Claims of medical errors in orthopedic procedures are common in medical malpractice cases due to the high risk of the procedures. In studies by insurance companies, most of the orthopedic claims involved perioperative and operative cases. The anatomical sites studied included the hip, knees, and the sciatic nerve lesions. These orthopedic injuries went on to medical malpractice cases where civil litigation action was taken. The Badgley Law Group is an Orlando medical malpractice law firm that handles surgical error claims and medical error cases such as injuries resulting from orthopedic care.
The insurance company study found that lower limb surgical procedures are at a higher risk for malpractice claims than all other site surgeries. A tendency for malpractice claims to focus on the lower limbs was noted for the elective surgery subgroup. Claims focusing on the iatrogenic complications of hip and knee replacement surgeries show this trend, with sciatic nerve injury the crucial adverse event for hip replacement surgeries, and postoperative prosthesis infection the crucial adverse event for knee replacement surgeries. Claims about knee replacement surgery failures often relate to the implant of an oversized prosthesis. More than 75% of the claims studied concern alleged team malpractice, with intraoperative complication as the crucial adverse event. There was also a high representation of claims on multidisciplinary teams with a missing radiographic diagnosis of bone fractures being the crucial mistake for teams made up of orthopedists and radiologists.
Orthopedic Injury Misdiagnosis
Patients can experience the often-devastating effects of a negligent physician, or incorrect diagnosis in regard to orthopedic injury. With the increased number of complaints and lawsuits that arise from medical malpractice in this area, many of these complaints are the result of primary care providers neglecting to refer patients with orthopedic injuries to an orthopedic surgeon, who is highly skilled to make a correct diagnosis.
When a patient is seen by a doctor for an orthopedic injury, an x ray should be taken to decide the patient’s injury and plan a treatment protocol. Negligence by the primary care physician can include an incorrectly read x-ray, or the lack of x-rays. This can lead to severe complications for the patient. An untreated fracture can worsen over time, potentially leading to irreversible problems. A hip or joint fracture can go on to permanent joint damage requiring a full joint replacement procedure. Complications from orthopedic injuries can be preventable if correctly diagnosed and treated from the beginning. A misdiagnosis can lead to fracture by non-union, causing permanent nerve injuries, or even deformities.
Common Orthopedic Injury Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis of an orthopedic injury depends on the severity of the injury and the knowledge of the physician treating the patient’s injury. Common orthopedic conditions that lead to misdiagnosis are:
- ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) tears are often mistaken for injuries to knee ligaments
- A rupture of the Achilles tendon is overlooked in almost 25% of cases
- An untreated femoral neck stress fracture can result in a re-fracture and avascular necrosis
- An injury of this type may be caused by a slipped capital femoral epiphysis, causing little or no pain, and the underlying problem can be more difficult to detect
- A delayed diagnosis of a scaphoid fracture can result in early wrist arthrosis
- Ulnar collateral ligament tears often go undiagnosed by unskilled physicians
Contact The Badgley Law Group for Your Medical Malpractice Case
If you have been the victim of an orthopedic injury, or have received an orthopedic misdiagnosis, it is important that you chose an experienced medical malpractice attorney to represent you. Orlando attorney Jeffrey S. Badgley and his legal team provide representation in medical malpractice cases involving orthopedic injuries. Schedule a free case evaluation at our Orlando office by calling 407-487-4154.