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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: General
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Experience:  45 years old, retired Marine Officer, current attorney
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I just had surgery to repair tendons in my right arm. The

Customer Question

I just had surgery to repair tendons in my right arm. The MRI indicated that there were significant tears. When the surgeon opened up my elbow he was unable to find the torn tendons.

Is there financial recourse to help pay for this surgery?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

This begs the question, who was at fault? In other words, was this a case of the surgeon operated but could not find the proble (but the problem is still there)? Or is this a case of the problem was not there in the first place (for example, someone misread the MRI)?

Or do you know?

What are the damages? What did you pay for the operation?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The tendons indicated in the MRI were not torn acording to the surgeon. At this point I do not have a total $$ amount as I had the surgery yesterday. I would imagine it will run upward of $10K
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 3 years ago.
Thanks...so (from your view) where is the mistake? I mean, is the problem you had (that prompted this useless surgery) still present? Or is it too early to tell?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Basically I injured myself and went to the Dr to have it checked out. He ordered an x-ray and then an MRI. Based on the results of the MRI (torn tendons) I had surgery.

The surgeon scheduled the surgery and was surprised that the tendons were not torn. So my feeling is that the MRI results were misinterpred expecially since the bicep tendon was stated as being 60% torn when there was no tearing.

So from my point of view the Radiologist's report caused the unneeded surgery from now which I have to recover from and have Physical Therapy
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 3 years ago.
Thanks

That is the key here...to show mistake.

It seems clear there was a mistake...the trick is to prove who was at fault. Was it

1. The person who read the MRI (which I would bet a lot of money was NOT the doctor but the Radiologist)

or

2. The doctor who could not see the obvious tear (assuming there was an obvious tear)

I agree, it was likely the Radiologist.


Now the tough part...to sue and win you have to hire a lawyer (or find one who will sue for you on contingency).

Lets back up...

To successfully sue for medical malpractice, you must meet four part test:
1. A duty was owed - a legal duty exists whenever a hospital or health care provider undertakes care or treatment of a patient. They have a "duty" to treat you with "due care". This is typically easy to prove and would extend to the Radiologist.


2. The duty was breached - the provider failed to conform to the relevant standard of care. The standard of care is proved by expert testimony or by obvious errors (the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur or 'the thing speaks for itself'). This is often the tough part...since you have to prove, with expert testimony, that, basically, the doctor messed this up...that they were "negligent".

In your case, you would need to prove the Radiologist "blew it"...but the MRI still exists...so its actually easy to look at it (easy for someone with training) to see.

3. The breach caused or aggravated an injury - The breach of duty was a proximate cause of the injury. If you can show they messed up, its often easy to the next step...that the mess up caused the injury. SO if you can show that the MRI did NOT show a tear? Then you got em! You have a great suit.



4. Damages - Without damages (losses which may be pecuniary or emotional), there is no basis for a claim, regardless of whether the medical provider was negligent.
This is often the second hardest part to prove, since you need to have serious injury to convince an attorney to bring the case.

Here, your damages are limited (assuming you recover...but if you do not recover? Then your damages will go way up).

Based on your description, it appears you may indeed have a case. If you can show that the Radiologist misdiagnosed this, and that misdiagnosis lead to your paying for this mess, you would have a strong case.


I would get a copy of that MRI (you rate it under federal law) and have a few other folks look at this to see if they get the same take as the guy (or gal) who said there was a tear. If they disagree? Go get a lawyer and sue em!


P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 27116
Experience: 45 years old, retired Marine Officer, current attorney
P. Simmons and 118 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you very much. That pretty much confirms what I was thinking.

Now to find a good lawyer in Winson-Salem, NC
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 3 years ago.
Easy

http://www.ncbar.org/public-pro-bono/lawyer-referral-service.aspx

But do the MRI part first...if you find a radiologist that disagrees? Then go get yourself a good lawyer..with the evidence of a radiologist disagreement? You will be able to take your pick of lawyers.

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P. Simmons
P. Simmons
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45 years old, retired Marine Officer, current attorney