Medical Malpractice/wrist fracture


In November my husband was in an accident that left his left wrist fractured dislocated.  He was taken to an Emergency room and then transferred to a larger hospital where they performed emergency surgery to set the bones and stabilize them with an external fixator. When they removed the bandages the day after the surgery his hand was turned so that it looked like his thumb was turning in toward the hand.  The dr. looking after him said it was just swelling. This happened 400 miles from our home so upon his release we began looking for an orthopedic closer to home and at his initial follow up with an orthopedic connected to that hospital they had wrote the wrong date on the appointment card and the dr was out of town.  It took 2.5 weeks to have his medical records to sent to the orthopedic closer to our home.  When he finally went to the local orthopedic we were told that the ulna had not been pinned and had either been set wrong or had moved since the surgery causing his hand to turn like that.  It had began healing for 3 weeks in the wrong position so he had another surgery where his external fixator was adjusted and the ulna was pinned in place.  He has been through physical therapy and the hand only has 30% movement in it, he can use it very little in his line of work and it hurts constantly. The local orthopedic said it healed better than expected but worse than he hoped since it had healed improperly for 3 weeks.
Does he have legal recourse?

Does he have legal recourse?  Possibly.  First thing, check what the Statute of Limitations in your State is.  In my State it is only ONE YEAR.  If same in your State, you must take action within one year, or by November, otherwise any legal recourse is lost.  Just google the name of your State followed by "Statute of Limitations Medical Malpractice". Note that the Statute of the State where the surgery was performed is what counts so if a different State, look up the law for that State. If the surgery was in a different State you would also need a lawyer from that State and the case would have to be filed there.

Taking what happened at face value as you describe it, it sounds like there was negligent surgery or negligent post-surgical care.  The legal and practical questions are:  Did this negligence cause your husband severe and permanent injury?  Unless the damages are quite high, well into the 6 figures, no lawyer will be interested because every such case like this is hotly contested by the defendant doctors/hospitals etc. They will defend saying they followed the book on the surgery, they performed surgery within the standard of care, they could not have foreseen the problems that resulted, no surgery is guaranteed to have the desired result, the problem can be fixed, he isn't seriously disabled, etc. etc.  Your lawyer must hire highly paid hand surgeons to study everything about the injury and it's treatment and long term problems that may result and tesify against the defendants.  Your lawyer must take the depositions of the defendants and even before trial spend probably 10-20,000 out of pocket. Double that if it does go to trial.  Get the point?  Hopefully, your husband's condition will not merit such a committment.  However, if you find that the residual problems cannot be repaired with further surgery, therapy etc. and that he will have a substatial loss of earnings and pain and disability on a permanent basis as far as you know and (very importantly) that if the surgery was done correctly he would have be fine (tough to know that; all you can do is rely upon the opinion of another surgeon which the defendant surgeon will disagree with)by all means contact the biggest med malpractice firm in the area where the surgery was done. Good luck.  Remember about the Statute.  

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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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