$1.4 Million for the Delay in the Diagnosis of Acute Compartment Syndrome in Albany County, New York

Delayed Diagnosis

A 23-year old male recovered $1,400,000 for the delay in the diagnosis and treatment of acute compartment syndrome in the right leg in Albany County, New York.

The patient presented to the emergency department of a hospital in Albany County, New York with the classic symptoms of acute compartment syndrome in his right leg.  The patient’s right calf was swollen, hot, tender and red and he had difficulty walking on his right leg. The patient’s pain in his right calf got progressively worse while he was treated at the hospital with severe pain down his right leg into his ankle and foot.

Acute compartment syndrome is a painful condition caused by intense pressure within a closed muscle compartment which impairs blood circulation.  Acute compartment syndrome occurs most often in the legs, but can also affect the arms and abdomen.  Unless the pressure is relieved quickly, necrosis of the soft tissues and permanent disability may occur.

The diagnosis of acute compartment syndrome is made on the basis of physical examination and repeated intra-compartmental measurements.  Numbness, tingling and paresthesia are the early signs of acute compartment syndrome. Pain is severe and disproportionate to the injury or surgery, and is not relieved by painkillers or morphine.

Once the diagnosis is made, a surgical procedure known as a fasciotomy must be performed as soon as possible to relieve the pressure in the affected muscle compartment.  A delay in treatment can lead to irreversible damage to the muscles and peripherals nerves.

A fasciotomy to the patient’s right lower extremity was performed 48 hours after the patient’s admission to the hospital. However, due to the delay in the diagnosis and treatment of acute compartment syndrome, the patient sustained neurological damage to his right lower extremity as well as a right ankle contracture and complex regional pain syndrome.

The settlement funds will be used to pay for optimal private health insurance for the patient for his future medical treatment.