Visitor Question

Doctor Negligence for Missed Diagnosis?

Submitted By: Angie (Newton, MS)

I fell through a step about 8 months ago and injured both knees. The right knee was throbbing and swollen so I went to my regular physician for about 2 weeks. I was prescribed oral steroids, and was already receiving back injections and NSAIDS pain medicine. Then I was referred to an orthopedist. I saw him for about 6 months. The X-rays and MRI were negative, and he diagnosed me with CMP (Chondromalacia patella).

I kept going to him because the knee kept swelling up and popping like it was not in place. I went to physical therapy twice. Then he said “I will do surgery on you if you come back complaining”, when I went back he discharged me and told me to come back if necessary. I was still complaining of knee pain, popping, and swelling. The swelling was obvious. He indicated if needed he would refer me to another orthopedic doctor. So I called him and asked for the referral.

I saw this doctor and the knee was still swollen, and he recommended injections. I told him I was already getting injections in my back. He said the only alternative is surgery or to just live with it, so I had surgery. He diagnosed me with repair of meniscus tear. He said the knee was grossly out of line, and there was scar tissue.

Should the other doctor have picked up on this diagnosis after 6 months of seeing him? Is this negligence?

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 Angie,

Without access to your medical charts, discussions you had with doctors, and more definite background information about your back injury it is impossible to tell you if one doctor should have “picked up on the diagnosis”. As a result assessing liability or negligence is also impossible.

We suggest you consult with yet another Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. If, after seeing the new surgeon you are confident your injuries were exacerbated as a result of either of their previous doctors’ negligence you may have grounds for legal action.

There are some cases in which we suggest our readers can represent themselves in Small Claims, or sometimes even higher courts, but when it comes to medical malpractice cases a skilled Personal Injury Attorney’s experience is indispensable.

When it comes to medical malpractice cases, doctors fiercely protect their reputations. A marred reputation can often have an adverse effect on a doctor’s income. As a result the medical malpractice insurance companies expend substantial time and effort in the defense of their doctors. Remember, if their doctors aren’t protected and a large verdict is rendered, the money comes not out of the doctor’s pocket, but of the insurance company’s pocket.

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: September 16, 2011

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