Do I have a case?

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  #1  
Old 11-06-08, 10:36 PM
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Do I have a case?

On 03/22/2007 I had a incisional hernia repair with mesh. I stayed overnight at xxxx and was released in good condition on 03/23/2007. My recovery went well. I had a Jackson-Pratt drain placed in my abdomen to drain any fluid that may have accumulated after surgery. On May 23, I went to the ER complaining of pain, nausea, my abdomen was unusually bloated and I had a large blister on my hernia incision (about the size of a half dollar) A CT scan was done which found collections of fluid. The ER doctor treated me for the pain with IV pain meds and eventually sent me home. I returned to the ER, complaining of the same symptoms, on 05/25/2007, except the blister was gone and now in it's place was a huge gaping hole! Dr. xxxxx was called and, once again, I was sent home. On 05/30/2007, I visited the ER....again. Same symptoms. I was cathed and another CT was done. This time I was admitted. The ER doctor found that the fluid collection had doubled in size and she admitted me to have them drained. In the morning, Dr. xxxx stopped in to review the CT scan. He was upset that I had been admitted when there appeared to be no fluid. He said that the collections had shrunk size and that they were almost nonexistant. When I told him that the ER doctor had said that they had doubled in size, he informed me that Dr. xxxxx was an ER doctor and that she didn't have his medical training and he had me discharged. Eventually the hole closed up. On 06/08/2007, I woke up with another blister. This one was the size of a quarter. It drained and left another hole. I returned to the ER and another CT scan was done with contrast that found more fluid collection on the mesh. I was treated for pain and discharged with instuctions telling me to visit Dr. xxxxx on Monday 06/11/2007. Monday came and I visited Dr. xxxxx. His reply to the most recent CT scan was, "I guess there was fluid in there". He sent me to the hospital to have it drained immediately. The lab results showed that I had an elevated WBC count. The hole finally closed up. On 06/25/2007, I woke up with a blister about the size of a dime. That was it! I decided that in order for me to get any sort of a decent diagnosis, I would need to visit another hospital. On 06/26/2007, I drove to Gilbert, Az. 3 1/2 hours away and my sister accompanied me to the ER there. I had a fever when I arrived and I was pretty weak. The doctors saw me and a surgeon was called. I was in no immediate danger so the surery was put off until 07/01/2007. I was comfortable with this doctor so I decided to wait so that he could do the surgery. Dr. xxxx said that the CT scan that was done when I arrived of the abdomen and pelvis revealed abcesses of the abdomen and those were drained and had bacterial growth out of them. He said that I did have a fistula that connected to the scar and it went all the way down to the mesh. The mesh was infected on both sides of the abdominal wall. This was totally removed along with the sutures and the tags that were used to secure it in place. I was released from the hospital in Gilbert on 07/08/2007. I left with a wound vac. I had nurses that come in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to change the wound vac. This whole mess could have been avoided if Dr. xxxxx could have taken his ego out of the equasion and diagnosed the patient instead of worrying about the idea of him being wrong. I do hope that I have provided enough information for you to see and understand the pain and suffering that I have gone through and that I am still enduring due to this doctor that has a massive God complex.

The way things sand now,I have a huge scar down the middle of my stomach, the infection was on both sides of the scar. Now that everything has healed, I have noticed that where the infection was,
there is no sensation. Numb. If I find that I have an itch............too bad, I can't get to it. And I find that there are times where the pain is unbearable. I'm not sure I know what is going on, but I think that I would call this 'nerve damage'.

What are my choices? I'd like to take this doctor to court.....but he's settled 2 other times. Guess that should have been a warning to me.


I have already taken him before the Arizona Medical Board....they found more things that he has done wrong...but they only gave him 15-20 hrs of hernia/mesh education.

What are my chances of getting this case heard before a judge..........or settled out of court?

Sorry this was so long, but I'd appreciate the input.

Thank you,

Klyn13jwl
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 11-07-08 at 03:43 AM. Reason: Names removed
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  #2  
Old 11-07-08, 03:45 AM
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I'm afraid you are really in the wrong place to get a simple answer to a very complex question.

Consult an attorney; there should be no cost on this type of case although you may have to pay an initial consulation fee.

Also, please do not use actual names when posting this type of question.
 
  #3  
Old 11-13-08, 08:14 PM
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First, I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. It is an opinion.

I would think that if a medical board found wrong doing so would a judge and jury. But first of all.... you can sure bet insurance (the docs or hospitals) will want to settle. (it is usually a lot more costly for them to go to court than to just settle) And of course they are really going to low ball the heck outta you.

You need an attorney and one would be worth your time and consultation fee.

Good luck and an update at some point would be good.

Also, good luck with your recovery and I hope all goes well for you from here on out.
 
  #4  
Old 11-18-08, 09:50 AM
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first, you did write a detailed and useful summary of the medical events that you feel are important. however, missing from your narrative is the set of laws that would govern your case. i assume you live in arizona and that all events occurred in a private, not governmental, setting.
i am an attorney and physician practicing in the area of medical malpractice for almost 30 years, here in the midwest.
the approach we use is backwardes from what patients usually use. patients usually focus on what the doctor did wrong and how they do not really care about the money, but would only like to go to court so the doctor would admit to his wrongdoing [or be found guilty] and so he will not do it to anyone again. this is a noble goal, but totally unrealistic. the problem is, as you have suggested, that too many doctors have a god complex and will never admit they are wrong. therefore, we do an economic [not medical] analysis first.
we currently have a case coming up for trial. it was filed over 4years ago. the doctor did a low back operation on the wrong side of the back. the patient developed bad pain afterwards on the side that had no pain at all before the operation. for months the doctor lied to the patient and to other doctors about the operation that he actually did, even though a post-operative MRI proves he was on the wrong side. in the past 4 1/2 years the doctor has never accepted responsibility for his error. he denies he did anything wrong. he admits he was on the wrong side, but says that is just a teeny little mistake and that he somehow managed to finish the operation he intended to do by making up some procedure that no-one, including his own experts, understands. no-one can understand his garbled and incomplete operative report. in other words, he mucked around, trying to get from the wrong side to the correct side, and in the process caused new severe permanent disabling injuries.
despite this obvious malpratice, he has never agreed to any error and his insurance company has never offered one cent to settle this case, after 4 1/2 years. this is very typical of how the malpractice system works in our state. our government keeps track of who wins and who loses malpractice cases in court. for the last 8 years, the patient wins about 14% of the time, the doctors win the rest. those are grim odds for the patient and his lawyer.
also, 100% of medical malpractice cases legally require that a team of medical experts be in court, with the patient, to explain his case to the jury. without this team, the case is dismissed. the team is never from the same state as the patient. the minute the defendant doctor or his insurance company finds out that a local doctor wants to help a patient, the local doc risks having his practice destroyed by the medical community. we have to go out of state to find a qualified team. because of the astronomical fees that doctors charge, for whatever thay do, the costs of a team average about $40,000 to $60,000 [or more, for a complex case].
if the case is lost, the lawyer has to pay for this team, and of course the lawyer gets paid nothing for his 4 1/2 years of work. in addition, in our state, as in many others, the medical/insurance profession has bought and paid for the state legislature and has passed laws "capping" the amount of money a patient can collect for pain and suffering [in california the cap is $250,000 even for a lifetime of excruciating pain]. our state cap is $750,000. finally, any money that an insurance company pays for your medical bills has to be returned to them, if you win your case, even if you paid the premiums, either directly or indirectly, and even if the company does nothing to help you win your case. you pay the premium; you do the work; you take the risk; they collect if you win [thereby reducing your recovery].
the bottom line, for a case such as yours, in which the legal damages are largely due to future pain and suffering, were it to occur in our state with our cap, would be as follows:
you have a 16% chance of winning at most $750,000; your lawyer would have to spend about $60,000+ to get you into court; the chances of settling before trial are very slim. economically, the case does not make sense in a state such as ours with our caps. however, i do not know arizona law, nor the caps if any, in your state.
finally, to whoever says that it is cheaper for the insurance to settle than go to court, i say that experience does not bear this out. they rarely settle.
now, for the important question: why do they rarely settle? because they usually win in court. why do they usually win?
doctors have no trouble finding friends to say nothing was done wrong;
they all lie in court;
the language is too complicated for the average juror;
most people think there are too many nuisance suits against doctors, and that is the cause of high hospital and doctor costs;
too many jurors either work for the health care system or have close friends or family that do;
too many state laws are very highly protective of doctors.
finally, in our wrong side back case, a large focus group was conducted. about 12% of people though it was NOT malpractice to operate on the wrong side. luckily, the other 88% are neither wicked nor fools. still, 12% would think it is ok to operate on the wrong side [UNLESS IT HAPPENS TO THEM OR THEIR FAMILY].
given the above very long discussion, you can see that it is impossible to give a definite answer to any medical malpractice claim by e-mail, without a detailed review of medical records and individual state laws. however, general advice can be given and is sometimes helpful, and i would be happy to try to answer questions.
 
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