Legal Question in Medical Malpractice in United States

I experienced a medical complication in 2012 that was a result of "below the standard of care" medical treatment. I had a dirty wound on my knee that didn't get properly washed out, and as a result became infected. The infection caused damage to the IT band and the joint capsule of the knee. I ended up with two surgeries to wash the knee out and a PICC line with 12 weeks of antibiotics. The initial physician not only did not wash the wound out well, but he showed poor judgement in choosing to close up the wound rather then leave it open.

I know that I am beyond the 2 year of statute of limitations. Recently, my knee began hurting again and I got an MRI two weeks ago that shows a Grade IV chondromalacia defect. This is something that is not fixable and at the age of 44, I am too young for a joint replacement. This defect is likely a result of the bacterial insult that occurred in 2012. It now hurts to walk down stairs and I can no longer run, or chase my 5 year old due to pain. Because the MRI shows a "new finding," and I have new sequela from the original maltreatment, do I have any recourse at this point?

Asked on 1/21/16, 3:16 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary

In Florida you likely do not. You knew or should have known about that problem at the time of the original treatment. Not getting a definition of the underlying problem until now with the MRI is not likely going to start the statute of limitations from running again. Chondromalacia is a degenerative type of problem which develops over time and likely started at the time of your original treatment.

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Answered on 1/21/16, 3:31 pm
Nima Taradji Taradji Law Offices

You don't say where you are located. If in Illinois:

You may or may not have a case. The determination as to whether or not there is a claim for medical malpractice is really a medical question rather than a legal question. You have to get all your medical records and charts and have them reviewed by an expert to make the determination as to whether or not your doctor has failed to follow the standard of care in the community in which he or she practices. Once you have the expert opinion taking the position that there was in fact a failure on the part of your doctor to follow the proper standard, then we have to see what are the damages you are claiming.

Because prosecuting a medical malpractice is very expensive, it only makes sense to pursue cases where the injuries are of catastrophic and permanent nature. Smaller injuries can simply not be pursued because the expected award will be far less than the cost of the prosecution.

But all the same, get your medical records and have them reviewed by an attorney to see where you stand in terms of a viable claim.

I hope this helps-

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Answered on 1/21/16, 6:55 pm
Michael Zerres Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari

If your treatment was in New Jersey, the Statute of Limitations is very likely expired. However, if your orthopedist would give a report stating without exception that the Chondromalacia is not related to a degenerative knee condition and/or the initial trauma to your knee, that it is exclusively related to infection caused by shortcomings in your treatment in 2012, and that you were just diagnosed with it (with no prior knowledge of the developing condition), then a claim might be viable to further investigate. If your treatment was in New Jersey, please feel free to call me or one of my partners if your orthopedist would be willing to support the referenced claim. (973)635-5400.

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Answered on 1/22/16, 6:07 am
Mel Franke Mel G. Franke, Attorney at Law

Only if you can show continuing care by the hospital who first treated you.

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Answered on 1/25/16, 12:44 pm

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