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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy


Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a disorder characterized by chronic pain, and changes in skin, muscle, and bone. RSD may occur following a personal injury from medical malpractice such as unnecessary operation, needle stick when drawing blood or starting IV, or bad outcome after surgery such as carpal tunnel. RSD may also follow crush injuries such as foot run over by a forklift in a construction accident, hand slammed in a door, or trip and fall causing a sprain.

Chronic pain may stem from changes in the neurons in the brain or spinal cord. In litigation RSD, a plaintiff needs to show a jury why the changes cannot be fixed. An expert may be the neurobiologist. Neurobiology is the study of cells of the nervous system and organization of cells into functional circuits that process information.

The expert discusses how a normal neuron looks and how a normal neural synapse happens. When a person is subjected to long periods of pain, there is hypersensitivity in all affected areas. Without this process, there is no memory or learning. This type of pain could happen to anyone when struck with a personal injury.

By showing the jury changes in the cell, the jury is able to see why changes in the neurons are permanent. Even when RSD becomes non-painful, any minor trauma can set it off. The plaintiff may never recover his/her health. Pain signals first past through the brain. There is a connection between pain and fear. Painkillers such as morphine may work differently in the brains and spinal cords of people. Between the sexes, women tend to be more sensitive to threats than men and experience more depression and anxiety, which may lead to more intense pain. Computer graphics can be used to illustrate pain signals.

Plaintiffs with RSD may be entitled to social security disability benefits. Plaintiffs receiving social security benefits may have an easier time establishing damages to a jury. A ruling by the US government that a plaintiff is disabled makes it hard for the defense to argue a plaintiff did not suffer a substantial loss in wages. To get social security, the plaintiff must have paid money to social security. Disability means a continuous time where the plaintiff is not able to do any gainful activity by reason of medically determined physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or which lasts for at least 12 months.

When suffering chronic pain from medical negligence or personal injury, engage a Hawaii accident lawyer ready to establish permanent losses in earnings capacity and physical disability.