Failure to diagnose back injury...

by Keri
(Columbia, SC)

I fell at home and hurt my back so bad that my husband had to pick me up. I could barely move. I went to the ER and waited over 2 hours to see a doctor. Then the doctor was in to see me for about 10 minutes, basically asking if this or that hurt. No x-ray was done even though I specifically asked for one. I was told it was not necessary.

I had just had a baby less than 7 days before this happened. I was only given Ibuprofen, but it did nothing for my severe lower back pain. I was never looked at more fully to see if there was any damage to my back.

I was unable to move or bend my back for about 2 weeks afterwards, and was unable to pick up my newborn child. It has been about a year now and I have been dealing with back spasms and my back locking up on me the entire time.

I have gone to see the doctor and have been referred over to an Orthopedic doctor to look more fully into my back. There was damage to my back that was not taken care of. Because of this injury not being taking care of properly I am unable to play with my kids and I have radiating back pain, at the age of 28.

Is there anything I can do about the mistreatment I received at the ER? Are they responsible for the pain I've been in for the past year? Any information you can give would be appreciated. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Failure to diagnose back injury...":

Keri (Columbia, SC):

Your presentation impliedly questions whether or not the ER doctor and hospital engaged in medical malpractice. From the facts you present, this doesn't seem to be the case. While the ER doctor did not request X-Rays, that in and of itself isn't sufficient to establish malpractice occurred.

Since the date the ER doctor saw you, you have not been diagnosed with an illness or disease which can be linked to the ER doctor’s actions or omissions.

If you are determined to pursue the matter, you will need medical proof the ER doctor's failure to properly diagnose you resulted in either a new injury or illness, or an unnecessary exacerbation of a present back injury. At this time you do not have proof of either.

You state "I have gone to see the doctor and have been referred over to an Orthopedic doctor to look more fully into my back. There was damage to my back that was not taken care of." You must identify that damage. Without medical proof of a specific type of illness or disease resulting in unnecessary damage to your back, you don't have the basis of a viable malpractice 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,

Judge Calisi

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