injury.
Financial Compensation Offers Some Peace
If you have been diagnosed with CRPS and think you could have a case for medical malpractice, it is important that you speak with an attorney experienced in dealing with these matters. Attorney Kates has spent two decades understanding complex medical conditions and their legal implications.
In New York, you have 2.5 years from the date of the injury or when it was discovered to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In cases involving children, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin counting until their 18th birthday.