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Medical Malpractice/Broken leg hardware


I had a spiral fracture of both the tibia and fibula of my left leg on 12/13/11.  I am an insulin dependent diabetic and was treated at a local hospital.  They put plates on both sides of my on each bone.  After about two months, I had an infection, and they then put in a pin (nail) with 2 screws at the top and bottom.  The first surgeon left the practice after the infection was detected, and a second surgeon installed the pin (same practice).  The two screws on top have broken and I am scheduled to have them removed in two days.
My question is.....Should the first surgeon not used plates and used a "nail" instead, considering I am a diabetic (40 years), because of the nature of the diabetic's diminished healing?

Dean:  Sorry you had to deal with this situation and still are unfortunately.  But I must be honest and tell you what amazes me: I get questions like yours all the time dealing with very complicated medical surgical/questions and people think a lawyer can answer their questions. We didn't go to medical school. We are not trained as surgeons.  Unless a lawyer had a case that he/she litigated that dealt precisely with the issues in your medical case and, had spent hours and hours with his own orthopedic surgeon expert and also heard in detail from the ortho expect on the defense side of the case in hours and hours of depositions, study of medical journals on the subject etc., no lawyer will be able to answer your question. You have posed a medical question,  not a legal one.  What we lawyers do with you situation is, we pay an orthopedic surgeon to study your case and give us an opinion as to whether the correct hardware was used, what caused it to fail, and most importantly, was your surgeon absolutely wrong to do the surgery and use the hardware that he did.  The way I explain it, imagine 10 orthopedic surgeons who have studied everything about your case.  To have a viable case, I would say that at least 8 of those surgeons would need to say "wow, what was Dean's surgeon thinking?  That was clearly the wrong way to approach the case.  Any surgeon worth his salt would have known to not do it that way but to do it xyz way.  This wasn't a matter of reasonable medical judgment by Dean's surgeon.  It was clearly wrongly done and it has caused Dean not only extra surgery but permanent disability that he would not have if his surgeon had handled the case properly".   That is what you would need to have a malpractice case. I presume that is what you wanted to know...........whether you had a malpractice case or not.  Get me 10 surgeons.........well a couple anyhow, let's hear if they say anything like the above. We would need their opinion on the question of the plate v. nail and with that opinion we might know whether malpractice was done.  I expect however that there would not be a malpractice case no matter how bad the result.  Whomever the surgeon was, I presume he was quite experienced.  You present a difficult case.  He used REASONABLE MEDICAL JUDGMENT in regards to the hardware he used, and the fact that it didn't work out didn't mean he was negligent and committed malpractice.  Any surgeon tackling a case like yours is pretty smart, he wants a good result for you, and it is highly unlikely he and the assistant surgeon would do something just stupid. Hope this helps.  

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Glenn A. Dorfman


Thirty-four years experience in personal injury, medical malpractice and medical product liability law. Qualified to answer all questions regarding injuries and the law, except for worker`s compensation. Also wide experience in medical product defect cases ie current litigation regarding the Johnson&Johnson (DePuy)defective hip implant cases and Mirena IUD issues


Thirty-four years experience handling cases involving auto accidents, trips and fall, fires, dog bite,medical malpractice and defective medical product cases with particular emphasis in 2012 and beyond with the DePuy ASR (Johnson&Johnson) defective hip implant cases. Twenty-five years of experience with defective IUD issues as well

Jurisdoctor Degree 1976 and Member in good standing with CA State Bar Assoc. since 1976

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