There are some lovely benefits to living in the “Garden State,” but it can be tough on people with severe allergies, or chronic infections. Some people take medications, and others undergo medical procedures to lessen the symptoms. But if you can take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth without thinking you’re going to suffocate, you may be taking your breathing for granted.
Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS) is an odd-sounding disorder, which afflicts some people after they have had a specific kind of surgery for symptoms such as frequent sinus infections, constant post-nasal drip, stuffy noses and itchy throats. It can also affect patients who undergo surgery to correct a deviated septum.
A story in the Huffington Post offers a first-person account of a woman who has suffered from ENS for the past 20 years, since she had surgery to help alleviate her chronic sinusitis. The author describes how her turbinates, which are small but vital organs that send the signal to your brain that you are breathing, were damaged by her surgeon. The nerves which govern involuntary functions such as breathing, heartbeat and temperature control were also severed. This caused her to be unable to feel the air coming in and out of her body when she was breathing or speaking, so her brain caused her to believe that she was constantly feeling as if she were suffocating and on the brink of death. This misperception of suffocation, constant hyperventilation, and feeling panicked all the time takes its toll.
What causes Empty Nose Syndrome?
An article on Healthline estimates that about 80% of Americans have a deviated septum, which means that the bony structure and cartilage that runs vertically through the center of the nose is off-center. Enlarged turbinates is often a symptom of a deviated septum, and it can hamper a person’s ability to breathe evenly. Most people who undergo the surgery to correct a deviated septum and enlarged turbinates recover without any related problems. In some cases, people develop the symptoms of ENS.
Empty Nose Syndrome is caused by medical negligence. Per the article, symptoms of ENS can emerge right after surgery, or slowly over the course of weeks and months or even years. The stress hormones released because of the sense of panic surrounding the person’s perceived inability to breathe takes its toll on every organ system of the body and the person’s mental health.
Can those suffering from ENS recover compensation for medical malpractice?
A story on the Consumer Affairs blog reports that a New York couple received $2.5 million in a medical malpractice case for injuries David Carey, the plaintiff, suffered after a botched septoplasty to correct his deviated septum and a bilateral inferior-turbinate resection. Following the surgery, Mr. Carey complained of headaches. He was found to have a fracture of his cribriform plate which is a bone structure in the nose. He then underwent a second surgery to repair the fracture and he continued to experience headaches.
In Mr. Carey’s case, he was able to come to a settlement with the defendant, Dr. Green, for the medical negligence that caused his injuries. He claimed that the physician’s procedures deviated from the accepted standard of practice for the ear, nose and throat medical specialty, and that this breach caused his injury. Mr. Carey’s wife also received part of the settlement for loss of consortium, a type of damages available to spouses of injured people to compensate them for the loss of services that their spouse was unable to perform because of their injury.
A skilled New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can review your injury from medical negligence and advise of your legal options.
If you or someone you care about was injured because of medical negligence, you are welcome to call the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-777-0100, or contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Our offices are conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and we serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.