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Woman Awarded Damages Over Bad Injection

Posted Aug 05 2010 12:00am
Ready Injection (medicine)
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A home-care nurse was awarded nearly $1.7 million in damages by a Syracuse jury to compensate her for permanent nerve damage caused when she was given an injection following the delivery of her baby. A state Supreme Court jury of four women and two men awarded Tina Holstein $140,000 for past pain and suffering plus $1,550,000 for future pain and suffering according to Syracuse News .

Many of my workers compensation patients suffer from sciatica which is a condition that refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or compression of the sciatic nerve. The nerve runs from the spine across the mid buttocks region. This plaintiff now suffers from as a result of an injection being improperly administered.

All nurses are taught to give intramuscular injections into the upper outer quadrant of the buttocks. The reasoning behind this is to prevent an injury to the sciatic nerve.

Patients suffering from sciatica have difficulty sitting at a desk to work, standing doesn’t necessarily help and the pain is nearly unbearable at times. Driving just to the corner grocery is a nightmare for some when the sciatica is at its worst, as is bending from the waist.

Given that this woman is a home health care nurse, I would expect that she drives quite a bit to visit her patients. In addition, to perform their jobs, all nurses must do a great deal of bending, lifting, etc. This is compounded when working with patients in a home setting where you may or may not have the proper equipment to aid in caring for the patient as you would in a hospital setting. Will accommodating this nerve damage by assuming awkward positions to sit, bend, lift create other health issues in the future? Those are just a couple of question that come to mind as a Nurse Life Care Planner when considering the amount the jury awarded her.

I also think it is interesting that: “…the Department of Health investigated the birth of Holstein’s child and found problems with her treatment and the documentation of that treatment during the delivery.” While those issues were not part of the lawsuit, it does seem to support that the care this patient received was not up to par.  Unfortunately this is an all too common occurrence found when reviewing medical records in my work as a legal nurse consultant.

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