Medical Malpractice/My husband's hand

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Question
Hi! My husband had a work injury three weeks ago. He fell and got a cut in his hand. We wen to the ER on that Saturday. They cleaned the cut and sent him home with naproxen and bactrum... In the hospital he was in extreme pain to the point of crying like a baby and my husband does not cry. That night he barely slept and when I woke up he was in the other room crying and his hand blew up 3 sizes! We went back to the emergency room on Sunday. This day they actually gave him and IV antibiotic for 2 hours to try and decrease the swelling and assist with the horrific pain ( clindamycin and levaquin) and Percocet. Sent him back home and told him to come in the morning for a re-check. Got to the hospital the next morning and the swelling was 5 times bigger. So they decided to keep him. He was in the hospital for 1 week and his doctor was a well known Orthopaedic surgeon from the area. They ordered an MRI within the week. The lab tech said he saw something that looked like metal but the Dr saw nothing. He left the hospital with medicine, a hand that looked like Mickey Mouse's hand and still in pain and able to move three fingers and his thumb but only limited ability in the pointing finger. He was told to report to the Surgeons office the following Monday where he made an incision in the outside if my husbands hand where the knuckle is. Since this surgery two weeks ago my husband is unble to move that finger, make a fist, point the finger and the finger is totally numb. My husband mentioned the numbness and the Dr says " he doesn't think" he hit a nerve. My husband is a truck driver and a father and is unable to perform either duty like before and is unable to drive truck....what do we do?

Answer
First question is, is he covered by any Worker's Compensation?  If so, he should file a WC claim asap.  However, if he is an owner/operator or independent contractor and the only possibly remedy is medical malpractice, understand that even if he had a great case, he wouldn't see results for at least a year or two.  In other words, a malpractice case has no chance of being of any value to him and his family in the short term.

Here is the next point you must understand.  At this point, it is not clear what the problem is, why the swelling happened as it did, what treatment will be needed to fix the medical problem, the cost of the medical care, and most importantly, what the long term effects will be, IF ANY.  If you sued the hospital they would defend by saying they handled the case WITHIN THE STANDARD OF CARE.  That is, if there was a medical book on how to handle the injury, they followed that book.  They dressed the wound and provided standard antibiotics and therefore, unless it should have been clear that there was a more serious problem, they are not guilty of malpractice even if things got worse.

What I suspect is that he developed a MRSA infection.  Surely they have cultured the wound by now.  Read up on MRSA online.  This is a frequent problem that occurs particularly in hospitals when skin is broken either by surgery or in this case a wound.  Standard antibiotics are not effective and that is the nasty part of MRSA.  Hopefully standards will improve but currently, the Standard of CAre does not require hospitals to remove all causes of MRSA.  It is just a complication that cannot be predicted unless you had specific evidence of unclean conditions at this hospital that was the souce of the MRSA.  You could never prove that.

Finally, even if malpractice occured, there must also be major and severe damages because it takes a big sum of money and a long time to succeed in a malpractice case so unless he fails to recover and ends up with a permanent impairment  (the worst MRSA cases involve amputations), no lawyer will take interest.  God forbid, if he did lose the use of that hand permanently, you should go talk with a big malpractice firm but as I said at the outset, you need more time to find out what the medical problem is and whether he will recover.  If he will not recover, it should be looked into by a big malpractice firm that can affort to hire experts to provide an opinion on the question of malpractice, which is the first step.  Good luck

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Glenn A. Dorfman

Expertise

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

Experience

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

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

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