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Staph Infection After Acl Surgery

Been the victim of Legal Malpractice? Discuss it here.

Staph Infection After Acl Surgery

Postby Yuudai » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:02 am

My son(19 at the time) had a skiing accident on January 3rd which resulted in 2 meniscus tears and also a completely torn acl.  He had surgery on January 14.  This surgery was conducted at a surgery center rather than a full fledged hospital, as that was where the surgeon did his Wednesday surgeries and it was his first available time slot.  We had a tremendous snowstorm that day, dumping 20+ inches, and it was the topic of discussion among all the staff that day as schools were letting out, factories were closing and roads were being shut down.  I mention this as I wonder if their attention was taken up with all that rather than following sterile protocols.  Within 2 days of surgery, my son started a downward spiral.  Fever, sweating spells, chilling, extreme pain and swelling in the knee.  Over the next 7 days I called the surgeon at least 4 times to tell him about how bad my son was.  The surgeon kept telling me he was sure it was just the flu and said my son was just going to have a worse time than normal because he is allergic to ibuprofen, so he was going to have worse swelling and pain than most people.  On day 7 we saw the surgeon for a one-week check-up and he was amazed at the bruising and swelling.  Said it was the worst he had ever seen.  He drew 120ccs of fluid off and said that would take care of the problem.  I pressed him on what we should do if it didn't, and he said if it swelled up a little over the next week or two, come back in for another draining.  The next day every bit of the swelling was back and my son continued, for the 6th day, to have fever(highest was 102), tremendous pain and swelling, sweating and chilling, and a lot of crying spells because he felt so bad.  

Physical Therapy was appalled at his condition, and after being unable to contact the surgeon themselves, urged me to get my son to a hospital.  I tried calling the surgeon once more and at that point he said we were probably dealing with an infection and he would meet us at the Emergency Room.  Another 120 ccs was drained and sent for cultures, wash-out surgery was scheduled for the morning, and vancomycin was began through IV therapy.  After three days, the cultures began growing staph.  The surgeon said it was probably passed by being on someone's hands.  That was all the further he explained it.  Obviously this happened in the operating room at the surgery center.  A PICC line was inserted and my son received vancomycin through it for 6 weeks at home.  Physical Therapy was delayed due to the complications, resulting in a "frozen knee".  After several weeks of brutal therapy, they can get my son's knee bent to 120 degrees, but that is with much screaming and crying.  

He lost 30 lbs in 1 week during the worst of the staph infection and 2 months later is still down 20 lbs.  At this point, the insurance is refusing to pay for any more Physical Therapy visits, but it is apparent to everyone that he will need pt for quite some time so we will be footing the bill.  The irritating thing is that the surgery center where the original surgery was scheduled(and where he contracted the staph) will not work with us financially at all, nor will the surgeon's office for his bill.  

However the hospital where he had his second surgery has written that bill off 100%.  We have been told that the first step in any financial recovery is to have a lawyer request the medical records.  They say medical malpractice is very hard to prove unless there is flagrant negligence in the records.  Your thoughts on this and do you feel we have a viable case?  We are looking more for debt forgiveness than damages.

ANSWER: You have good reason to sue the first surgeon for malpractice. Start looking for a lawyer now.

The surgeon had a responsibility at the time of the first surgery to provide aseptic surgeical conditions and to follow up on your son's condition after the surgery. Guessing that your son had the 'flu' was not adequate car for a post operative patient who had a temperature of 102. That surgeon should have seen your son at the time of your first call. All that followed adds to the doctor's malpractice. Because the hospital ate its bill for the final admission you can assume malpractice. You should have no trouble finding a lawyetr to take your case.

Do not search for a lawyer in the county where all this happened. From what you say here you must live in that county. Lawyers depend on orthopedists for help in their personal injury cases and perhaps lawyers in your area use this doctor as an expert their lawsuits. No lawyer who has an expert will sue that expert. So check out lawyers in surrounding counties. You will find one because this case sounds solid and your son had good 'damages'. You can check with Bar Associations in outlying counties, or use the Yellow Pages. Call several and do not give up.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thanks for your input.  My daughter is a litigation paralegal and the lawyers at her firm are very interested in the case.  The hospital, surgeon, and surgery center are all 1.5 hours away as we live in a rural area.  They are supposed to be top-notch sports medicine doctors who are the team doctors for several college and professional teams.  This is the first staph infection our surgeon has had in 8 years of practice.  He has only had one case of any other infection.  This surgeon did both the 1st and 2nd surgeries.  We are a little apprehensive about going the next step(lawyers asking for med records)as we may be under this doctor's care for some time.  While we would like to believe he is a professional who will keep his care of a patient separate from any legal issues, what have you seen happen in cases like this?  The doctor dumps you?  

(dumb, dumb move, I know)  The doctor kills you with kindness?  The doctor wants to discuss it during patient visits?  Thanks for any info you have!
Yuudai
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:45 am

Staph Infection After Acl Surgery

Postby Tully » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:31 am

My son(19 at the time) had a skiing accident on January 3rd which resulted in 2 meniscus tears and also a completely torn acl.  He had surgery on January 14.  This surgery was conducted at a surgery center rather than a full fledged hospital, as that was where the surgeon did his Wednesday surgeries and it was his first available time slot.  We had a tremendous snowstorm that day, dumping 20+ inches, and it was the topic of discussion among all the staff that day as schools were letting out, factories were closing and roads were being shut down.  I mention this as I wonder if their attention was taken up with all that rather than following sterile protocols.  Within 2 days of surgery, my son started a downward spiral.  Fever, sweating spells, chilling, extreme pain and swelling in the knee.  Over the next 7 days I called the surgeon at least 4 times to tell him about how bad my son was.  The surgeon kept telling me he was sure it was just the flu and said my son was just going to have a worse time than normal because he is allergic to ibuprofen, so he was going to have worse swelling and pain than most people.  On day 7 we saw the surgeon for a one-week check-up and he was amazed at the bruising and swelling.  Said it was the worst he had ever seen.  He drew 120ccs of fluid off and said that would take care of the problem.  I pressed him on what we should do if it didn't, and he said if it swelled up a little over the next week or two, come back in for another draining.  The next day every bit of the swelling was back and my son continued, for the 6th day, to have fever(highest was 102), tremendous pain and swelling, sweating and chilling, and a lot of crying spells because he felt so bad.  

Physical Therapy was appalled at his condition, and after being unable to contact the surgeon themselves, urged me to get my son to a hospital.  I tried calling the surgeon once more and at that point he said we were probably dealing with an infection and he would meet us at the Emergency Room.  Another 120 ccs was drained and sent for cultures, wash-out surgery was scheduled for the morning, and vancomycin was began through IV therapy.  After three days, the cultures began growing staph.  The surgeon said it was probably passed by being on someone's hands.  That was all the further he explained it.  Obviously this happened in the operating room at the surgery center.  A PICC line was inserted and my son received vancomycin through it for 6 weeks at home.  Physical Therapy was delayed due to the complications, resulting in a "frozen knee".  After several weeks of brutal therapy, they can get my son's knee bent to 120 degrees, but that is with much screaming and crying.  

He lost 30 lbs in 1 week during the worst of the staph infection and 2 months later is still down 20 lbs.  At this point, the insurance is refusing to pay for any more Physical Therapy visits, but it is apparent to everyone that he will need pt for quite some time so we will be footing the bill.  The irritating thing is that the surgery center where the original surgery was scheduled(and where he contracted the staph) will not work with us financially at all, nor will the surgeon's office for his bill.  

However the hospital where he had his second surgery has written that bill off 100%.  We have been told that the first step in any financial recovery is to have a lawyer request the medical records.  They say medical malpractice is very hard to prove unless there is flagrant negligence in the records.  Your thoughts on this and do you feel we have a viable case?  We are looking more for debt forgiveness than damages.

ANSWER: You have good reason to sue the first surgeon for malpractice. Start looking for a lawyer now.

The surgeon had a responsibility at the time of the first surgery to provide aseptic surgeical conditions and to follow up on your son's condition after the surgery. Guessing that your son had the 'flu' was not adequate car for a post operative patient who had a temperature of 102. That surgeon should have seen your son at the time of your first call. All that followed adds to the doctor's malpractice. Because the hospital ate its bill for the final admission you can assume malpractice. You should have no trouble finding a lawyetr to take your case.

Do not search for a lawyer in the county where all this happened. From what you say here you must live in that county. Lawyers depend on orthopedists for help in their personal injury cases and perhaps lawyers in your area use this doctor as an expert their lawsuits. No lawyer who has an expert will sue that expert. So check out lawyers in surrounding counties. You will find one because this case sounds solid and your son had good 'damages'. You can check with Bar Associations in outlying counties, or use the Yellow Pages. Call several and do not give up.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thanks for your input.  My daughter is a litigation paralegal and the lawyers at her firm are very interested in the case.  The hospital, surgeon, and surgery center are all 1.5 hours away as we live in a rural area.  They are supposed to be top-notch sports medicine doctors who are the team doctors for several college and professional teams.  This is the first staph infection our surgeon has had in 8 years of practice.  He has only had one case of any other infection.  This surgeon did both the 1st and 2nd surgeries.  We are a little apprehensive about going the next step(lawyers asking for med records)as we may be under this doctor's care for some time.  While we would like to believe he is a professional who will keep his care of a patient separate from any legal issues, what have you seen happen in cases like this?  The doctor dumps you?  

(dumb, dumb move, I know)  The doctor kills you with kindness?  The doctor wants to discuss it during patient visits?  Thanks for any info you have!
Tully
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:48 am

Staph Infection After Acl Surgery

Postby Avent » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:35 pm

The usual result of a malpractice case against a treating physician is that the doctor's insurance company demands that he dump the patient. The doctor, no matter what his professional attitudes are, will cease working with any member of your family. You may even find that other doctors associated with the doctor being sued will avoid caring for any family member. You say you live in a rural area. The doctors all know each other and will set up a defense network. You may even find that these local doctors will shy away from you.

Malpractice lawsuits are vicious and dirty. Your family will be subjected to investigations(I have done this and you would be amazed at what your neighbors will say) Lawyers will depose you, your son, his father, anyone close who may know something that will destroy your lawsuit.

If you hope to get the doctors to reduce fees, or to accept responsibility for their lousy work, you might consider asking a lawyer to help you in that. But the lawyer needs to be careful not to alarm the doctors too much or the whole operation by the insurance carrier will be put into action.

The work of the insurance carrier can not be disregarded. The carrier is thorough and has fought these cases many times. It knows how to win these cases, and they know how to discourage the plaintiff. Lawyers hired by these carriers are skilled and relentless. They make their money by winning, not losing.

Ask your daughter if her firm has a record in malpractice work. If they are not experienced, that is, if they have not had at least twenty such cases a year in the office, they may not find this one so attractive. I believe your son did suffer injury from malpractice. The staphylococcus infection is often lost at trial by the plaintiff because source of infections is hard to prove, especially when a patient is treated at home. Your first query here suggested that the doctors' approach to your son's care was cursory at best, and negligent at the worst. But that does not mean you will win your case. I am not trying to talk you out of this case, because I do believe you have a valid reason to sue. What I think you, and anyone taking on a malpractice case has to know, is that they are tough, and liars appear everywhere. If you think you and your family can take a little more abuse, then go for it.
Avent
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:14 am


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