Surgical tourniquets are still used commonly during procedures. They allow the doctor to work in a bloodless environment, improving the overall visibility and precision possible. Since the invention of the pneumatic tourniquet, the safety of the product has gone up. Nevertheless, many tourniquet injuries are reported every year and doctor mistakes continue to be a reality.
The Danger of Tourniquet Misuse
The major danger of tourniquets lies in prolonged use. When a portion of the body is subjected to blood loss over extended periods of time nerve injury can occur. Of course, the length of time will vary depending on the part of the body and the particular patient’s circumstances. The type of tourniquet can also play a role in injury. More modern contoured cuffs have been proven to exert less potentially damaging pressure than standard pneumatic cuffs. The inclusion of a limb protection sleeve has been shown to reduce damage to the soft interior tissue of the body. This prevents direct contact between the cuff and the body, reducing the likelihood of pinching or folding of the skin and uneven pressure.
Not Always the Tourniquet
Just because a tourniquet is in place, it isn’t necessarily the cause of nerve damage. As reported by http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org: “on that prolonged compression and ischemia would result in nerve injury, and indeed this seems both reasonable and logical. However, the authors cite literature showing that nerve injury from the joint replacement itself is an order of magnitude more frequent than nerve injury from the tourniquet. The orthopedic literature demonstrates an increased risk of nerve injury related to an increased complexity of the surgery. With a retrospective analysis, there is no way to separate the role of tourniquet time from the role of surgical complexity. More complex cases take longer. And what of the role of the surgeon? Less-skilled or less-experienced surgeons may take longer and may also have higher injury rates. We cannot therefore conclude that the tourniquet is responsible for the injury when tourniquet time is confounded by both surgical complexity and surgeon variability.” As you might imagine, determining just how involved a tourniquet is in a case of injury can be complex and requires access to high quality legal and medical personnel.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured By Tourniquet Use
If you’ve been injured by tourniquet use, either in the hospital, by ambulance staff, or otherwise, it is in your best interest to get quality advice regarding your legal rights. There are multiple variables that will determine whether or not you have a case, including statute of limitations, specific situation of tourniquet use, liability waiver, and more. You’ll need to get connected to someone who is familiar with your state’s medical malpractice laws as well as the fine details of medical injury cases. We can help. Our job is to answer questions and connect individuals with potential cases to the best attorneys in their area. Reach out to us using this free consultation form, or call us at 1-800-603-6833.