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Question
I fell and broke my fibula and tibula and the surgeon in th ER put in a rod and 3 pins. The surgery was done out of town because it happened out of town when I was traveling for work. The surgery site bled continuously for days and I got an infection. They didnt even tell me how to clean it and werent going to give me any crutches or a walker until i threatened to call my attorney. I had to go to the ER here and I have been working with an ortho here. The surgeon at the first ER set my leg crooked and my ortho said he can fix it but it will take another year to heal and that it's a risky surgery because of my diabetes. I'm insulin dependent and have been for 30 years. Can I sue the hospital for setting my leg crooked?

Answer
I am not sure if you have a workable malpractice case or not.  Here is the law:  You have a malpractice case if (1) the medical care was BELOW THE STANDARD OF CARE.  Think of it this way: Let's say you got 10 ER and Orthopedic medical specialists to study everything about your case; the injury and how it was treated.  If at least 7 of them would say something like "My God, what were those ER doctors thinking.  They clearly handled Adam's injury incorrectly.  Either they misread the xrays, did the wrong surgery, did the surgery negligently, failed to wait for an orthopedic surgeon or perhaps handled post surgical care negligently.  No competent doctor should have handled the case this way and it was negligence and below the standard"   and (2) "the negligence and below standard care have been the direct cause of a serious and permanent injury for Adam".  This Adam is a high hurdle to get over.  Under the circumstances, when maybe a top end orthopedic surgeon was not available or even if there was, they did the best the could.  Although the result was not perfect, those doctors used reasonable judgment and reasonable skill and followed the standard of care and if so, even if there was a poor result, there is no malpractice.

Consider also: If an attorney were to take your case he would have to spend probably $5-10,000 out of his pocket right away to pay for a specialist in ER standards of care and an orthopedic surgeon for his opinion on the orthopedic surgery standard of care.  If both experts said you were the victim of malpractice, more money to file and deal the the lawsuit including expensive depositions of the experts on the other side who will say, I guarantee " it is unfortunate that Adam's result wasn't the best and that he might even need more risky surgery but everything was done WITHIN THE STANDARD OF CARE".  Your lawyer is no into the case for about $15,000 give or take.  That case drags on for months, your lawyer has hundreds of hours into it and the defendant hospital offers you nothing or something very small that won't even cover your lawyer's costs.  This is a likely scenario.  If the case goes to trial, double the costs for your lawyer.  Bottom line is this:  If indeed you are left with a permanent impairment in that leg, a permanent limp or it affects your earning capacity in any way especially, of there are big complications in a second surgery........in other words, the damages from negligence in the original surgery become severe, then maybe a lawyer would take interest.  If you can hopefully avoid all of that, unlikely a lawyer would take interest.  That's the best I can tell you.  All depends now on what if any future medical issues you have and how they turn out.  But in the meantime, better check the Statute of Limitations Medical Malpractice in the State where the ER was.  Not where you live but where the malpractice took place.  Could be as little as ONE YEAR from the date of the surgery.  GOOD LUCK.

Medical Malpractice

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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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