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  1. #1
    Kristin64 is offline Junior Member
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    May 2011
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    Staph Infection Liability

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Iowa

    I had a trimalleolar fracture of my ankle with a dislocation in Feb 2011. First, I went to the ER on a Saturday morning, the ER doctor took x-rays, put me in a walking boot cast and told me the orthopedic doctor would call me on Monday. On Monday morning, the orthopedic surgeon's office called and requested I get to the office immediately. My doctor was very upset and told me he was very sorry that I had been left in pain all weekend and that the x-rays were more than apparent that my ankle was also dislocated and that it should have been reset in the ER on Saturday and that I should have been put in an hard splint to keep the leg and ankle immobile at least for the weekend. He then took me to the ER, put me under anesthesia and reset my ankle, I was then admitted to the hospital as an inpatient so they could get the swelling down so he could do surgery on Tuesday to put a plate and screws in the 4 breaks that I had. (3 breaks in the fibula and a snapped tibia as well as the dislocation)
    I was in a cast for 7wks, the cast was removed and I was put back into the boot cast on Apr 6. On Apr 18th I called the ortho office and said I thought I had an infection because my ankle had become very swollen, red and extremely painful over the previous weekend. I was told that I had "overused" it over the weekend and to slow down a little. On Tuesday evening, I was doing scar massage on the 2 incisions when the one on the fibula erupted. At that point, I knew I had not "overused" the ankle but that I in fact did have an infection. The ortho doctor was on vacation the remainder of that week so I was instructed by his office to go to the clinic. That doctor put me on antibiotics, took x-rays, bloodwork and a culture of the discharge from the incision that had reopened. On Friday Apr 22, I went for a follow-up with the Dr from the clinic and he said it was a staph infection and that it needed more aggressive treatment because of this being a new surgery incision and that I had the metal put in, and he admitted me into the hospital. On Monday Apr 25, the Orthopedic surgeon returned and came first thing to see me in the hospital. He apologized for not realizing that it had indeed been an infection the previous Monday and advised that he needed to do another surgery to get the hardware out so that they antibiotics could completely treat the infection. On Tues, Apr 26 he did surgery to take out the plate and screws in the fibula. The surgeon had advised me on Monday that in 20yrs of doing ankle surgeries that he had never had a staph infection and now he had had 2 in the last month. He also told me the infection came from inside the surgical site.
    I know this is a lot of information but I have been off work for quite some time now and short term disability does not pay that well. My question is, is the hospital or doctor liable for this or because infection is always a "risk" of surgery does this just get to happen and cost my insurance company the thousands of dollars and me my loss of wages not to mention the trauma of this entire ordeal?What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    in the ether
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    two things:

    you would have to prove negligence in order to show liability. While not impossible, it is unlikely. Believe it or not, the hospitals don't like situations like this any more than you do. It causes them a lot of problems and I am sure they would remedy the cause of they knew what the cause was.

    Then, even if there was negligence, malpractice suits are notoriously expensive and the return would not justify the expense.
  3. #3
    TheGeekess is offline Senior Member
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    Nov 2007
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    Staph lives on everybody's skin. The rise in use of anti-bacterials (and antibiotics) in everyday life means evolution works. The weaker bugs die and we're left battling the superbugs that laugh at our puny efforts.
  4. #4
    barry1817 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Southern Ca.
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    1,100

    medical

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristin64 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Iowa

    I had a trimalleolar fracture of my ankle with a dislocation in Feb 2011. First, I went to the ER on a Saturday morning, the ER doctor took x-rays, put me in a walking boot cast and told me the orthopedic doctor would call me on Monday. On Monday morning, the orthopedic surgeon's office called and requested I get to the office immediately. My doctor was very upset and told me he was very sorry that I had been left in pain all weekend and that the x-rays were more than apparent that my ankle was also dislocated and that it should have been reset in the ER on Saturday and that I should have been put in an hard splint to keep the leg and ankle immobile at least for the weekend. He then took me to the ER, put me under anesthesia and reset my ankle, I was then admitted to the hospital as an inpatient so they could get the swelling down so he could do surgery on Tuesday to put a plate and screws in the 4 breaks that I had. (3 breaks in the fibula and a snapped tibia as well as the dislocation)
    I was in a cast for 7wks, the cast was removed and I was put back into the boot cast on Apr 6. On Apr 18th I called the ortho office and said I thought I had an infection because my ankle had become very swollen, red and extremely painful over the previous weekend. I was told that I had "overused" it over the weekend and to slow down a little. On Tuesday evening, I was doing scar massage on the 2 incisions when the one on the fibula erupted. At that point, I knew I had not "overused" the ankle but that I in fact did have an infection. The ortho doctor was on vacation the remainder of that week so I was instructed by his office to go to the clinic. That doctor put me on antibiotics, took x-rays, bloodwork and a culture of the discharge from the incision that had reopened. On Friday Apr 22, I went for a follow-up with the Dr from the clinic and he said it was a staph infection and that it needed more aggressive treatment because of this being a new surgery incision and that I had the metal put in, and he admitted me into the hospital. On Monday Apr 25, the Orthopedic surgeon returned and came first thing to see me in the hospital. He apologized for not realizing that it had indeed been an infection the previous Monday and advised that he needed to do another surgery to get the hardware out so that they antibiotics could completely treat the infection. On Tues, Apr 26 he did surgery to take out the plate and screws in the fibula. The surgeon had advised me on Monday that in 20yrs of doing ankle surgeries that he had never had a staph infection and now he had had 2 in the last month. He also told me the infection came from inside the surgical site.
    I know this is a lot of information but I have been off work for quite some time now and short term disability does not pay that well. My question is, is the hospital or doctor liable for this or because infection is always a "risk" of surgery does this just get to happen and cost my insurance company the thousands of dollars and me my loss of wages not to mention the trauma of this entire ordeal?What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    His comment about having 2 in the last month and none in the previous 20 years lead to me wonder if something about the company that produces the screws had changed or had contaminated the product. I mention that because when you do the same thing with same results, the only variable that I can see is the screw being introduced into the surgical site.

    And while it might not be of help to you, I would think that this doctor would want to be very aggressive in asking about the product he was placing in his patients

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