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Medical malpractice: Do I have nerve damage from a blood draw?

Whether you are having tests done or donating blood, you might be among the numerous people living here in New Mexico who have a healthy fear of needles. For most people, the pain of having blood taken is over quickly. On the other hand, are you one of the unfortunate ones who still has pain in your arm days afterward?

My arm does still hurt; what could it be?

It might be a hematoma, which is a collection of blood outside the vein. When your blood is drawn, if the vein is temporarily damaged, a hematoma can occur. You will more than likely be able to tell if this is what happened because there will also be exterior swelling and bruising.

Unless it becomes infected (worsening pain and redness), ice packs and anti-inflammatory medications, such as Ibuprofen, are recommended. It should clear up in a few days, but if it does not, you might want to see a doctor.

A more serious injury from a blood draw is nerve damage. There are bundles of nerves close to your major veins, and if one of those nerves is nicked or punctured by the phlebotomist (the person drawing your blood), you could experience the following:

  • The feeling of an electric shock during the procedure
  • Persistent pain in the arm
  • Numbness and tingling in the arm and hand

What should I do if I am experiencing those symptoms?

The first thing you should do is see a doctor to determine whether the damage is temporary or permanent. Even if the damage is temporary, you could have trouble working and performing other daily activities during that time. If the damage is permanent, it could change the way you live and work for the rest of your life.

In either case, you could benefit from contacting an attorney to determine whether you have a claim for medical malpractice. You might receive compensation for the temporary or permanent interruption to your life caused by a careless phlebotomist.

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