Hip replacement gone bad...

by Karen
(San Francisco)

I am a 55 year old athletic, thin, woman with arthritic hip. I had an anterior hip replacement in 2012. Since the surgery, have been in pain and unable to perform daily living tasks (dressing, walking, etc) without pain, and my days of biking, hiking, and skiing seem over.

I have difficulty walking down the street, and cannot climb stairs without holding on to a railing and going through excruciating pain. I never sleep throughout the night, as I am in constant pain.

I had a difficult surgery according to the operative report (lasted 4 hours vs 1; lost a lot of blood, blood pressure dropped to 84/48 for 4 days) and the Dr. never came to see me except the day of discharge, which was 4 days vs normal 2; even though I was complaining the entire time of pain, nausea, and severe headaches, due to my blood pressure.

Finally, a blood transfusion was suggested, 3 days in. Consequently, I never got up and walked around during recovery, which is standard protocol.

I went back to see the surgeon for 2 years, trying to ascertain why I had such incredible pain and weakness. The doctor did all sorts of tests (CT scan, MRI, X-rays), but not until I went for a second and third opinion was the problem identified (the cup size is too big, too much of my pelvic bone was removed, and my tendon is constantly rubbing over the device which is causing pain).

In addition, because the surgeon could not stabilize my hip, it made my leg length longer, which also aggravates the problem. I have gone to 6 surgeons, all tops in this field, who all say it is too risky to do a revision, as I don't have enough bone left.

My only option is to do a tendon release, which will leave me with permanent weakness, and ultimately it is unclear whether I can return to my sports activities. Of course, since I am young, if my hip replacement ever needs to be revised, I don't know how it can be done.

Do I have a malpractice case? Also, I live in CA, and the surgery was done in FL. Do I hire a FL attorney or can I use a CA attorney?

I cannot live with the chronic pain any longer. I feel the surgeon should have seen on the x-ray what the problem was soon after my surgery, and not subjected me to numerous unneeded tests, when ultimately (30 months later) a new surgeon showed me clearly what was on the x-ray. Thank you for your time.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Hip replacement gone bad...":

Karen (San Francisco):

Before deciding whether or not to pursue a medical malpractice claim, it's important to understand the definition of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is generally defined as actions or omissions by a healthcare provider, including doctors, hospitals, medical clinics, etc., where the standard of medical care falls beneath the medical standard of care in the community, and as a result of those actions or omissions, a patient is injured.

Your next consideration is the difficulty in pursuing a medical malpractice claim. In almost all cases, doctors accused of malpractice vehemently deny they committed any wrongdoing.

Moreover, unlike car insurance companies who can settle an insured’s claim with or without the insured's permission, most medical malpractice insurance policies permit the insured doctor to have the last word in whether or not the insurance company should settle the claim or fight it.

You can be confident the doctor you are considering pursuing for malpractice will not settle, and the claim will end up in a lawsuit. If you still want to pursue a med mal claim, seek the counsel of several experienced personal injury attorneys whose practices concentrate in medical malpractice.

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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Similar Hip Situation...
by: Pam

I also had a hip replacement gone bad. I am a 50 year old very active woman who had a hip replacement in December of 2013.

After 6 months, I was still experiencing pain which my surgeon said was "scar tissue" and I should go for therapy. I went for therapy for a few months and the pain persisted.

I could not (and still cannot) go up stairs without holding on, I cannot sleep through the night due to the pain, and evening walks with my husband are out of the question.

After the therapy didn't work, the surgeon suggested that I have my IT band lengthened - something that sent up a red flag for me.

Luckily, I sought a second opinion and found out that the implant is too large for me (cup and stem) and is rubbing on the tendons causing constant irritation.

One revision specialist said the revision operation was too risky to revise it, but I have since found two other surgeons that say it can be done.

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