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Ulnar nerve damage from venipuncture in left elbow?? Please

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Unread 11-05-2012, 06:22 PM   #1
CRPSsongbird
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Frown Ulnar nerve damage from venipuncture in left elbow?? Please

I am currently being treated for an ulnar nerve Injury. I am 29yrs old and this is REALLY interfering with my life now. A little over a week ago I was seen at an E.R for an unrelated problem (Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding due to a fibroid), well I did not have such a good experience. The nurse in training who came to put in a butterfly I.V. catheter really messed up. She "fished" around in my arm for about 5mins till she got the vein THEN proceeded to try and SHOVE to catheter thru that HURT I was yelling ow! ow! The nurse did not listen just said Sorry I will be done soon, this actually went on for about another 5-10 mins.... she never got a good draw and moved to my hand, she couldn't even get the vein in my hand and called in the charge nurse (i think) for my room. She came in and got a fine draw from the other arm. I have never had this happen before. The had given me a couple shots of Dilaudid soon after so I forgot about the pain in my arm for quite a few hours. Once they got the bleeding under control I went home the next day my arm was really sore and my elbow has some pretty sharp/burning pain , by the end of the following day it had progressed yo the point of extreme pain. Numbness and tingling, loss of feeling in my 4th & 5th digits. extreme burning/stabbing/shooting pain from the bottom of my elbow down the left side of my forearm to my ring and pinkie fingers. I went to my doctor and talked to the hospital about the pain and what the nurse did. My Doctor said he thinks it is directly related and gave me a shot of Torodol for the inflammation and pain....it helped for about 3-4 hours and the pain came right back i went in the next day and saw another Doctor my my clinic as my PCP wasn't in he didn't seem to think they could have hit the Ulnar nerve In my left elbow though that it was probably related to the blood draw well long story longer I saw my doctor again this last Thursday (7 days after injury) he started me on Tramadol for pain (doesn't help) and Nuerontin for nerve pain (side effects so crazy I almost don't want to take it) . I think the Nuerontin is helping a bit it not quite so pain full but the numbness/tingling and loss of feeling are getting worse and the pain still shoots down my arm though less severe I ice it all the time but can't take much more of this...I really concerned this is permanent! And am confused from the two different doctors "diagnosis". So I guess I have a couple questions. 1. is there anything else to help the pain/numbness 2. Is it Ulnar nerve damage from the bad venipuncture, is it possible to damage it there?? btw typing this hurt like crazy when I try to use 4th and 5th digits.... and today it seems like the numbness is getting worse starting to spread to other fingers ie thumb and index. also I can not move my pinkie properly now it "jerks" and moves jerkily i guess is the bes way to describe it....Thank you for your patience in this incredibly long post
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Unread 11-05-2012, 06:34 PM   #2
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I'd see a neurologist ASAP. Document everything. You may have to get an attorney at one point. This happens, not commonly, but it does. Best to be prepared.

If you have bruises or swelling take pictures.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 06:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mrsD View Post
I'd see a neurologist ASAP. Document everything. You may have to get an attorney at one point. This happens, not commonly, but it does. Best to be prepared.

If you have bruises or swelling take pictures.
Part of my problem is i have no insurance. I've been in contact with the hospitals Risk Management person and they are willing to cover my medical expenses. I can't get in to see my doctor (yet again) until tomorrow, and have to have a referral from my PCP to see a Neurologist. As well finding a Neurologist to bill a "3rd" party is going to be fairly difficult....... I have a nagging feeling this is not going away anytime soon.....
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Unread 11-05-2012, 07:24 PM   #4
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Have you tried putting an ice pack on it?

Some minor injuries do heal up...others not. Sometimes it
depends on your own chemistry, and also your nutritional status.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 07:38 PM   #5
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Have you tried putting an ice pack on it?

Some minor injuries do heal up...others not. Sometimes it
depends on your own chemistry, and also your nutritional status.
oh yes i ice it as much as I can and have since the serious pain first presented its self! I bring them to work and bring two so one can be freezing while i'm using the other.....
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Unread 11-05-2012, 08:59 PM   #6
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I had this happen to me about 2 years ago. Tech was putting an IV in for a CT scan and hit the ulnar nerve and damaged it. I had similar symptoms (maybe a little more mild then yours though). I contacted the head of the radiology dept....reports made, etc. I also took pictures (it was horrific looking for a month).

If it's any consolation, it did heal (completely)...BUT it took between 10-12 months. I was almost at the point of contacting an attorney when I begin to notice improvement, so I waited.

Trust me, I don't let anyone start an IV near the elbow now...I wont' forget that one.

I hope yours heals also.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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I had this happen to me about 2 years ago. Tech was putting an IV in for a CT scan and hit the ulnar nerve and damaged it. I had similar symptoms (maybe a little more mild then yours though). I contacted the head of the radiology dept....reports made, etc. I also took pictures (it was horrific looking for a month).

If it's any consolation, it did heal (completely)...BUT it took between 10-12 months. I was almost at the point of contacting an attorney when I begin to notice improvement, so I waited.

Trust me, I don't let anyone start an IV near the elbow now...I wont' forget that one.

I hope yours heals also.
Thank you for your time and answer...

My arm doesn't even look injured is the weird thing. no bruise nothing. What kind of treatments did your doctor try and medicines? I want to know anything I can do to help facilitate recovery!!
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Unread 11-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #8
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Default update from doctor!!

Ok so he seems to think a small hole or tear in my ulnar nerve from the needle or cath, and its the healing that causing all the freaky symptoms. he said they can change from day to day but if the numbness doesn't go away or stays the same to come back in 2weeks...and I have been on Gabapentin for a week....the most drowsy I have ever been he said it usually levels out once your body gets used to it so another wait and see but at t wasn't a extremely negative result...
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Unread 11-06-2012, 09:00 PM   #9
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The only treatment was ice. I can't say it did wonders but sometimes it seemed to take the edge off so I continued it. I did not add any additional meds just for this. I don't take gabapentin or other similar meds. I only take small amounts of percocet for my neuropathy. But it did take a very long time to heal and certain movements was quite painful.

Just be sure to follow up as they ask, just in case it doesn't improve...so you have proper documentation of visits to the doctor.
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