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Any lawyers in the house? I could use some medical/legal advice...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm just looking for some advice and thought I'd try the forum. I apologize in advance for the long post but could really use some input from some folks that might know how to handle these situations from a legal perspective.

Three months ago over the Labor Day weekend I got into a bicycling accident and ended up taking an ambulance ride to the ER. Had injuries to both my left and right sides but the main issue was my right shoulder. I've had a both an anterior dislocation (18 years ago) and a grade 3 separation (10 years ago) to my right shoulder so right away I knew there was something wrong with it.

When I got to the emergency room I was in quite a bit of pain and they had to take x-rays from the ER bed because I was having a real hard time moving around. Needless to say they couldn't get the best angles and what they told me there was that I had another grade 3 separation of the shoulder. So several days later I go in to see the orthopedist for a more extensive exam and he spends about 1 minute looking at the x-rays and just tells me that it is a separated shoulder and I should start physical therapy as soon as possible. He didn't even bother to check my range of motion or have me get more detailed x-rays or an MRI or anything.

I start physical therapy the next week and over the course of the next 2 1/2 weeks there is absolutely no improvement in my shoulder and I'm pretty much in constant pain. I won't go into the details, but everything was uncomfortable and really frustrating. Having been through both a dislocation and a separation in the past I had the feeling that something wasn't right because of the level of pain I was having. So I made an appointment with another orthopedist who spends about 10 minutes asking me questions and testing my range of motion and right away he tells me, "I want to get some more detailed x-rays but I think your shoulder may be dislocated." After getting several x-rays done on the spot, sure enough, he finds out that I've been walking around with a posterior dislocation for the past three weeks. Since he wasn't a shoulder specialist he wanted to refer me back to the same ortho group that initially diagnosed me (they are within the same medical center) to which I tell him that I sure as hell am not going to see the same doctor that missed this diagnosis in the first place.

Doc #2 gets on the horn and gets me in to see an other ortho in the practice right away. Apparently doc #3 is a highly-respected ortho and has done a lot of work with several of the professional athletic teams here in the Bay Area. When I get in to see him he confirms that it's a posterior dislocation and gives me the option of trying to reset the shoulder on the spot or going into surgery within the next several days. He warns me that since the shoulder was dislocated for so long there could be a buildup of scar tissue in the joint and he wasn't sure he'd be able to reset it if he tried right there so I told him that I'd rather be put under when he does it so we schedule the surgery.

The day of the surgery he sends me for an MRI to get a more detailed view of things. From the MRI he notices that the joint has basically ground itself down in one spot where the ball socket was rubbing against my shoulder blade. He warns me that this could cause some longer term problems which I won't get into here, but essentially he starts getting really attentive with me because I start asking questions about whether this could have been the result of the physical therapy that I was undergoing while the shoulder was dislocated. Because at this point I'm starting to realize that his partners original misdiagnoses and recommendation for PT could have left me with some serious problems.

This post is already getting too long so my basic question is whether or not this is something that I could have grounds to speak to a lawyer about. Everyone I talk to about it suggest I do so, but I'm not really trying to go after a lawsuit. But the fact is that my shoulder is still in pretty bad shape and might require surgery to repair the damage that exists now. If anyone is versed on this kind of thing and could just give me a yay or nay on whether or not I should pursue some type of legal action I would appreciate it. Thanks.
post #2 of 5
I didn't read your thread. There are lots of people who ask for legal advice and get jeered, you're possibly the first to ask for free medical and legal advice at the same time. icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

Get a real lawyer, not an internet lawyer.
post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercuryman76 View Post

This post is already getting too long so my basic question is whether or not this is something that I could have grounds to speak to a lawyer about. Everyone I talk to about it suggest I do so, but I'm not really trying to go after a lawsuit. But the fact is that my shoulder is still in pretty bad shape and might require surgery to repair the damage that exists now. If anyone is versed on this kind of thing and could just give me a yay or nay on whether or not I should pursue some type of legal action I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Speaking to a lawyer doesn't entail a lawsuit.

You're also asking somebody to make a decision for you as to whether to enter into litigation. Not even your lawyer will do that for you. He will advise you on whether you have a case.

Cases rely on evidence, especially medical negligence. If you haven't finished treatment on your shoulder you are in no position to say what kind of damage you have suffered. You would probably have to prove that the misdiagnosis in the first place has actually caused you some losses. You really should let the medical process continue before you start thinking about litigation.

Lastly, why do you expect people who have spent time and money acquiring professional skills which allow them to make a living to give you free advice?

Go speak to a professional if you feel it necessary.
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by VelvetGreen View Post


Lastly, why do you expect people who have spent time and money acquiring professional skills which allow them to make a living to give you free advice?

I am a lawyer, and spent about as much time as it would take me to help this guy staring aimlessly at my screen.
post #5 of 5
Get in touch with Lionel Hutz, JD. He can help.
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