Intramuscular Injection Nerve Damage

Guinard v. Patient First Maryland Medical Group

InjectionThis medical malpractice claim was filed in Baltimore City after a healthcare provider negligently administered an intramuscular injection, causing a woman permanent nerve damage in her leg and spine. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on January 11, 2018 and it is the 20th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A 34-year-old woman presented to Patient First Bayview with complaints of intermittent headaches. Her physician decided to treat her with intramuscular injections - a shot of Demerol in her left hip and a shot of Phenergan in her right hip.

The woman screamed in pain when the needle was inserted into her right hip, and her right leg jerked and tensed up when the needle was withdrawn. The doctor assured her that she was reacting normally to the injection and the woman was discharged home without a proper assessment.

After experiencing pain shooting from her lower back into her right leg and numbness throughout the following day, the woman returned to Patient First. A healthcare provider met her in the reception area and suggested that her doctor had hit a nerve during the injection. The woman was told to take Motrin and apply a heat compress on the area of injection and her symptoms would go away within a day. She was never fully examined or evaluated during that follow-up visit.

Her symptoms grew progressively worse. After a year of ongoing treatment and pain management, the woman was still experiencing leg pain that impacted her balance and gait. More than a year after the negligent injection, the woman was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome as a result of nerve injury.

Additional Comments
  • Unfortunately, nerve damage is a fairly common injury that can occur during an intramuscular injection, especially in children. According to an article published by the National Vaccine Information Center, it is important for doctors and nurses administering intramuscular injections to hit the "sweet spot." Ideally, the injection site should have a thick layer of muscle with a narrower layer of fat, free of penetrating nerves and blood vessels.

  • Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome is also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It's an uncommon form of chronic pain that can develop after an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack. The Mayo Clinic classifies the condition as pain "out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury."

  • There are two types of CRPS. About 90 percent of CRPS sufferers have type 1, which can occur after a minor injury to the arms or legs. The claimant in this case has type 2, which is caused by a distinct injury to the nerve.

Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore City
Defendants
  • Patient First Maryland Medical Group, P.L.L.C.
  • Jane Doe, an employee of Patient First
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Patient First Urgent Care - Bayview
Negligence
  • Failing to safely administer Phenergan via intramuscular injection.

  • Failing to assess the woman after she was injured.

  • Failing to refer the woman for medical care after she complained of pain during and immediately after the injection.

  • Failing to properly evaluate the woman's complaints of pain during her follow-up appointment.

Specific Counts Pled
  • The woman will continue to suffer from and seek treatment for her Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.
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