Can I sue a surgeon after 4 years?
(Newport, NC, USA)
I had a laminectomy/fusion done in August 2009 on my L2-3 and L3-4 vertebrae. I had pains after 1 month of surgery but the surgeon wouldn't look at it. He said there was no reason. I have just been going to the pain management doctor until this past October. It got to the point where I couldn't walk because I was in so much pain.
I had a milo/ct scan and found out that the fusion never took. The screws are loose, one of the screws is embedded in the bone, and the bolt ends are floating around in my body. Does this count as medical malpractice, since the doctor refused to look at the problem after I complained of pain?
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ANSWER for "Can I sue a surgeon after 4 years?":
Faith (Newport, NC, USA):
Whether your injuries, or the doctor’s refusal to treat you constitutes medical malpractice will depend on several factors. Before going further you will need confirmation from at least one other doctor who can establish medical malpractice occurred. That will be difficult.
It’s rare for a doctor to criticize a fellow doctor, especially when the doctors live and work in the same general area. There’s really no advantage to doing so. A doctor who agrees to testify against a fellow doctor can often be considered by his or her peers as a pariah.
In your case, the only realistic way to really know if malpractice occurred is to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Most successful malpractice attorneys have access to medical experts whose business it is to review other doctors’ actions and help attorneys decide if medical malpractice occurred. Fortunately, most attorneys don't charge for initial office consultations.
Gather copies of your medical records and bills, receipts for out of pocket expenses for medications, etc., and verification of your lost wages (if any). Let the attorneys review your evidence. That way you’ll know for sure if you have the basis of a legitimate claim.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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