Personal Injury Law (Accidents/Slip & Fall)/Injured from medical equipment before surgery
QUESTION: Last March I had a tubal ligation after the birth of my son. When I woke up from anesthesia I was told that prior to the surgery the boards that my arms were strapped to fell off. I'm still vague on what that meant other than the obvious. But being as though I was under I was obviously dead weight and they were pretty concerned/scared so I assume it wasn't good or the norm since I have never heard of that happening. I did have pain in my left shoulder and they took x-rays which showed no broken bones but I was supposed to follow up with the orthopedic doctor but being as though I had given birth to my 5th child I didn't exactly have a ton of time to do so. I'd say it took over a week for the soreness to feel better and since then I hadn't exactly gotten to the active lifestyle I had before. Recently I have gotten back to my normal activity and I have been having extreme pain during exercises that I used to do with no problem and the soreness I experienced after the incident has returned. Enough to where I had to actually put my arm back in the sling they sent me home with. Obviously I'm going to get this checked out because I would like to get to my normal activity level but my family keeps telling me I should look further into it to see if I should do anything. I'm just wondering if something like this would even be worth it to pursue legally since its been so long (1 yr 3 months) since the incident.
ANSWER: Violet: I can understand that you are not happy about having this problem but the answer to whether you have any legal recourse is very very easy. You do not. Why? Well, the time period is not the problem. The Statute of Limitations in TX is 2 years. The problem is this: A lawyer taking your case would have to commit probably $10,000-$30,000 and hundreds of hours of time to the case over several months or even a couple of years to get the case where it could be settled or go to trial. The doctors and hospital will deny liability. They will defend saying it is unfortunate that you have suffered this arm/shoulder injury but everything was done WITHIN THE STANDARD OF CARE. They will also argue that your problem is no big deal and that if it was, it could be fixed. Bottom line: they have no reason to do anything but fight the case until you give up. So, I ask you, what lawyer is going to take the case? The liability sounds good but your problem is more common than you think. However, the damages........that is, the potential result to the case that your lawyer needs to get his money back from and then a fee..............is not nearly high enough. If the injury isn't worth probably 300K or more, it just isn't worth it to any lawyer. So, although the surgical team may indeed have been careless, negligent, and committed malpractice, the case is simply not economically viable. Of this I feel quite sure. Best of luck.
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QUESTION: Out of curiosity I wanted to ask you something. How you know I was from Texas? Just wondering as I made no mention of it. Also I don't feel like it was the doctors fault or surgical staff, more so the medical equipment. But thankyou for your advice as I didn't see it being with it either.
ANSWER: At the top of the page that had the question it gave your name,(first name only) country,(in this case, your State) and category of the question,(medical malpractice) all of which I assume had to have come from you. Oh, I also was given your social security number, birth date and favorite color............just kidding. Anyhow, if the boards had "fallen off", why weren't they replaced? Why weren't they properly installed in the first place? Have no facts to suggest the boards were defective and if they were, your doctors or nurses should have realized that. But that is all just academic for reasons stated in my first reply.
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QUESTION: Just another follow up. After an evaluation it was brought to my attention that my injury may require surgical correction. The pain that it is causing at this point completely interferes with me caring for my 5 children. Makes simple daily activities difficult. If I were to need the surgery which has an at least 6 week recovery and requires physical therapy after, would it still not be worth it to seek counsel? And when you say the hospital were to deny, do you mean deny that it happened or deny fault? Because in terms of it happening I have the bill from my insurance that shows that arm xrays were taken the day I went in for the tubal. Again this is just out of curiosity. Thank you so much. And my favorite color happens to be purple
It cannot be denied that your arms were injured. What will be denied is that they did anything BELOW THE STANDARD OF CARE. In other words, oftentimes things go wrong in a surgery that are considered a normal risk and that are not the result of NEGLIGENCE OR MALPRACTICE. In other words, would other doctors watching your surgery say "oh my God, look what they just did? What are they thinking? Are they crazy? Why didn't they prevent that?" I doubt very much that this would have happened. I also do not understand about these boards "falling off". Doesn't make sense. If your arms were strapped to boards and the boards fell off and the boards were supposed to remain in place, seems to me they would have replaced them, don't you think? Also, I can't imagine those boards simply "falling off". The story you heard of what happened or the story as you interpret it isn't a good depiction of what actually happened. My guess is, the anesthesiologist removed the boards probably in a routine way the same way he/she had done thousands of times but in your case you suffered some kind of nerve injury that couldn't be anticipated. They were probably as surprised as you about what happened. That is my guess. What I do know for certain however is that even if you found an anesthesiologist to testify for you that they were negligent and this caused your injury, no lawyer will be interested in taking the case. If you were a professional athelete or musician and suffered a permanent arm injury, then maybe. But in your case, the damages are just not high enough to expect a lawyer to risk probably $20k out of pocket for costs of suit, hundreds of hours of work all in the chances of getting 40% of your case. The negligence would have to be really really clear and strong and your damages at least $250K to make it worthwhile.