Nerve in spinal cord torn during lumbar puncture...

by Tina
(Catawissa, PA)

I had a lumbar puncture (when fluid is taken from the lower back for testing) and the doctor performing the procedure tore a nerve in my spinal cord. Now my left leg goes numb randomly. I have fallen numerous times leading to a broken foot. I'm also now forced to live with chronic pain every day.

I'd like to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who tore the nerve in my spinal cord. I'm worried other doctors won't see me if I file a med mal claim against the first doctor. Will I have difficulty seeing a doctor after filing a suit? Is it normal for doctors to "black ball" patients who file malpractice lawsuits? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Nerve in spinal cord torn during lumbar puncture...":

Tina (Catawissa, PA):

You aren't under any legal obligation to inform other doctors about a possible medical malpractice claim against a fellow doctor.

It is true doctors don't like to have anything to do with medical malpractice claims, whether their own or another doctor's. And while there probably isn't a documented blackball list, if you live in a small community most doctors will know what's going on with one of their colleagues, especially when a lawsuit is involved.

You may have difficulty getting one doctor in your community to testify against a colleague in the same community. Although you aren't under an obligation to tell any doctor about the possibility of a malpractice claim, you will eventually need a doctor to testify in your behalf. One who will be willing to say under oath another doctor committed malpractice.

Your best bet will be to see a doctor in another town, or at least far enough away where the doctors may not know each other. Of course you shouldn't delay your treatment. Seek medical care immediately.

Your next step will be to visit with a personal injury attorney. There are many who specialize in medical malpractice cases. These cases should always be pursued by qualified attorneys. Most won't charge for an initial office consultation. And of one accepts your case it will be on a contingency fee basis. That means you won't have to pay any money in advance. The attorneys fee will be taken out of any settlement or court verdict if you prevail.

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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