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Medical Malpractice/Broken hardware ...blade plate

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Question
Pilon fracture 10/11/12...surgery to repair on 11/2/12 after extended hospitalization to treat bone infection after bone exposure...followup on 4/25/13 x-ray showed hardware fracture, not near any screw placement..Dr. asked me when was accident or injury that caused the plate to break...there was no injury or accident..plate failed during normal rehab, weight bearing ! Now this hardware has to be replaced obviously with additional costly surgery...first was 300K+... is this plate failure a common occurrence ? I'm miserable and in considerable pain...all work was performed at the University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville,Ky ! Orthopedic follow ups at UofL Physicians ACB in Louisville...

Answer
Douglas: You need to pose your question to an orthopedic surgeon. No lawyer can really answer the question for you unless they had such a case in the past and were thoroughly briefed and supported by an orthopedic surgeon who had worked with such hardware. I am currently devoting most of my practice to the Johnson & Johnson DePuy metal on metal hip implant litigation which is of no value in answering your question. However, the most direct route to your answer is as follows:  From your surgical records, find out the name, brand, product description, size, lot number, serial number and manufacturer of the plate.  Then google something like  "Jones Prosthetics pilon plate failure/lawsuit/attorney" and see if there has been any litigation, any discussion on point.  Maybe there has been a recall of the product, but I doubt it.  But if there have been any signifigant number of fractures like yours, someone, likely a lawfirm, has investigated it. Or, there may be medical journal articles or websites on the subject.........but you need complete identification of the implanted plate.  Unless there are hundreds of such failures in the country, unlikely that there would be any ongoing litigation, class action etc.  Costs millions to hire the metalurgists, engineers, scientists, MDs, researchers, etc. to build a case that the manufacturer was negligent in the design or manufacturer of a defective implant.  So, if that is a deadend, then was there medical malpractice that caused the failure.  Only an orthopedic surgeon could offer an opinion on that and since your problem will hopefully be resolved eventually, the damages won't be high enough to interest a lawfirm in paying the bucks to find a medical expert to research your case and act as your expert in the malpractice case.

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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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