What can I do if my wife was permanently imjured during knee surgery? 26 Answers as of August 02, 2011

My wife had knee surgery August 13, 2009. Before surgery, she was given a "nerve block" to help for pain after the surgery. She was told that would be numb for 24 hours and then start feeling pain in the surgically repaired knee. It is almost 2 years later and she still has no feeling where the "nerve block" was given. We have spoken to a few attorneys, but were told there was no malpractice. Is this common and should we seek yet another attorney?

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Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
Medical malpractice cases are dependent on the anticipated and possible outcomes. If nerve damage was a possible outcome, then it is possible that the doctor did not commit malpractice. It sounds like you have spoken to several lawyers. I would get at least three opinions on whether you have a case and should pursue it.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/2/2011
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
Since I do not specialize in medical malpractice claims and I do not know all of the facts of the case and have not reviewed the medical records, I am not able to tell you whether there was negligence or not. If you have sought the advice of multiple attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice and they have turned down your case then it is likely that there is something about it that tells the attorneys that it is not a good case. That is very common. Even a case that appears very good on first glance can be a loser if there is a fatal flaw. Sometimes that flaw is a legal issue, sometimes the case is not worth the money it would take to pursue it, sometimes it is a fact involved in the case and sometimes it is just that the plaintiff herself would not be a good client either because she won't testify well, jurors will not like her, she previous injuries or she is just someone that would be difficult to work with. If you do not feel that you have received a straight up opinion about your wife's case I would suggest that you consult with another attorney and ask that attorney to be honest with you and tell you exactly why the case is not viable.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/2/2011
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
You need a medical opinion, not a legal opinion. Unfortunately, the best way to get a medical opinion is to go through an attorney, because they know who to send your medical records to for a medical opinion as to whether malpractice occurred. If all she has is numbness, but no loss of function, she probably does not have sufficient damages to go through the expense of a malpractice case. This may be what the attorneys are telling you - not that malpractice didn't occur, but there is insufficient damages to pursue a case.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 8/1/2011
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
The main legal issue on your wife's claim of malpractice would focus on whether the treatment she received at the time fell below the prevailing standard of care which could be reasonably expected from that particular community at that particular time. Not having any of the relevant facts regarding this issue, I would have no idea but attorneys who handle malpractice claims in the area where your wife received the treatment should be able to provide reasonably reliable answers.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 8/1/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
Often attorneys disagree, so it couldn't hurt to get another opinion. The problem you may be running into is that the statute of limitations has expired (i.e. it's too late to sue), or the attorney believes that there was no negligence, or the most common reason an attorney won't take your case: these cases are very difficult and very expensive. The attorney fronts all the costs, so unless it's a very strong case or you are willing to front the costs, it is too risky for the attorney. Similarly, the attorney may be concerned that the medical bills related to the injury are so small that it cannot compensate them for the hours and hours of work they will have to do. Our firm gives consultations to those who have been turned down by other attorneys. Also, we are sometimes willing to work with clients on other arrangements if we think the case is too risky. For example, we might ask that you incur the costs of getting your own medical records and hiring the required expert. Other times we agree to take cases on an hourly rate rather than a contingency fee. So, in that way we are able to help some clients who cannot otherwise find help. Let us know if you are interested in a consultation.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/1/2011
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    you will probably get the same answer contrary to widely held views, successful medical malpractice lawsuits are few and far between
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Yes. You should contact your local bar association for a referral of a plaintiff's medical malpractice attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    See a personal injury attorney who regularly handles medical negligence cases! You are running out of time!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    As a practical matter, even if there was negligence, it is too close tot the expiration of the statute of limitations to investigate and file the claim. But if several attorneys have turned down the case, it is probably not a case you can win.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    If you want to pursue this then you have to find a lawyer right away. The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case is two and one half years. Whether or not malpractice was committed can only be determined by consulting doctors in the same general locale and with similar qualifications. Only a doctor can tell you if something was done wrong. Keep looking for a lawyer. Stick to lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    D'Amore Law Group
    D'Amore Law Group | Douglas Oh-Keith
    Whether there was medical negligence depends on whether the doctor in question failed to use the degree of care skill and diligence which is used by ordinarily careful physicians in the same or similar circumstances, in the same or similar community. Further, their failure of skill must have caused the damages which are sought. A bad surgical result does not necessarily mean that the doctor was negligent. This type of matter requires a close reading of medical records by a medical professional in concert with an attorney as testimony by a medical professional will be needed in order to prove the case. Attorneys can differ on whether it is a viable malpractice case. Whether to seek another opinion depends on how closely the medical records were viewed and by whom.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    If permanent numbness is one of the expected potential complications and this was supposedly explained to her when they obtained her informed consent (they probably didnt tell her but they will likely lie and say they did), then you probably dont have a case. You might consider investigating whether the manufacturer of the medication they used to numb her knee has been sued for permanent numbness. You may have a product liability case. If so, the statute of limitations may be coming up in 2 weeks, so you need to act quickly to do your research and to find an attorney that will take this. It is not impossible to do in that time frame.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    They are very likely correct. It's a known risk of the procedure. And the damages are limited such that we would not take that case. Riley
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Nerve blocks are generally safer than a general anesthetic, which puts the patient in a controlled coma. Persistent numbness is one of the risks of surgery. If your wife is diabetic or pre-diabetic, the doctors can use that as a defense too. No obvious medical malpractice in your story.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    Have you gotten a second medical opinion? Unless another doctor tells you that there was malpractice you do not have a case. Attorneys you spoke to were probably right. Note you only have 2 years from date of surgery to file suit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    In Utah, there is a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice. If you are going to seek an attorney, you should do so very quickly, as time is running out.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
    The attitudes of the American public have led to tort reform which means "take away the rights of individuals so businesses can make more profits. Lawsuits for malpractice today are viewed with great concern by the public. It is probably a moot point anyway because the statute of limitations for malpractice in Oklahoma is 2 years from the date of the error. If your wife has not hired a lawyer and filed a case within 2 years of the malpractice injury, your wife has no claim because it becomes "time barred." Another issue in your case is the injury. No feeling in your knee can be a terrible and very scary situation to discover after an operation but the damages are likely to be devalued by jurors today. A numb knee case could very well make a juror mad that the Plaintiff is wasting his time with the claim. Until people begin to understand how medical malpractice cases can easily cause a lawyer to spend 150,000 to 250,000 presenting a case. The damages for a numb knee would be viewed by many med mal lawyers as insufficient to justify the time and the expense of the attorney. "Direct threats require decisive action."
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Unfortunately, not every medical dilemma is the result of negligence. Medical malpractice, which is the legal terminology for a doctor's negligence, is only present when the doctor deviates from the expected standard of care under those circumstances. In other words, if a doctor follows the proper procedure that is recommended for a particular malady or situation and despite doing so, something doesn't go well, it is only the doctor's fault if they were negligent in their efforts. Many medical procedures carry a certain degree of risk that cannot be avoided. If other attorneys have reviewed your case and determined that there was no malpractice, you will have to use your best judgment to decide if you trust what they are telling you or not. If you still think that the doctors did something negligent and what happened to your wife was foreseeable and the result of the doctor's negligence seek an additional opinion. Lawyers don't always get it right either. Medicine in not an exact science. On the other hand I will tell you that if you came to my office and told me that your brought your case to 2 - 3 other attorneys and they all agreed that there was no negligence, I would probably not take the case either. Use your own judgment as to whether you want another opinion or not.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Has a doctor said there was malpractice?
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    That, unfortunately, is not an uncommon occurrence. In Florida, a bad result can not be used as evidence of negligence. You are required to have the opinion of a "similar health care provider" to testify that the defendant was negligent before you are allowed to bring a claim. Assuming that the doctor who operated on your wife was an orthopedic surgeon, then you would have to get a board certified orthopedic surgeon to render the opinion that what the doctor did who operated on your wife constituted a deviation from the prevailing standard of care. In the absence of such an opinion, you cannot pursue the doctor for malpractice. Additionally, the statute of limitations for malpractice is only 2 years, so it looks like time is extremely short for you to get such an opinion in time to bring a claim. If you haven't consulted with an attorney by now, the chances of finding an attorney who would be willing to take your wife's case with such short notice is very slim. Call one today if you haven't spoken with an attorney yet.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You are doing this backwards. You must first get the hospital chart in full and have it reviewed by a surgeon and let him tell you whether it is just a bad result or if it is malpractice. A bad result sometimes happens when the best technique is used by the dr. perfection is not required of a dr. only that he meet the medical standard of care. A lawyer cannot help you without a medical o-pinion.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/30/2011
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