Medicolegal Aspects of Peripheral Nerve Injury



  • Iatrogenic peripheral nerve injury is a known risk associated with a number of medical and surgical interventions. Depending on the nerve or nerves involved and the extent of damage, these injuries may invoke a wide range of adverse consequences for patients ranging from paresthesias and transient weakness to chronic pain and even permanent loss of function. In addition to the clinical implications of iatrogenic nerve injuries, surgeons and other healthcare personnel must be aware of the potential medicolegal ramifications. Lawsuits regarding peripheral nerve injury have cited surgical error, inadequate or absent informed consent, and failure to immediately diagnose the injury as factors prompting litigation. One study regarding neonatal brachial plexus palsies found statistically significant correlations between litigation and families' perceptions that the injuries were unwarranted, that they received inadequate information, and that their concerns were ignored or not fully addressed as opposed to the extent of injury. Delayed recognition and failure to diligently assess for these injuries early on reduces the likelihood that a successful repair can be accomplished and consequently creates a greater probability of litigation. The literature is equivocal regarding whether instituting measures such as intraoperative nerve monitoring is beneficial from a medicolegal standpoint.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13

  • 9780128026533
  • Start Page

  • 707
  • End Page

  • 708
  • Volume

  • 2