Compartment syndrome occurs when there is swelling and increased internal pressure within an arm, leg or abdomen. After an injury or bone fracture there can be bleeding, swelling or fluid accumulation underneath the skin. Because the skin is not open the fluid has nowhere to escape and the pressure continues to increase. If the pressure gets too great it could compress nerves, muscles or internal organs and cause permanent damage.
The development of compartment syndrome is usually due to an underlying injury, serious burn or trauma. Doctors are aware that this can occur and have a duty to diagnose and treat it before it causes permanent damage.
If compartment syndrome is diagnosed and treated with ice, limb elevation, removal of a tight cast or fasciotomy, the arm or leg may be spared permanent nerve or muscle damage. If abdominal compartment syndrome is suspected, opening the abdomen can help release the pressure and prevent permanent damage to the intestines or other abdominal organs.
If you or someone close to you developed compartment syndrome that was not diagnosed or treated properly you may want to contact an experienced medical malpractice law firm for a free consultation and more information.