Visitor Question

Can I Recoup Costs for Surgical Prep and Anesthesia Since Surgery Wasn’t Performed?

Submitted By: Justin (Alvin, TX)

I broke my pinky finger and went to the ER. The ER doctor took x-rays and set my finger back into place and referred me to an orthopedic doctor. The next day I went in and consulted with the ortho doctor.

I took the x-rays from the ER, and the orthopedic doctor looked at the x-rays and recommended that I have my finger pinned into place. He scheduled me for outpatient surgery the following day. I went in to have the procedure done the next morning. They took me in and put me under on general anesthesia.

When I woke up the surgery (pins) were not in my hand. They had told my wife that the finger was too badly broken to pin. I’m trying to figure out why they admitted me and scheduled the surgery when he saw the x-rays the previous day. All this cost us a lot of money.

Shouldn’t the doctor notice that surgery wasn’t a possibility from the x-rays before costing us money and time? What can I do to recoup the cost of this admission and surgery prep? It’s the doctor’s fault and no procedure was even performed.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Justin,

Before you go any further speak with the doctor who performed the surgery. Ask him the same questions you are asking here. It’s difficult to speculate what the doctor saw on the x-rays and why the outcome of the surgery was not what you had hoped for.

If the doctor won’t cooperate seek further medical opinions from other orthopedic surgeons. You will need some evidence of wrongdoing before you can go any further with legal action.

Be sure to request copies of all your medical records, including x-rays, written diagnosis and prognosis. Any additional doctors will need to see all of the medical records related to your injury and its treatment.

There is a thin line between medical malpractice and reasonable medical treatment under the circumstances. If there is a viable medical reason your surgery didn’t succeed, you may not be able to successfully pursue any action against the doctor.

Take one step at a time.

First: Speak with the original doctor and ask all the questions you would like answered.

Second: If you are not satisfied with his answers request your medical records and seek second and possibly third opinions.


If, after seeking additional medical opinions you are convinced the doctor acted improperly, seek the legal advice of a personal injury attorney.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 10, 2012

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