Hand fracture set improperly...

by Matt

My wife fell and fractured her right hand between her pinky finger and wrist. She went to an orthopedic doctor who actually rolled her pinky and put a splint on it. After a couple weeks my wife became very uncomfortable and sought a second opinion from another doctor.

The second doctor took one look at her hand and told us he would not touch it and sent us to a specialist. The specialist informed us that corrective surgery would be needed. Her hand would have to be re-broken and screws and a plate would be utilized to correct her pinky finger, which is now deformed. By deformed I mean that her right pinky finger crosses over her right ring finger at all times. She cannot even make a fist or write due to the injury.

The specialist, when asked if this should have been caught by the first doctor, simply stated, "don't put me in that situation," which I took as meaning HELL YES!! Now my wife is very terrified of this surgery which has made her depressed. All this on top of being rear ended by some guy texting which totaled out her 2012 Kia Soul (which was a wedding present, we got married 10/22/2013) a couple weeks later. Bad luck huh!!

My question is, can we bring suit against the orthopedic doctor who improperly set her finger which resulted in my wife having to have corrective surgery? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Hand fracture set improperly...":

Matt (Tennessee):

A lot will depend on whether or not your wife would have had to undergo the same surgery she must now undergo. If so, your wife may not have the basis of a legitimate medical malpractice claim. In other words, if your wife would have had to endure the same surgery, the only basis for her malpractice claim would be the pain she endured between the first surgery and the second.

Determining medical malpractice can be complex. A summary of the definition is "...when a doctor's actions deviate from the medical standard in the community, and as a result of that deviation a patient is unduly harmed."

As you have already seen, having a doctor confirm or deny malpractice occurred is difficult. Doctors, especially those who practice in the same medical community, are loathe to criticize other doctors. The reasons are obvious. The last thing any doctor wants is to be accused of malpractice. As a result, there is sometimes a "club" mentality surrounding them. It's the same for lawyers and many other professionals.

Your best recourse is to consult with several attorneys in your area. Most do not charge for initial office consultations. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will determine if he or she believes malpractice occurred. If so, the attorney will likely send your wife to one or more medical specialists. If the specialists agree with your wife's attorney, then your wife will likely 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,

Judge Calisi

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