Visitor Question

Negligence not known about until a year after the surgery?

Submitted By: Lula (Valencia, CA)

My mother had back surgery in August 2013. She was told it could take up to a year for her to heal after surgery. She awoke from surgery with a paralyzed leg as well as a new, different type of intense pain on that side of her body. She had to work extensively, both alone and with physical therapists, for a year to recover her leg to about 75% of what it was pre-surgery.

The surgeon said it was common for patients to wake with paralysis like hers. The paralysis was (and still is) a very difficult condition. The worst part though is the new type of pain that appeared after the spine surgery.

My mother made follow up appointments with her surgeon as asked, and he would pass her off and let other doctors meet with her. It was like he was avoiding her on purpose and she could feel that.

The doctor kept telling us that it could take up to a year to heal and that we shouldn’t be alarmed until the year was up. My mother kept telling his receptionist she really wanted to see the doctor to ask him questions, since she felt so terrible about what was happening, and they kept giving her the run around.

My mom finally went and saw a different spine specialist and he told her she was not healing from the surgery itself, but she was in pain because she had nerve damage from the negligent surgeon. My mom asked if she should consider a malpractice suit and the doctor said, “No, you absolutely MUST bring a suit since this is an example of extreme negligence.”

My question is…is it too late to file a malpractice suit?

The surgery was August 2013 and the appointment where we found out there is nerve damage inflicted by that surgeon wasn’t until October 2014. I am not sure how the statue of limitations works for this case.

My mother was literally incapable mentally of doing anything requiring concentration due to being very very depressed and generally fed up. So, I can’t see how she would be expected to handle filing a case within the first year (or second year) after this destructive surgery.

I miss having my cheerful mother around. She is confined to her bedroom most of the time and it is not fair.

Please let me know what recourse she has. I will be helping her out. She needs all the helps she can get. I can’t believe this doctor messed my mother up so bad. She went in to surgery with back pain and emerged with a paralyzed leg, as well as brand new radiating nerve pain.


Thanks for your time.

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 Lula,

From the facts you present, it may not be too late to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. According to Section 335-349.4 of California’s CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, your mother has three years from the date of injury (malpractice) or one year after your mother discovered, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury – whichever date comes first.

Medical malpractice is generally defined as acts or omissions of healthcare providers which fall beneath the standard of medical care in the local medical community, and, as a result of those acts or omissions, a patient is injured.

Malpractice cases should NEVER be handled without the advice, counsel and representation of an experienced med mal attorney.

Gather copies if your mother’s medical records and seek out several medical malpractice attorneys in your area. Let the attorneys review the facts. They will be in a better position to advise you and your mother as to the viability of the claim.

Learn more here: Lawsuits for Surgical Malpractice

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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2 thoughts on “Negligence not known about until a year after the surgery?

  1. Inez says:

    I had surgery August 2013. I found out August 2018 that a piece of rubber from a catheter was left inside my bladder. I knew I kept getting bladder infections and I went back and forth to doctors for the pain but had no idea it was coming from my bladder and the piece of rubber left inside.

    I found out when I had to have surgery in July of 2018 and dye was placed inside my bladder. My doctor noticed a spot and sent me to an urologist. After seeing him he realized the infections were coming from the piece of rubber left inside of me. Is it too late to file a claim?

  2. Dennis says:

    VA doctors told me that my enlarged prostate was causing my urine excess leakage. I wear pull ups now. I found out last year after requesting records that the damage occurred 2012 doing a prostate biopsy. Their notes clearly state post-operative injury 2012. I just found out in 2017.

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