The damage done to a complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) patient’s body is indescribable, and not only because of the physical damage done to the sufferer’s bone structure, muscle strength, and nervous system integrity. The pain, as well as the mental and emotional trauma that a sufferer of chronic pain goes through, is something no person should have to experience.
If reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and causalgia are not treated quickly, the body can suffer far more harm than the original injury would have caused. This can include the degradation of bone matter into the bloodstream, irreparable nerve damage, tissue damage caused by fluid leaking from dilated blood vessels, and the loss of muscle structure and integrity.
Over time, muscle weakness and disuse can lead to atrophy of a limb or extremity. In some cases, atrophied limbs require amputation. Thus, what should have been a routine hand surgery to fix torn ligaments could lead to the amputation of an entire arm. This may seem extreme, but it is a realistic outcome of medical negligence.
Similarly, a broken arm or foot from an automobile accident, which should heal within 6-8 weeks, might instead lead to a lifetime of pain and confinement to a wheelchair. The damages caused by negligence can be far worse than they first appear, and a simple accident could be the beginning of a lifetime of suffering.
As such, the damages awarded to an injured person in a Complex Regional Pain Syndrome lawsuit who develops CRPS should reflect the impact of the disorder. The drunk driver who caused the wreck in which a person broke their leg and developed RSD should not simply pay for the cost of fixing the broken leg. Rather, the damages awarded to the injured party should be relative to the pain, the treatments, and the hospital visits that become a routine part of a CRPS patient’s life.
In a case of CRPS caused by medical negligence or malpractice, the damages should be greater. A surgeon is trusted with the safety of the patient that they treat, and is being paid to fix a problem. Any complication that results from the surgeon’s incompetence should be dealt with forcibly and in such a way as to ensure that a similar fate does not await others.
If a surgeon’s incompetence leads to a botched surgery, it should be addressed and damages awarded to the patient who suffered from the medical professional’s negligence. Additionally, a medical professional who not only botches a surgery, breaking the implicit contract he made with the patient to keep him or her free from harm, but also leaves the patient with a chronic condition has committed a far worse crime.
In cases such as these, it is reasonable not only to ask for compensation for the botched surgery, but also for compensation for every medical need arising from the condition caused by that surgeon’s negligence. The damages awarded to the sufferer of CRPS should allow that person to live their life without having to worry about the financial complications caused by their condition.