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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 17829
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I got into a car accident and broke my femur. Had surgery same

Customer Question

I got into a car accident and broke my femur. Had surgery same day, rod and pins. 6 weeks ago.
On the original x ray before surgery, there is only one fracture, but on the x ray after, there is a second break as well (closer to the hip). He said that "it happens sometimes in surgery." Also, after my surgery, my vagina and inner thighs were bruised and my vaginal lips were completely numb. 6 weeks after, still have numbness in my vaginal lips and in my shin (but that one I can understand why). They said it was "very unusual" and probably "happened during surgery" when they pulled me on the table, as there is a post in the middle of the table. Also, the day AFTER surgery, they came and asked if I hurt any where else, and I told them my knee, my collar bone/shoulder, and my ribs. They told me that all of those scans were clear. On my 1 week follow up appointment, a new doctor looked at the scans and told me that I did have a broken collarbone, rib, and possible kneecap, along with a ligament tear. Then, at my 6 week follow up, one Physicians Assistant came in and told me that I don't have ANY healing in my femur and that there was nothing wrong with my shoulder/collar bone or knee. He also said to put 50% weight baring on my leg. Then, the doctor who did my surgery came in 5 minutes later and told me that I had great healing but to put toe touch weight baring on the leg. I was so confused and am really not trusting these doctors.
My questions:
1. Do additional fractures often happen during surgery?
2. How could they miss that many injuries?
3. How can 2 doctors (from the same practice) have completely opposite views of scans, that many times?
4. Being injured during surgery, or not getting the care for the other injuries that were present; should I talk to a lawyer? should I talk to someone at the hospital?
5. Is there any wrong doing of my doctors?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.
Hello from JustAnswer.
It will help if you could provide some further information.
Do you have access to the actual x-rays and radiologist interpretations?
If so, can you attach them?
When the doctor said that there was a fracture of the collarbone, rib, and possibly the kneecap, what did he suggest should be the next step?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He said that they will just heal on their own and there was nothing that he could do. I only have xrays.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.
There should be more x-rays than this.
Since you only included the three and none of the collarbone, ribs, or kneecap, does that mean that these are the only that you have received?
I also do not see any date and time stamps on the x-rays, but there only appears to be one cross-table x-ray before surgery. Were additional views taken before surgery?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Those are the only ones I have access to without getting them from the hospital
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They were taken from my phone. I was never given anything but my discharge papers
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So, what should I do?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information. Without all the x-rays, it is difficult to fully answer your questions, but I can direct you in how you can proceed.
Let me address each of your questions in turn.
1. Do additional fractures often happen during surgery?
No. Additional fractures would be extremely rare during surgery, particularly in a young adult with healthy bones. An elderly person with brittle bones would have a greater risk than a young adult, but even then, fractures do not happen often during surgery.
2. How could they miss that many injuries?
Injuries can be missed if the original x-rays did not get an adequate view. The cross table x-ray that you attached did not show the entire femur. If no other view was taken at the same time that showed the rest of the femur, then that could explain a missed injury. When a person is acutely injured and is having severe pain, it is sometimes difficult to get optimal images, but if the first films did not get a complete view, the doctor should have asked the Radiology technician to obtain additional views.
3. How can 2 doctors (from the same practice) have completely opposite views of scans, that many times?
The most common reason why two doctors would have different opinions about the same x-ray would be if the changes are subtle. If changes are subtle, though, there also is an option to repeat the x-rays in a week or two or obtain an advanced imaging study. When there is a very subtle fracture on x-rays, a repeated s-ray after a week or two is usually more apparent, not because the fracture is larger, but because the healing process will cause changes on the x-ray that are more apparent.
If the changes on the x-rays are not subtle, then this difference in interpretation would be a concern about whether there has been poor care.
4. Being injured during surgery, or not getting the care for the other injuries that were present; should I talk to a lawyer? should I talk to someone at the hospital?
Of course, these questions are not mutually exclusive. The first step would be to obtain all of your medical records, including the original x-rays and Radiologist interpretations. X-rays are usually digital, so can be provided on discs or other electronic storage media. We still use the term, film, to describe the images, but there usually is no actual film being used. After obtaining records, then you can meet with a representative from the hospital. They are required by federal law to investigate any complaints and report back to you about their findings. However, you can also perform your own investigation, including asking for independent assessments of the s-rays. After you have acquired all this information, then you can talk to a lawyer.
5. Is there any wrong doing of my doctors?
If there was a fracture that occurred during surgery, that would be an indication of a deviation of care, although it may be a reflection of the hospital staff more than the doctors. Whether there is an error from the doctors would depend upon the actual x-rays. When you seek the independent interpretation of the x-rays, you can also ask that Radiologist about how subtle were any changes.
If I can provide any clarification, please let me know.