Staph infection results in partial finger amputation...

by A
(Chicago, IL)

I had surgery for a finger injury that happened at work. It wasn't healing correctly and the doctor said to come back in two weeks. He never checked for any infection.

At that point, I went to another physician and he diagnosed me with a staph infection. I ended up needing to have part of my finger amputated because the staph infection had spread to the bone. I feel that the first physician was negligent and should have performed more tests to check for infection. His negligence resulted in the loss of part of my finger.

Can I sue this doctor? How can I tie the partial finger amputation to the first doctor's lack of testing and diagnosing the staph infection? Thanks.

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 "Staph infection results in partial finger amputation...":

A (Chicago, IL):

You may have the basis for a successful medical malpractice claim against the first physician. I'll presume the first doctor was the designated workers compensation primary treating physician. As such, he or she may have been negligent in not doing a blood work up to see if your finger was infected.

You may run into a problem if, at the time you went back to see the first physician, you did not present with apparent complications. In other words, when you went to see the physician the second time, if there weren't any signs of infection and you did not present with any symptoms, the physician may be able to escape from a medical malpractice claim.

If there were no apparent signs of inflammation, redness, soreness, etc., and you weren't complaining about the same, then the physician may not have had a legitimate reason to conduct a blood test. Workers compensation doesn't like to pay for tests unless absolutely necessary.

It's also important to address the possibility of contributory negligence. If you were supposed to change dressings, take antibiotics, or follow any other of your physician's orders and you failed to do so, your medical malpractice claim will quickly weaken.

In summary:

If, on your second visit you complained about pain, discomfort, redness, etc. and the physician failed to address those complaints; or

If there was some apparent sign of infection; AND

You did not knowingly or negligently contribute to the development of the staph infection, then you may have a very strong case.

From the facts you present you would be wise to seek out the advice and counsel of several local medical malpractice attorneys. Collect and bring along copies of your medical bills and all medical records, including X-rays, MRI's, etc.

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

P.S. Please help us out by sharing this site...

Click here to post comments

Return to Physician Malpractice Questions

How Much Is Your Claim Worth?

Find out now with a FREE case review from an attorney...

How Much Are Your
Injuries Worth?

Find out with a
free attorney review:

TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION