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Broken Hip Medical Malpractice?

by Sue
(Kansas)

In July of 2010 I fell and broke my hip, had hip ball replacement by a local orthopaedic surgeon . Have had pain could not lift my leg up of the floor over 4 inches , extreme pain when I walked over a half blocked and to get up out of a chair, and go up and down stairs.


I complained to the surgeon and he try epidurals, physical therapy ,medicine. Then he sent me to a specialist out of town , had total hip replacement June of 2011 , surgeon found a sliver of the femur was gone and the prosthesis was very loose. Do you think I have a Medical Malpractice suit?
_____________________________________________

Hello Sue and thank you for your question. Based on the information above, the way your hip injury was handled would most likely not warrant a medical malpractice suit.

You fell and injured your hip joint - a joint that was already in a weakened state. That's why your hip broke when you fell. A child or a younger adult could have taken the same fall and probably been fine.

OK. Your hip was weak. You fell and it broke. The surgeon did a conservative measure by replacing the head of your femur. Often, this is all that's necessary.

Your recovery did not proceed as everyone would hope. You had a rough time with limited mobility and pain. At some point your "replacement joint" became weak. We know that the area around the joint was not great to begin with - that's why it broke.

Now you've had a total hip replacement, which has undoubtedly replaced the weakened areas and hopefully you will do well.

Was the first surgeon negligent? Did he do or not do what another prudent surgeon would do or what the circumstances warranted? Well, he performed a conservative hip ball replacement which was most likely warranted at the time. To do a total hip when it is not overtly warranted can be economically irresponsible and cause you increased risk.

After surgery, he tried to improve your functional ability and alleviate your pain with accepted methods. When those methods were not effective, he referred you to a specialist. All of that is prudent behavior that is expected of a physician.

To have a medical malpractice suit, the first surgeon would have had to error. How? Maybe by missing something that would have told him initially that you needed a total hip instead of a partial replacement joint. That's the area that an error in judgement would probably occur.

You also have a possibility that the first procedure was performed in a less than optimal manner. That in itself is hard to prove based on the compromised condition of your joints to begin with. The bone sliver could have occurred at multiple times and for multiple reasons given these conditions.

Based on your information, you had a conservative procedure that failed. Now your total hip replacement will hopefully allow you to return to a functional, productive life. We wish you all the best!

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