What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Your Compartment Syndrome Diagnosis

Compartment syndrome, an excess of pressure building inside an enclosed space in the body, usually results from bleeding or swelling after an injury. Dangerously high pressure impedes the flow of blood to and from the affected tissues and can cause permanent injury, or require emergency surgery to prevent permanent injury.

Groups of organs or muscles are organized into “compartments.” Connective tissue called fascia form the walls of these compartments. After an injury, blood or fluid may accumulate in the compartment, and the fascia cannot easily expand to accommodate the fluid causing the rise in pressure. Treatment requires a prompt diagnosis. If quickly treated, excessive pressure can be relieved without damaging blood vessels or tissue. A misdiagnosis or delay can cause severe tissue damage with loss of body function, amputation, or even death.

Based on the patient’s symptoms and complaints, and taking into account any injury that may have preceded the complaint, the doctor or hospital must rule out other possible causes of the pain. The onset of compartment syndrome varies from hours to days after the initial injury.

You should keep a few things in mind about your diagnosis.

1. Doctors and nurses are taught that compartment syndrome is a medical emergency. If a patient’s symptoms and complaints are ignored, or the hospital staff is not paying attention, and the patient goes untreated long enough, the results can be devastating.

2. There are tests a physician can perform to measure the pressure in compartments in patients whose injuries put them at risk for developing compartment syndrome, or whenever clinical signs and symptoms are absent or confusing.

3. Common symptoms of compartment syndrome include:

  • Excessive pain
  • Absence of color
  • Lack of feeling
  • Paralysis in the muscle
  • No blood flow

Complaints of any of these symptoms should be considered by the doctor to gauge the pressure within the muscle compartment.

4. Injuries or permanent bodily damage sustained due to a compartment syndrome complication may have been preventable. Many patients who suffer compartment syndrome lose more than the affected tissue. They have lost jobs, homes, life savings, mobility, and sometimes their lives.

If you were diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or suffered a compartment syndrome loss, contact Law Offices of Gary Green toll free and without obligation at 1-888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail. Our medical malpractice lawyers are here to discuss your legal options and a possible malpractice suit.

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