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NJ Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Lawsuits

CRPS PainResearch has shown that a procedure as routine as a blood test or injection can, in rare but serious cases, cause patients to develop an extremely painful condition called complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. This condition can trigger irreversible changes in your body and, in some instances, leave the patient with permanent disabilities.

A CRPS diagnosis can raise more questions than answers, even if it finally gives the cause of your pain a name. Will CRPS ever go away? What should patients expect when it comes to living with CRPS long-term?

Claimants are increasingly coming forward with cases of CRPS that, they allege, were caused by a negligent phlebotomist, nurse, or another medical professional improperly performing a needlestick procedure. The compensation you can receive from pursuing a CRPS claim can help you afford the medical care you need, make up for the income you lose while unable to work, and improve your quality of life.

It costs nothing to get your questions answered and nothing upfront to move forward with a claim. Just call (866) 778-5500 today for your free, no-obligation consultation with our knowledgeable legal team.

What Is CRPS?

CRPS is the medical abbreviation for a rare but serious condition known as complex regional pain syndrome. In CRPS, injury to or improper function of nerve fibers in the body causes excessive and prolonged pain, along with other symptoms.

Complex regional pain syndrome can be acute or chronic and can range in severity from mild to severe. Other names historically used for complex regional pain syndrome include reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and causalgia.

There is no CRPS cure, but the condition is treatable. Most people who develop complex regional pain syndrome will recover, although recovery can take months or even years as the nerve regrows. Some patients face long-term disability and symptoms that may get worse over time.

CRPS Symptoms

As the name suggests, complex regional pain syndrome is characterized by feelings of pain—particularly pain that is experienced in excess or for a prolonged time.

The symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include:

  • Prolonged or excessive pain in the affected limb following physical activity or light to normal physical contact
  • Spontaneous pain often described as a burning, squeezing, or “pins and needles” sensation
  • Swelling or differences in skin temperature, texture, or color of the affected limb compared to other limbs
  • Impaired ability to move the affected limb
  • Joint stiffness, often resulting from reductions in the movement of the affected limb
  • Abnormal bone growth or bone resorption (loss) in the affected limb

CRPS Stages and Types

Cases of complex regional pain syndrome are divided into two types. The primary difference in CRPS type 1 vs. 2 is whether a definite injury to the nerve can be identified. CRPS type 1, in which physicians can identify no definite nerve injuries or lesions causing the condition, is far more common, accounting for about 90% of cases, according to Mayo Clinic. In patients with CRPS type II, there is definite evidence of distinct nerve injury or damage.

Like many other medical conditions, complex regional pain syndrome develops in stages.

  • Stage 1, the acute stage
  • Stage 2, the subacute stage
  • Stage 3, the chronic phase

The difficulties posed by chronic CRPS may sound scary as you contemplate the realities of living with chronic regional pain syndrome. It’s important to know that most cases of CRPS are mild in severity and will improve as the damaged nerve heals and regrows.

Even though CRPS isn’t curable, there are numerous treatment strategies that can be used to help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients living with CRPS. Pursuing a CRPS lawsuit can help you afford the medical care you need to make the best possible physical recovery.

What about the statistically rare yet devastating instances where a person does develop a long-term disability that interferes with their daily life? Through a CRPS compensation claim, you can seek financial damages to cover economic losses like medical expenses and loss of income, as well as non-economic damages like your pain and suffering and the decline in your quality of life.

Was your CRPS pain preventable?

What Is Needlestick-Injury-Induced CRPS?

Needlestick injury is a broad term that encompasses any injury, including mild ones, that involve being stuck with a needle. Generally, needlestick injuries that cause complex regional pain syndrome are intentional (not accidental) but, often, were performed improperly in some way that contributes to a nerve injury.

Why Is CRPS So Painful?

The nerves in your body are what transmit pain signals from the limb that experiences the sensation to the brain and spinal cord.

Injury, trauma, or damage to small fibers of nerves—which lack the protective myelin sheath found in larger nerves—is what causes the experience of excessive, prolonged pain that characterizes CRPS, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The damaged nerves and the inflammation around them are thought to function abnormally, persistently sending pain signals to the nervous system, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Diagnosing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

To diagnose CRPS, doctors may order a variety of different tests and procedures. Some of the diagnostic tests patients with CRPS commonly undergo include:

  • A physical examination
  • X-ray imaging tests
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including special MRI tests called magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) that can show nerve damage
  • Ultrasound or sonography imaging
  • Electromyography
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • Triple-phase bone scans
  • Nerve biopsy
  • Experimental surgery

Getting diagnosed and starting treatment as soon as possible can improve your prognosis.

How to Treat Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome

Treatment for CRPS can take many different forms…

Pharmaceutical medications that may be used to treat complex regional pain syndrome include:

  • Corticosteroids like prednisolone
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Opioids
  • Non-opioid painkillers like acetaminophen
  • Neuropathic pain medications like pregabalin and gabapentin
  • Topical lidocaine ointments and sprays
  • Pain-relieving skin patches
  • Bisphosphonates that decrease bone changes
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections

Beyond pharmaceutical interventions, your CRPS treatment may include therapies and treatments like the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Noninvasive nerve stimulation delivered through a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit
  • Surgical procedures that allow for spinal cord stimulation and implanted neurostimulation
  • Spinal-fluid drug pump implants
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Graded motor imagery
  • Biofeedback
  • Psychotherapy

For CRPS patients whose illness may be the result of malpractice on the part of a healthcare provider, the compensation attained through a CRPS lawsuit can cover the medical expenses you incur over the course of your treatment.

How Common Is Needlestick-Injury-Induced CRPS?

In general, it is considered rare for a routine blood draw or another medically-indicated needlestick to cause serious injuries like nerve damage that leads to CRPS.

Venipuncture, the clinical term for puncturing a vein in the body as part of a medical procedure, is the most frequently performed minimally invasive medical procedure, according to an article published in the Journal of Hand Surgery. Of the millions of blood draws performed across the United States each day, most produce only minor side effects like mild soreness or bruising.

However, just because a needlestick injury that causes complex regional pain syndrome is uncommon doesn’t erase the serious harm that occurs when this rare event happens.

CRPS Causes

“More than 90% of CRPS cases result from some type of nerve injury or trauma…”
More than 90% of CRPS cases result from some type of nerve injury or trauma that causes damage to the thinnest of the sensory and autonomic nerve fibers located in the affected limb, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. That doesn’t mean, however, that 90% of CRPS cases result from needlestick injuries. More commonly, the nerve injury that triggers CRPS is the result of a fracture, sprain, strain, cut, or burn. Other CRPS causes include limb immobilization, which may occur when a broken limb is put in a cast, and undergoing surgery.

Cases of CRPS arising out of needlesticks and superficial cuts are, according to the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “very rare.”

The rareness of needlestick-injury-induced CRPS is because blood draws and injections are supposed to be performed by a trained healthcare provider practicing in accordance with the standard of care. It is possible, though rare, for a needlestick to lead to a nerve injury that causes CRPS if no medical error occurs—but this debilitating outcome is more likely when the health professional performing venipuncture has committed medical malpractice.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a CRPS Lawsuit?

No Fee Promise You Don't Pay Unless We Win Console & Associates PCIf you’re thinking of pursuing a needlestick nerve injury lawsuit against a phlebotomist, a nurse, or another type of health care provider, you need experienced legal representation. Proving that an individual patient’s CRPS resulted from medical malpractice isn’t easy.

You may have experienced the immediate shock of pain that can accompany a needle being stuck directly into a nerve—and flinched or cried out in pain as a result—but your health care team may not document this occurrence in your medical file. This lack of documentation makes proving malpractice particularly difficult.

An experienced medical malpractice law firm like Console & Associates can review your medical records, thoroughly investigate your condition, and secure the services of expert witnesses who are qualified to provide expert opinions on the cause, severity, and impact of your condition.

Our NJ medical malpractice attorneys are standing by to answer your questions during a free, no-obligation consultation. We make every client our No Fee Promise and provide high-quality legal representation on a no-win, no-fee basis. Call (866) 778-5500 to get your case started today.