BITTEN OR SCRATCHED BY CAT INFECTED – MN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
Our client was at a pet store in Minnesota when a kitten escaped from a cage. The manager said he was allergic to cats, so our client offered to help get the cat back. While she was in the process of grasping the kitten’s scruff and placing a soft blanket over it, the manager began loudly pacing back and forth, which caused the kitten to start growling and hissing like a feral cat, biting, kicking and scratching our client. She later learned that the kitten had actually been out of its cage for over an hour and a half before she arrived and that the manager had been chasing down the kitten the entire time, and that the kitten had been acting fearful and aggressive during the time it was running around the store. She would never have offered to assist if she had known that the kitten had been out of the cage for that long and had been showing signs of extreme fear and anxiety before she even arrived at the store.
As a result of the cat bite, our client sustained multiple bites and scratch marks over her right and left hands, and suffered from pain, bruising and swelling. She left Chuck & Don’s and drove herself to the Minute Clinic where she was examined and released. Her hands were so painful she had to use her wrists to drive, as she couldn’t grasp the steering wheel. At Minute Clinic, she was told that topical antibiotics were all that were needed, and she was advised to follow up with her primary care provider if symptoms did not improve.
However, symptoms from the cat bite and being scratched worsened over the next 24 hours, so she was seen at an Urgent Care. An examination showed multiple puncture wounds and several scratches to both hands. The examination also showed redness, swelling and tenderness, and Ms. Nelson was also showing a low-grade fever. Ms. Nelson was told of the high risk of infections with cat bites and possible complications. The PA prescribed antibiotics and told her to follow up with her primary care provider or emergency room if she developed fevers, spreading redness, increased swelling, or was unable to move her hand or fingers, as she would likely need IV antibiotics.
Several days later, there was swelling in multiple areas of the right hand and fingers, with tenderness over the puncture wounds and over the flexor aspect of the 2nd digit into the MCP joint and proximally. She was unable to fully extend her finger due to pain. Given the severity of infection and possible involvement of the flexor tendon, immediate hospital admission was recommended. She was diagnosed with infectious flexor tenosynovitis and 2nd web space collar button infection because of being bitten by this cat. She was immediately started on IV antibiotics.
Her left hand symptoms showed improvement with the antibiotics, but the infection in the right hand was critical and required surgery consisting of irrigation and debridement of her right index finger tendon sheath and 2nd webspace deep collar button abscess, with an arthrotomy and irrigation of the right index finger PIP joint. She remained hospitalized for 3 days.
Following her hospitalization, She required follow-up care for her infection, the surgical incisions, and for ongoing symptoms associated with the infection and injuries. At this point, she had significant medical bills from the cat bite and decided to call a lawyer. Even after she was weaned off the antibiotics, she continued to suffer from right hand and finger pain, stiffness, swelling and weakness, as well as numbness. Her immune system was severely compromised by the serious infection she developed from the cat bites and she continued to experience fatigue, weakness, joint pain, and generally did not feel like her normal healthy self. She was placed on prednisone for her joint pain. Two months later, she became very ill and developed a fever of 102 degrees, sore throat, and cough, then was diagnosed with oral and vaginal thrush. Because of concern of a recurrent infection, labwork was performed which showed some abnormalities. It took her several months to improve and only now does she feel she her immune system is back to where it was prior to this incident.
A year later, she continues to have symptoms in her right hand/finger (her dominant hand) because of being bitten and scratched by this cat, primarily due to her right thumb and right index finger. She notices that when it’s really cold, her right index finger will go completely numb and feel tingly and painful. She has difficulties doing many things without pain, such as writing, as squeezing a pen is really hard and it increases her symptoms. She also has difficulties opening jars of food, typing, and even holding a utensil can be painful. She still has difficulties with brushing her teeth, washing her hair, and getting dressed.
Fortunately, our cat bite lawyers were able to get this client compensation to pay for her medical bills, lost time from work, and more. Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are MN personal injury lawyers with more than 25 years experience representing people injured by cats, dogs, and other animals throughout Minnesota. The owner of a cat or other animal needs to keep their cat under control and take responsibility if the cat gets out and bites or scratches someone. If you have been injured because you were scratched by a cat or bitten and have developed an infection or other serious injury, call us for a free consultation with a top MN personal injury lawyer.