The pain in my right ankle reached the point that I could not walk, therefore could not do my job. Began seeing orthopedic surgeon in Apr. of 06. I saw him again in Nov. 06 and Nov. 07. He said the ankle was extremely bad with arthritis and I needed to have a talonavicular fusion. From the knee down, my leg is very swollen.Surgery done Nov. 13, 07.Nov. 26, 07: Doctor said there had been a large amount of fluid in the ankle during surgery. He said it looked like fusion was beginning. Placed my ankle in a cast.Jan. 2, 08: He said fusion was progressing, showed me the x-rays where fusion was taking place, and gave me a CAM walking boot. He commented on how swollen my leg and foot was.Jan. 31, 08: Incision was leaking due to an infection: Now he says the ankle is not fusing and one screw is broken. Says the non-fusion may be because of the amount of edema in my leg.Feb. 6, 08: Doctor says the alignment looks good, but may not be fusing. Tells me I can do mild weight bearing with CAM boot and crutches. Wants me to use a bone stimulator. Quite concerned about the edema and wants me to wear compression stockings. Feels the edema is causing the non-fusion.Mar. 6, 08: I told him I could not get the stockings up my leg because of the swelling. He said that fusion still was not happening. I should continue using the stimulator.Mar. 31, 08: Having a lot of pain and more swelling of the leg. Doctor says there still is no fusion and one screw is still broken. Wants me to have a venous ultrasound.Apr. 2, 08: My pain and swelling is increasing. Ultrasound was negative. He said it still looks like the ankle is not fusing. Had another cast placed on my leg.Apr. 16, 08: Pain is better, but edema is about the same. He continues to say that the non-fusing is caused by the amount of fluid in the ankle. Says to continue with the CAM boot and bone stimulator. Puts some sort of wrap on my leg to help lessen the edema.Apr. 30, 08: Swelling of my leg is a little better. He says the fusion has not happened, but I should continue using the stockings, the CAM boot, the bone stimulator and work toward wearing regular shoes.At this point I had to leave Tucson to work in Idaho. The doctor said to keep up with the treatment given above.Nov. 3, 08: Pain is bad and edema is huge. Doctor said there was no fusion and wants to do the surgery again.Nov. 7, 08: SURGERY AGAIN. Old hardware with broken screw is removed and replaced with hardware using large staples. He said there was some kind of complication, but didn't specify what.Nov. 17, 08: Doctor says fusion is beginning with good alignment. Foot and ankle are placed in cast.Dec. 15, 08: States and shows me "fuzzy" x-ray indicating fusion is happening. I can't tell anything is going on. Placed back into ankle and lower leg cast.Jan. 19, 09: X-rays show fusion and good alignment he says. Hardware is holding. Has me begin walking with minimal weight on heel only in CAM boot.Jan. 22, 09: Since I couldn't see anything in the "fuzzy" x-rays, I wanted to know what would happen if the fusion doesn't take place again. My leg was huge with edema again. The doctor NOW SAYS it's too early to tell if the fusion is going to take or not. 3 days ago he said it was already fusing.Feb. 16, 09: My leg is still huge with edema. Doctor says there is fusion happening with consolidation. He now says there is SIGNIFICANT edema in the leg. He says to begin bearing full weight on my right leg.Mar. 16, 09: Having a lot of pain in right leg and leg is huge. Doctor says there is fusion with consolidation. He says the fusion is stable, but thinks the edema may have an effect on my leg. Prescribes P.T. to work on walking and control edema.Apr. 16, 09: Having pain in right leg and ankle. Edema is worse. P.T. has not accomplished anything notable. Left leg is now swelling. Doctor told me to see my cardiologist for evaluation concerning bilateral edema. He ordered a CT and MRI. Also ordered lab work for evaluating potential inflammation possibility. He said the staples were beginning to BACK OUT.Apr. 23, 09: I'm having pain in many of my joints. Doctor says MRI shows severe edema in the foot. CT shows partial healing of the fusion. The lab work indicates CRP of 11. Fusion is showing evidence of HEALING.May 7, 09: Both legs swollen. X-rays show staples backing out, but fusion in good alignment with consolidation.Nov. 23, 09: Staples have almost completely backed out. Edema is bad in both legs, particularly the right. Fusion in good overall alignment.Dec. 30, 09: Ongoing pain. "Impressive" edema in right leg. Staples pushing on skin, soJan. 8, 10, the staples are removed.Jan. 11, 10: Doctor now confesses there has been NO FUSION. The bones are "very soft and disintegrating". Doctor says he will do NO FURTHER SURGERY.Do I have grounds for a mal-practice law suit? Do I have ANY recourse for these past 2 years of pain and suffering under his care and treatment?
State/Country relating to question: Arizona
I have collected all the original doctors notes, x-rays, CT's, MRI's, and everything else I can get my hands on. I also have the notes from a "second opinion" doctor about the possibilities of a 3rd surgery and her opinion of what happened with the first 2 surgeries.
Do not worry. You can get the compensation you deserve. The doctor had a duty to do something when your leg and foot were not improving. Also, the staples backed out and there was no fusion. You can argue that these are things that do not happen without Negligence. Continue to gather all your related medical records and bills. Your case is worth three to five times your medical bills and lost wages. You will need a statement from another doctor in the same specialty. He must state that this doctor's treatment was below the standard of care and that is what caused your current condition. Sue the doctor and the hospital for medical malpractice and breach of contract. In Arizona, you have two years from the date of discovery of the injury to file a lawsuit for these claims. Hire a local medical malpractice lawyer. Go on www.martindale.com. Good luck and remember to press accept so that I may get credit.
Former Torts professor and former personal injury paralegal
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