Suing 2 Orthopedic Surgeons for Failing to Properly Treat Ankle Injuries?

by Anonymous

I injured my foot and ankle at work in December 2011. I went to the emergency room and had an x-ray taken. The ER physician noticed a piece of bone that had appeared to have chipped off in my ankle area. He placed me in an air cast and told me to see an Orthopedic specialist if the pain did not subside in a couple of days.

I notified my employer and Worker's Comp sent me to an Orthopedic doctor within the week. At my first visit the Orthopedist diagnosed me with Achilles Tendonitis and scheduled me to start physical therapy within the following week.

After multiple sessions at physical therapy I still could not walk on my heal. I explained where my pain was, as well as describing the pain as if someone was jamming pins into my heal: sharp pains in my ankle that would radiate down to my toes, and a severe tearing sensation on the back of my ankle radiating up to my calf.

After a month of PT, the doctor finally scheduled an MRI. The results were Achilles Tendonitis, bone contusion of the heal, Plantar Fasciitis, and a sprained ankle. When the Orthopedist reviewed the results he stated I should have been better by now. Clearly workmen's compensation wanted to rush my healing to get me back to work. I insisted on another opinion, which I finally received in February.

I went to this Orthopedist and he pointed out the piece of bone the ER found in the x-ray, he showed me how it had white lines going through it which meant I fractured it. He placed me in a compression bandage, had me stay in physical therapy 3 days a week and said I should see him in a month.

In that time frame my ankle started to swell more and the pain in my ankle was getting worse. At my next visit he stated if it was not better in another 30 days he would order another MRI. I went back to him in April and when I raised the concern of the swelling, pain, and severe pain when at PT on the exercise bike, he pretty much said I just shouldn't do the bike. When I asked why it is still swelling he said it shouldn't be with no explanation as to why.

He said I have 1 of 3 options at this point: 1. continue with PT; 2. cortizone shot, but I had serious reactions to cortizone prior; and 3. surgery. When I asked why surgery may be necessary he said it's to remove the piece of bone.

I walked out of the office extremely angry over his lack of care for my concerns. I contacted worker's comp and demanded a third opinion. I went last week and received that opinion, and now I am in a boot. The new orthopedist was dumbfounded over the information he heard.

Can I sue 2 separate Orthopedic Surgeons for failing to properly treat my foot and ankle injuries? They clearly would rather listen to workmen's comp then using there expertise. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Suing 2 Orthopedic Surgeons for Failing to Properly Treat Ankle Injuries?":

Anonymous (USA):

Probably not. It seems the controversy stems from what type of injuries you actually sustained, their seriousness, and whether the result of one or both diagnoses resulted in your unnecessary pain and suffering.

To prove medical malpractice you will have to prove one or both doctors' actions were serious enough to sustain a finding of medical malpractice. From the information you offered there just doesn't seem to be enough evidence to support that position.

It appears you have 3 different medical opinions. You would have to be able to prove which one was the correct one. Just because the last doctor diagnosed a fracture doesn't necessarily mean the other doctors were wrong.

You could have suffered the fracture during your many months of treatment and therapy. Being able to prove the bone was fractured at the time you first were admitted to the emergency room and shortly after will be very difficult.

What you are talking about is testimony of experts. Which doctor was right, and which one was wrong, or a combination of the three.

Further, because your injures aren't serious enough to support a medical malpractice case you will have a difficult time finding an attorney who will undertake your representation.

In addition to the relatively non-seriousness of the injury or injuries it just might not be cost effective for an attorney to begin two medical malpractice cases.

You should know doctors don't just give up. They fight very hard when accused of medical malpractice. Talk with a personal injury attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cases. Most won't charge for an initial office consultation.

Just like the doctors, there exists the possibility our opinion might be wrong as well.

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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