I am a 33 y/o mail and in January 2005 I fell from my snowboarding and sustained a spinal compression injury in discs c6-c7. The result was my spinal cord being compressed to 7mm.
I did not immediately seek medical attention after the fall as I felt no initial pain. That spring my arms started to weaken and caused great pain. I attributed this to a new motorcycle I purchased and the new posture I held for extended periods of time. I was treated with physical therapy and the pain subsided.
That fall I had increased bilateral pain in my hips that radiated down my groin and legs.
My first Dr. thought an issue with the hip socket and I soon moved to another Dr since at the age of 29 most people don't need to look at hip replacements.
My new Dr. thought I had Lupus, then MS. This process took most of 2006 where I was forced to start using a cane and live on lortab/percocet or Tylenol 3. I went to several specialists in the field of auto-immune and MS but all informed me I had no issue.
In 2007 I was then sent to an Orthopedic who asked for my medical history and previous issues, I supplied them and he diagnosed me with Bursitis. I was treated in the normal fashion of physical therapy, then steroid injections then more injections and more PT. I was told the bilateral nature was caused by sympathy pains and my left side was the issue as it had always hurt more.
At the end of 2008 I was told that no treatment was working and I should look into surgery as it was all thats left. I agreed since nothing else worked and the birth of my daughter inspired me to get rid of the cane and the pain.
The surgeon removed my left greater trochanteric bursae and left my IT band split down the middle 6-7 inches. Followed by steroids and stronger pills I found some gains in movement and pain. My general physician was not consulted on this surgery.
Three weeks later all returned and I no longer saw this doctor.
Finally in 2009 I requested to see a neurologist and the issue of my neck was found. At this point my arms had weakened to being unable to hold must more than 10lbs more than a few minutes, my movement still required a cane and my pain levels pushed me to stronger pain medication that I later had a chemical addiction to. I had another operation to fix my neck and have since been recovering.
It's been 9 months since my neck surgery and my pain level is much lower but I'm still not able to carry my daughter, walk without a cane for assistance or not take many pain meds throughout the day. The primary issue with my recovery is the 4 years that I walked around with this nerve damage.
The IT band that was split still hurts as now I have what i believe is called runners knee, where the IT band is loose. The scar tissue still causes very sharp pain when touched or pressed.
I certainly have normal pain from the nerve damage and I don't want to sound as though the hip issues I've described are my only pain.
I don't like 99% of all legal actions and I don't need money. I get increased pressure from family to seek legal guidance.
What I want to know is the following -
1. Was the Orthopedic wrong in not being able to diagnose me with a herniated disc?
2. Was the surgery wrong?
3. Is this Orthopedic guilty of negligence or I was I simply guilty of going to a bad Dr.?
1 Answer from Attorneys
It is a complex medical issue as to whether the orthopedic surgeon was negligent in not giving you the correct diagnosis at the time. One would have to look at all of the medical records and have a medical expert examine them to learn the answer to your first question. Other issues of medical malpractice are easier to determine, for example, the failure to follow up on certain suspicious signs of cancer.
Your second question has pretty much the same answer.
Your third question depends on the answers to the first two questions. However, there is a one year statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Nevada and this statute certainly began to run when you learned in 2009 of your "correct" diagnosis. So, if this was more than a year ago, you can tell your family the statute of limitations has surely run.