Doctor misses a torn meniscus...

by Miss H

My orthopedic doctor x-rayed my knee in his office and said the results showed nothing. He said he could only see arthritis damage. He referred me to physical therapy which only contributed to more pain. The physical therapist said he could not go further with his treatment until I got an MRI. So, only then my doctor ordered a MRI, which showed I had a torn meniscus.

Is this a form of malpractice suit? The doctor misdiagnosed me and sent me to PT, causing me a lot of pain. Is there anything I can do?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Doctor misses a torn meniscus...":

Miss H (Maryland):

Whether your orthopedist's apparent misdiagnosis constitutes medical malpractice is difficult to know. Certainly if the original diagnosis of arthritis lead to prolonged and unnecessary medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, lost wages, and pain and suffering, you may have the basis of a medical malpractice claim.

To have a viable claim also requires you to prove the doctor's misdiagnosis was a "deviation from the medical standard of care in the community." Even if that is true, a viable malpractice claim must also have compensable damages occurring as a direct and proximate result of the malpractice.

From the facts you present it's difficult to know how long you may have had to endure prolonged alternate therapy and the pain and discomfort associated with it. To continue the viability of your malpractice claim will require additional compensable damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, etc.

In your case, if you didn't incur medical bills, out of pocket expenses, or lost wages, and your compensable damages are limited to short term therapy until the therapist said he or she could do nothing further, your malpractice claim will be weak. Consult with an attorney to know for sure.

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,

Judge Calisi

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