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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery


  • I am so sorry this happened to you. Were you not concerned when you didn't have a CT scan in the first 12 months to see if fusion had taken? Most Drs order several in the first year from what I understand.

    Now I wouldn't usually advocate this but you need to get all you paperwork together, get all your op notes from the hospital as well.Then you need to write a diary of all that has tranpired from when you first met this surgeon.
    Get copies of all your notes, reports and costings and then go see a laywer.
    If you need to have this surgery revised then the original surgeon at least should pick up the tab for it!

    I can understand your anger completely and you have every right to be angry, but try to do something constructive with it when you have let the lid off the steam.
    Why the 3 incision? For grafting?

    Blessings and gentle hugs Sara O:)
  • Wow. I'm sorry you had such a horrible traumatic experience. Doctors like that should not be allowed near human beings, or even animals.

    I would definitely get everything together and speak with a lawyer. You can be left with PERMANENT life altering damage that most definitely could have been avoided had he done his job correctly. I don't know the specifics, so I can't say this with 100 percent certainty, but it sounds like negligence to me. (Nobody throw a hissy fit, I said SOUNDS like it to ME.) You deserve something for having been put through all that.... You really do. And honestly, maybe him being sued might make him wake up and he may, if he gets to keep his license, pay more attention next time.

    I'm sorry :( I hope they find a solution that makes things as comfortable as possible for you. It's hard being a mom and dealing with back pain on top of that. Especially when they're that young, and in a situation like yours!
  • i am sorry u are having all ofthese problems. i wish youluck in finding a solution to your situation. u may want to consider another opinion from an additional ns. what i do when searching for doctor opinions is to not offer alot of info until i get the specific info from the doctor. this way i know he has only formed an opinion based on test results only. i will then ask for options from the doctor. i will pray for you to have a sucessful solution.
  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. WOW! i can understand why you are so upset!! ~X( that is what we are here for! i hope in the day you get a chance to give your wife hugs. you need them to, very gently!! >:D< take care of yourself and good luck! Jenny :)
  • I am not one who believes in lawsuits unless they actually have merit...that being said, you should clean this guy's clock! What a MORON with a capital "M". With all the technology in the operating room, and the meticulous step by step procedures they are supposed to take to ensure this doesn't happen, I think it is down right criminal.

    Not only should you seek legal counsel, I think you should file a complaint with the hospital where the procedure was performed and file a complaint with the State Board of Medical Licensure. Hit this guy from every angle.

    It would be one thing if he was upfront and honest by admitting he made a mistake. But, to cover it up makes it that much worse.

    I wish you the best!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Hi and welcome to spine health. :H
    Sorry its under these circumstances.
    We are here to support you through the worst of your days.
    Your not alone by a long run.

    Now my opinion only most Drs will not even touch a disk once inside if there is not that much damage or no damage at all. Yes there have been cases where a Dr gets in there and finds more damage then what was found on a MRI or Ct scan or explained to you. BUT they will also tell you that before even entering surgery. That there is that possibility. From what your saying, I take that was never even talked about.

    I have to totally agree with some of the statments above. :B

    I also have never heard of 3 incisions. In a Anterior and Posterior approach yes. Which is a 360 fusion. But just a posterior? Min avvasive surgery they may make 2-3 incisions as its done laproscopic. But from what I am understanding you did not have either one of these.

    Get your ducks in a row and go from there. Hopefully there is a Dr out there that can fix the issue.
    I just had a revision surgery as I did not fuse due to completly different medical issues going on right now.
    And I don't feel to bad. ;)
    You will be in my thoughts that this can all be fixed!!!!

    Also another suggestion. Is there a pain managment Dr around you that practices long term pain medication?? Some only do treatments as in injections. The other half long acting meds.
    I am on 10mg hydrocodone/350mg soma/10mg valium I could not imagine just taking 3 norco a day for your type of pain. Again just my personal opinion.

    (ALL INFORMATION I give is strictly personal and not medical)

    Hang in there buddy!! I have kids so I totally relate to where your coming from. O:) O:) O:) O:) O:)
  • believe it or not but there actually is someone else on this site that had a wrong level fused also.

    s%$t happens. unfortunately it is happening to you. however, this surgeon needs a repeat course on the skeletal body. :B or some of those.
  • There are medical boards that this doctor needs to be reported to in your state. I know hind sight is 20/20 but that's exactly why my doctor did an MRI to be absolutely sure he was going to be working on the right disc. This doctor does need to be reported immediately. He doesn't need to be cutting open anymore patients and unfortunately a lawsuit wouldn't be enough to stop him. But a board review would.
    Believe me! Enough marks in his record and his license to practice medicine would be pulled out from under him. I would be just as mad as you if I found that out! Oh Lord you shouldn't have to go through pain for that long before somebody figures out this doctor screwed up royally!
    Then after you've reported him you might should call a lawyer and consider sueing him for malpractice and make him pay for all of your future medical expenses because of his botched surgery. I know I sure as heck would!
  • There is a post under back surgery I think where a doctor actually left an instrument in this person and then kept telling that patient that he was just fine and things were going along fine. Then he went to another doc and they did an X Ray and found the instrument! That's why I suggested you report him first. Doctor's get sued all the time for all kinds of things. Not sure how the board views lawsuits against doctors but if it comes straight out of your mouth it will carry some weight. That I do know.
    And also.... Do you have a copy of all of your medical records? If not I would get every single one of them and have them in my possession. Some doctors and hospitals charge for them if they aren't going to be sent to another doctor or hospital but I think you'll find the expense worth it when you talk to a lawyer.
  • We need to remember that surgeons are human (not machines) and mistakes do happen but it is when they are reckless you have a case (thats my opinion btw)so an honest mis judged opinion may not get far if you were to complain.

    So, as long as you have undisputed proof that L4 was good then I agree with the others and make a formal compliant to the hospital about this surgeon and his level of care. Like Angleback says, keep copies of everythng.

    The ongoing pain I hope will become resloved when they do the revision. Is why they think you are still in pain? - non union?
    What is Cadaver bone (sorry)- you say it has grown onto your nerve roots...this may be a problem too.
    I wish you well.
  • We need to remember that surgeons are human (not machines) and mistakes do happen but it is when they are reckless you have a case (thats my opinion btw)so an honest mis judged opinion may not get far if you were to complain.

    So, as long as you have undisputed proof that L4 was good then I agree with the others and make a formal compliant to the hospital about this surgeon and his level of care. Like Angleback says, keep copies of everythng.

    The ongoing pain I hope will become resloved when they do the revision. Is why they think you are still in pain? - non union?
    What is Cadaver bone (sorry)- you say it has grown onto your nerve roots...this may be a problem too.
    I wish you well.
  • I agree with all postings above... not much to add.

    I hate to suggest it, you have been thru the ringer... can you see a doc not associated with this hospital or medical group? Are you in or near a big city that this might be an option? At this point you probably just want to fix it & move forward.

    This 4th surgeon you have seen - are you saying he would have #2 and #3 in the surgery, but obviously not surgeon #1 (original surgeon)? Is the revision surgery scheduled?
  • or any legal cover you have ..you need an independant Doctor...they call them Expert Witness in law, I think.

    There will be one linked to an insurance claim office offering unbiased advised on the likihood of the insurance company success in the claim.

    Sounds like you have a case.
    Good Luck with the surgery. I am sure they will treat you carefully next time round but remember there are risks.

  • I am sorry you are having these troubles. I hope you can get an unbiased surgeon to give an opinion and treatment. I do recall a SH member who had L4 added to her L5-S1 fusion strictly for the purpose of stability. Her original problem was a high grade spondylolisthesis which was unable to be completely reduced. The healthy L4 was added to help provide a more stable fusion. But of course, she knew about this plan ahead of time.

    Now this off-lable substance that was used, is it BMP (bone morphogenic protein)? I believe BMP is only approved for use in the Infuse system, but many of us have had it used with other cages/implants. We have a couple members with bmp overgrowth issues here as well.

    I think the most important thing is that you get some help and some relief. It sounds as if you definitely need some more agressive pain management. Have you tried a PM doc?

    Good-luck and best wishes to you. I hope you feel better soon, >:D< Cali-Sue
  • I'm sorry to hear about your ongoing problems and to put it bluntly take him for everything he's got .I would also find a doc that doesn't know him and is willing to go to bat for you .Doctors are weird in that they don't like to go on the record and say one of their own messed up they got some stupid code of silence bulls**t going on.I realy hope this can get fixed for you as soon as possible so you can get on with your life and family.Maybe instead of money you can get 1 hour in a locked room with a louisville slugger with him . }:)
  • Its awful though that the original doc still strides the halls.
  • I think it was mentioned above but bares repeating. There are doctors who are professionals at testifying in court proceedings. It's what they do. I would look for one if I were you or your new lawyer can do that for you. After all that's why lawyers get paid to.o.
  • I agree doctors are humans, not machines... But like someone else said, once he realized his mistake, he should have been up front. I would never be able to sue a doctor who straight up came to me and said look... I made an honest mistake. I'm sorry. And from that point on was very attentive to me & made sure I had whatever i needed. That's how they should handle it. Not lie and cover it up. People who have a legitimate excuse or have any consideration for the person do not have any reason to lie. If he was concerned for your health and safety, he would have been honest with you. That's not right at all.

    I feel horrible for you :( I wish there were something they could do with the snap of their fingers to make things better for you, but we unfortunately know there isn't. Like I said before, you do deserve something for what he has put you through. Money isn't everything, but it isn't just about the money... It's the principle, and the fact that he needs to learn NOT to hide his mistakes. THAT is the epitome of malpractice. He has insurance for that reason. Put his insurance to good use!!
  • I'm so sorry for everything you have had to go through. I can't really add much to what everyone else has stated. I would definitely enlist the help of your insurance company in pursuing some compensation and correction. They have all kinds of lawyers and much deeper pockets than you!

    Hopefully you won't run into any statute of limitations problems, but I would think the shear negligence of using an off-label product without your permission would even outweigh the mistake of fusing the wrong level. I'm sure your insurance company wouldn't be too happy, either.

    DEFINITELY contact your state's medical board and file a formal complaint with them. A formal complaint against this doctor is the only way future patients will know who not to go to. In my profession I've seen a few clients with pets that may have been victims of medical mistakes or poor judgement, but other veterinarians are very reluctant to bad mouth another vet...even when they know something was done wrong. I'm sure human doctors are even more likely to "cover each other's backs". That's where a formal complaint to the medical board with an investigation and testimony from impartial doctors will go a long ways.

    BTW, the day after my surgery I asked my NS how everything went and if he found any other problems in my neck once I was in surgery. He said (quote) "No, with today's imaging techniques there's almost never any surprises once we open things up". Your pre-op MRI proves there was nothing wrong with L4.

  • It sounds like the BMp you had was not contained. My surgeon said when they place it is they have to be very specific where they place it and they put it in a sac of some sort so it cant overgrow and position it as far from the spinal canal as possible.
    It would be interesting to read the operation reports to see what he did. MAybe in his panic over doing the wrong disc he 'lost it' and didn't place the BMP properly.

    Again, get an independant Dr to see you and try to do it before you have the revision surgery.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Did you check out this Dr. in advance, did he have a good reputation, was he recommended to you? How did you find him and agree to have this Doc do the surgery on you? Did he have any other lawsuits or anything like that? you can find out everything about a Dr. you choose by doing some research on them. How many fusion surgeries had he done before?

    I ask my Doc how many neck surgeries he had done and he said I think about 3000. I ask him how many micro-d's he had done before me and he said about 500.

    I am so sorry you had to go thru so much pain and he screw up so bad. Get a good Lawyer and file a lawsuit. If you do get a settlement I know it can't replace all you have lost no way but it could help with future financial losses.

    Good luck to you..I hope the new Doc can help you.
  • I am so sorry this happened to you! I am a lawyer and although I can't give you legal advice here, I will tell you to please talk to a lawyer about your case ASAP. Find the biggest firm in your area that practices in only medical malpractice. They will advise you on what you need and will take care of arranging witnesses and finding the expert witnesses for you. They will also tell you the steps to take to report the doctor and to whom the complaints should be made.

    Most importantly, keep in mind there are statutes of limitations that apply in your case, so try to talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. Meanwhile, take good care of you, and try to be at peace in your mind. Anger will eat you up inside! Focus on recovery and getting your life back, and your lawyer will hopefully handle the rest. Please keep us up to date on your progress (but keep the legal fine details off this public board if you can -- you never know who is reading it. You might edit your posts to remove anything about hospital reports, specific facts, etc., just to be on the extra-safe side).

    You are in my prayers!

  • Have you talked to an attorney? Depending on your state, there exists the "Discovery Rule" which makes the statute of limitations start the day you actually "discover" the neligence. (Look up "Discovery Rule" and "medical malpractice" in Google for more info.) If you just found out yesterday, that would mean you have a year from yesterday to file your case. It all depends on where you live. Please contact an attorney near you as soon as you can. Only he or she will be able to tell you if the statute was tolled and discuss all your options with you. I wish you all the best.

  • Wow...what a nightmare. I agree that mistakes can happen but isn't that why they put safeguards in place? To prevent them from happening. I'm not sure with lumbar surgery, but with cervical they put a needle into the disc once they get you opened up..then take an x-ray to make sure they have the right disc. That's how my surgeon explained it. Also, when I was in pre-op...the surgeon, his PA, and the anesthesiologist all confirmed which discs were being done just to let me know they were on top of things I guess. I felt very confident going into the ER that things were going to be ok. If I were you I would definitely consult with a lawyer. I think the timeline on the statue of limitations begins when you have knowledge of the error. I hope things go well for you.
  • I can only comment generally (don't take this as legal advice); a lawyer licensed in your state will be the one to officially tell you, but I think you are in good shape. The Statute of Limitations in California is 3 years from the injury or 1 year from when you discover the injury. So either way, you would still have time to file your case (since the actual injury happened within the last three years, and the fact you just discovered the injury a few days ago). Be sure to check with a lawyer -- find a big firm that does only medical malpractice (the consultation should be free, and they should take your case on a contingency basis) -- and they should help you with all this.

    I wish you all the best!

  • yea I did a lot of research on him, he's been practicing in my area for a long time. When researching him, I found nothing but praise.

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