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Can I sue my surgeon

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2

Comments

  • He did do all 3 surgeries. The first was early Feb, 2009 and 10 days later the hardware moved, had God awful pain and had a second surgery. The only d/c instructions I got were from the hospital, which were about 6 or 7 "common sense" things. I will take some responsibility in this, I may have over done it by day 6 or 7 post op. because I was getting stir crazy and went in the car a couple few times while my wife drove around for a little while. I felt good by day 9 when I had the staples removed. I later found post op instructions on the internet from other physicans that had a whole lot more restrictions, advice, etc than the hospital's. (For example smoking significantly effects the success rate!!! I occassionally smoke and did more so while stir crazy at home. Surgeon NEVER told me this.) By May I was feeling the same pain from mid February, but mildly barable.
    After my PCP ordered the tests and told me I had nerve damage and something else- my muscles will pulsate almost like a heart beat; the surgeon blew it off and said it "may be" the hardware moved and assured me that taking it out helps the pain, etc. I began doing my research by this point. I did read alot of people with thorasic fusion say this it helped alot but I didn't see much from much reports from lumbar surgeries. In desperation to go back to work, I decided to take the chance. Now I feel worse than ever.
    I assumed the same thing about the Rx name not being his name. I thougth his practice had both their names on the rx paper and for shortness of space only the first doctor's name was on it. Now I wonder why this is so because each doctor has their own license number. My wife is a licensed health care prof. and said when someone has disciplinary actions, they pay their fine to keep their license and get a list of things to do to maintain it. Frequently it's to be supervised. My guess... is his partner is his supervisor and he may look over his work in some fashion or another- maybe the films, etc.
    I thougth he said, which I'm sure he did, that he was removing all the hardware. It wasn't until the pain doctor took the x rays that I found it he didn't move the bottom screw(s. He said it may be because the bone began to fuse too much that it would have been risky to take it out.

    My wife is the one pushing for a licensure complaint. They will know more and for the sake of other patients he needs to be limited in his practice, as well. At best he did nothing wrong.

    I feel a little chastised by some people for not doing my homework before surgery. I just trusted my first PCP, whom I no longer see, and that 2 of my family member's had the same surgery, which was successful, that I went for it. My family members had orthopedics, I did hear it was better to use a neurosurgeon, so I did.
  • That's interesting that you all had problems getting an appointment with another surgeon before a year was up. My state must have different rules, or the surgeons have a different set of standards, because I had no problem consulting with several different surgeons after my fusion...beginning at about nine months post-surgery.
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  • Let's just say you do find someone to take your case and look into this doctor. Well you've already admitted on the internet that you take some responsibility for problems induced by YOU after surgery. You've already admitted online to smoking when every bit of literature states not to smoke after fusions. You've gone back to the surgeon for multiple surgeries and were confidant enough to allow him to open you up three times. I think what they will possibly say is that they see a person who is not pleased with the outcome of three very hard surgeries wanting to place blame somewhere. In all of the literature, it is quite clear that these fusions are not a 100% cure. It's not even anywhere close to that. I hate to hear you are still in so much pain after going through three procedures, and big ones at that. Sometimes though, it is not anyone's fault. Is it possible that you just were not listening good because you were in so much pain and missed all of these facts? or do you honestly think he or his staff did not advise you of these very fundamental back pointers or post surgical behaviour. If you feel you have been wronged thrice by the same doctor, have the doctor investigated and see if they find anything out. I just can't see tarnishing a doctor's name over possibilities and maybes. I sometimes feel lawsuits are thrown around unnecessarily whenever people don't get the results they were wishing for. That's why we get to sign a gazillion forms at pre-admitting stating we know all of the rules and possibilities. I bet you anything, in one of those papers, it says don't smoke post op. When we are clouded in pain, we are not as observant and miss the small prints a lot of the time.
    S.
  • I see now that your wife is a licensed health care provider? Did she not know how to check the records on this surgeon before letting him operate on you? Smoking explains a lot. Many surgeons won't do surgery on someone till they can pass a blood test that they are clean, however there are those whom do. You stated that you knew others whom have had the surgery and you didn't ask them for information regarding the surgery? To many people will spend more time researching buying a toaster than trusting someone with their life.

    As I read through that thread I still only see the two surgeries the original fusion and then the second surgery 10 days out. You need to get copies of all the information and records of things you signed. I am sure you will find all the risk in those papers. Also if you had the procedure done in a hospital typically the hospital gives you the copies of restrictions on discharge. I think you had a responsibility to ask questions after needing surgery 10 days from your first surgery.

    As far as getting a second opinion on your back there should be no issue with that. I was getting a second opinion only 3 months out of my third surgery. You may want to check about seeing neurologist to aide in helping you with the nerve damage and finding the source of the problem. You stated after returning to work the pain has gotten worse, not sure what type of work you do. You may want to look at some ergonomic setups to aide in lessoning the pain.

    I am not trying to chastised you about not doing your homework. I just have lots of issues with jumping to sue a surgeon whom may have done nothing wrong and all the blame lies in the patient. There are plenty of great surgeons who don't have a great bed side manner but then I am not paying them to be my friend but rather to fix me. Having a good bedside manner is a added bonus.

    For the most part I think it is most important that you find the source of the pain. From that stand point are you fused? I am not sure I noticed what levels you had surgery on and what was performed? Was the surgery anterior or posterior surgery? What type of grafting material was used in the fusion process? How much are you walking a day? Have you been to PT? We have lots of members who have been through this type of situation where surgery didn't help the pain and are looking for other alternatives and they could help you with those issues as well.
  • Slkep2004 said:
    Let's just say you do find someone to take your case and look into this doctor. Well you've already admitted on the internet that you take some responsibility for problems induced by YOU after surgery. You've already admitted online to smoking when every bit of literature states not to smoke after fusions. You've gone back to the surgeon for multiple surgeries and were confidant enough to allow him to open you up three times. I think what they will possibly say is that they see a person who is not pleased with the outcome of three very hard surgeries wanting to place blame somewhere. In all of the literature, it is quite clear that these fusions are not a 100% cure. It's not even anywhere close to that. I hate to hear you are still in so much pain after going through three procedures, and big ones at that. Sometimes though, it is not anyone's fault. Is it possible that you just were not listening good because you were in so much pain and missed all of these facts? or do you honestly think he or his staff did not advise you of these very fundamental back pointers or post surgical behaviour. If you feel you have been wronged thrice by the same doctor, have the doctor investigated and see if they find anything out. I just can't see tarnishing a doctor's name over possibilities and maybes. I sometimes feel lawsuits are thrown around unnecessarily whenever people don't get the results they were wishing for. That's why we get to sign a gazillion forms at pre-admitting stating we know all of the rules and possibilities. I bet you anything, in one of those papers, it says don't smoke post op. When we are clouded in pain, we are not as observant and miss the small prints a lot of the time.
    S.

    Ya but the question is the doctor negligent opening him up 3 times for the same thing ? Patients depend on their doctors advice called the TRUST FACTOR. Only another doctor or doctors would be able to determine that if the work was bad or just from patient neglect like smoking etc.... It goes both ways. Also if the patient knew he HAD 2 bonafide malpratice cases against the doctor, he probably wouldn't have had the doctor touch him at all. But doctors do not tend to tell patients that, kind of hush-hush. < kind of means their a bad doctor. Its not a frivilous case and if the guy is a bad doctor he needs to have his license taken away. The only way the medical industry monitors itself is if patients tell about problems. If its the patients fault, its the patients fault.

    And If it was me, I would check it with another doctor, attorney and the board, just a suggestion.
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  • I've decided that I do plan- after my last appt. with him in March, to make a claim to the medical board. They'll know if I'm just a disgruntled patient, I'm sure they see plenty. If I'm right, though, then for the sake of others I feel it's responsible to notify someone. He may only lose his abiltiy to do neuro sugery, rather than his full MD license.

    Like I've said before I don't really want to go thru a lawsuit, I'm just upset for all the loses I have now. And it just feels so fishy the way he acts now, like he's hiding something. I do plan to ask him why he keeps blowing me off regarding my pain, etc. at my March appt. I plan to tell him I'd like a second opinion and request he make a referral for me since my state does not allow a patient to see another surgeon for a year post. op. (The third op. was July, 2009- all of which were posterior on L4-5.)

    Like I said before I trusted him and the others who gave me their input. My wife heavily warned me about the procedure, risks, etc. but I wanted to do it anyway. She didn't know about the smoking thing, either. She was on my tail about not overdoing it after the second surgery!! That's when we started asking more questions, researching, etc. I knew that the more surgeries the lower the success rate.

    I'm sure there's a possibility in all the papers I signed there was info. that I didn't catch. I do disagree that he should have given me better post op instructions during his hospital follow up visits. It's human to not remember things, misunderstand, etc. This should be expected, which is why he should regularly remind patients of the crucial things. On my initial paperwork upon my first visit, it does say that I occassional smoke less than a pack each 1-2 weeks.

    A healthcare fact is that surgery outcomes are significantly higher if the doctors sit down with patients explain in detail how the procedure works, what to do afterwards, ask for any questions, and basically spend a long time really going over things. He honestly said to take it easy after the surgery, walk around a little each day, and use common sense for the amount I do. I was naive, I guess; lesson learned. My best excuse is I was in pain and desperate for help. Anything sounded better than nothing. Two PCP's and a pain clinic physican agreed the surgery was a good option since nothing else was working- I tried it all.

    Who knows about the lawsuit thing. I don't have the energy to pursue it now.
  • I am glad to hear that you are accepting that you may have had a part in your healing or lack of healing. We all want a perfect and fast recovery and the fact is it doesnt always happen.

    My thought is that you and your wife need to make a list of questions you have for the surgeon. Go to that next appointment together and ask them all. Be honest about your feelings. You have nothing to lose at this point since you want to go to another surgeon anyway. You might find that he gives you the answers that you need.

    Two things come to mind after reading all of this. First you have to understand that not all problems can be fixed and not all surgerys work right. We are all different and my result will be different from yours. Second surgeons do surgery not diagnosis or on going care. Most will barely speak to you unless it has to do directly with the surgery. Maybe you need to go back to your ortho or neuro docs to find out what is going on now.

    Also keep in mind that negligence or malpractice is knowingly doing something that you know to be wrong. Making an honest mistake is not and even lack of skill or technique is not. So concentrate on fixing your problem and let the anger go.
  • njs4lifennjs4life New Plymouth, ID Posts: 1
    I had 3 back surgeries by same doctor. First one was to fuse L5S1. 2nd was to remove hardware because he said it was inflammed. 3rd was to refuse L5S1. When I called to confirm my 6 week follow up I was told I was no longer a patient  when I asked why I was hung up on. 3 years later still having a lot of pain. Nerologist did CT scan and found that t never fused and bones are moving around causing nerve damage. The doctor has no discipline actions that I can find. New doctor is not sure Wether they can fix it because of the placement by previous doctor. Trying to figure out what to do if I should check into legal action or what.
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