Would you consider this situation medical malpractice? Negligence?

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  1. lorlie6 profile image75
    lorlie6posted 11 years ago

    I had a total hip replacement operation on March 14th and encountered numerous complications and some that were found to be non-existent after the fact.  During the actual surgery, the docs concluded-erroneously-that I had had a heart attack, so I was 'lifeflighted' to the nearest Cardiac Unit in Reno, NV.  Rather than a heart attack, it was found that I had contracted a virulant infection-an extremely painful and I suppose dangerous one.
    I am now home in Bishop, CA-a five hour drive-and coming around/healing nicely.  However that very drive caused the infection to 'balloon' up my leg and caused even more agony.
    I was not told to get out of the auto every hour or so-I did, anyway.  My medications that had been prescribed before the surgery were lost as well.  I phoned Mammoth Hospital (where the surgery took place) as well as Renown Hospital (where I was placed on the Cardiac Unit) and neither Hospital could track down my meds.  It is, of course, possible that WE lost the prescriptions in all the confusion and, quite literally, angst at the situation.

    I am not a sue-happy individual.  No one in my family wants to take anyone to court.  But I am very concerned that this chain of events has disrupted my life as well as my family's.  This whole thing has become extremely expensive and heart-wrenching for us all.

    I'd appreciate your opinions.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image89
      Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Sorry you had to go through all that.  I just hope the meds that got lost didn't include your antibiotics - if you have an infection, they're absolutely critical and you can't afford to be without them!

      1. lorlie6 profile image75
        lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Marisa-I was prescribed the antibiotics after I found I hadn't had a heart attack-so no, antibiotics were not among those that were lost.  Thankfully.  I have been religiously taking them every six hrs., even setting the alarm for 4 am; I haven't missed a single dose.  It's been a cycle of 10 and 4 around the clock.  I'm wondering how my body is going to react after the antibiotics are finished; my body clock is set so exactly that 4 am is now part of my rhythm-forever!  It seems so very natural now...
        Thanks for the concern!

  2. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 11 years ago

    Hi, lorlie.  Sorry to see that you've gone through all that. I've talked with a couple of lawyers about a matter of medical practice, and it's a really tricky thing.  I think the best thing you can do is find an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice and will give you a free legal consultation, to give you a reading on whether it might be considered "malpractice".  At least in Massachusetts, they consider "what might be expected of the average professional in the region" (if I recall the wording correctly).  Mistakes, by themselves, aren't always malpractice.  Even if one attorney tells you you don't have a case, you may want to double-check with another one.  Usually, though, they'll explain why, or why not, a case stands a chance. 

    (I guess it's good you didn't have a heart attack after all, though...  hmm )  Hope you're all back on your feet now (or soon).

  3. lorlie6 profile image75
    lorlie6posted 11 years ago

    Rather than start a new thread, I decided to add the most disturbing part-at least to me-of this tale.
    On Friday, I saw my surgeon for my first post-op check up.  The crazy thing is that he DID NOT KNOW about what happened after I had the actual surgery.  It's as if he washed his hands of my 'case' after the technical part was finished.  No, he didn't realize I'd been flown to Reno, he didn't know of the infection, nor had he spoken with my Cardiac doctor in Reno.  I had a total blood transfusion that he was unaware of. 
    My husband and I had to give him this information-and we are NOT doctors, to say the least!
    Lisa, I do believe that such information and communication between physicians would be considered "what might be expected of the average professional in the region." 
    Sorry I'd forgotten about this critical part of the story but I am still taking morphine and oxycodone for the pain-which tend to dull the memory and senses. wink
    Thanks my friend, for commenting and researching the 'malpractice' question!

  4. lorlie6 profile image75
    lorlie6posted 11 years ago

    I really need some more insight into this situation.

    Thanks and sorry to be such a forum pest! smile

    1. IzzyM profile image87
      IzzyMposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Oh Lorlie, of course you're not being a pest, and I am so sorry to hear of what you have gone through.

      I'm probably not much help to you, I'm afraid, coming from a country that gives free health care to all, but it sounds to me as if your doctors did good by you, by rushing you off to a cardiac hospital that could treat whatever complication cropped up.

      And if it wasn't what they thought it was, you still needed that extra care.

      If this happened during surgery, how could your surgeon NOT know of this?

      Or did it happen post-op, when perhaps the surgeon was operating on his next patient?

      Hospital mix-ups over notes seem to happen more often than it should in the UK, and it looks like it has happened here, but the worst that seems to have happened is that you went home without your medication.

      I assume the cardiologist discharged you and thought you would be safe travelling 5 hours by car so soon after everything.

      You did good getting out and exercising.

      Post-op, the biggest danger is deep venous thrombosis through lack of exercise.

      So you are only 12 days post-op now? That seems way too soon to be at home, but maybe that is how they do it in the US.

      You rest up, and hope you feel better soon. xx

      1. lorlie6 profile image75
        lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks, Izzy.  My surgeon didn't know much of anything, don't you think??

        1. IzzyM profile image87
          IzzyMposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Surgeons are the same the world over.

          They have absolutely NO bedside manner and little interest in you as a person. You are a 'hip replacement', that's all.

          He was probably thinking about the game of golf he was planning to play later!

          On the other hand, your cardiologist would have been the one who discharged you, and he must have thought you were fit to travel.

          It wouldn't surprise me if your surgeon had your post-op notes, but hadn't read them.

          Having said that, surgeons are only good for carrying out the actual surgery, and so long as he did a good job of that, that's his work done.

  5. Dave Mathews profile image60
    Dave Mathewsposted 11 years ago

    I'm certain that the doctors at both hospitals acted in your best interest.
    Like you said the loss of your meds could be due to the confusion of the cituation and nobody's fault.

  6. Diane Inside profile image76
    Diane Insideposted 11 years ago

    Thats the problem with specialists, they only know their areas of expertise and neglect to take the holistic approach to the patient.  I've seen it many times when I worked in the hospital.  Communication is key and that is where the break down occured.  Because they thought you had a heart attack suddenly your hip replacement took a back seat. Because of course the heart is the most important thing.  If anything it seems like you may have a case of miscommunication or lack thereof.  Which in my opinion is neglect. 

    I agree that it could be a case to pursue, after you consult with a lawyer to see what they think. It would be nice to see hospitals take responsibilty for making sure that there is better communication across disciplines.

    But I think it would be hard to prove that there was a lack of communication, because it would rely on your medical records, and the notes and annotations that are in your medical file. And hospitals are very good at making sure all medical records are pristine and up to the standards required for good medical records. Then it comes down to somebody didn't read your medical record and how do you prove they didnt read it. 

    Anyway good luck and hope you are feeling better soon.

  7. Healthy Pursuits profile image81
    Healthy Pursuitsposted 11 years ago

    Whether or not you decide to pursue malpractice, you should, at the very least, write a complete journal of what happened to you and send copies of it to everyone involved. Be sure that both hospital quality control personnel get copies of it.

    If you have out-of-pocket expenses at both hospitals, it is possible that you can have them reduced or eliminated wherever their procedures were poor. The infection is a great example. That hospital didn't do proper procedure to check you for infection, even though you were post surgical? That's sop at the least, especially considering how many hospitals are infection stations these days. Be sure that you get complete information on exactly what that infection was before you proceed with anything.

    It would be good to have that information, plus the infection rate at the hospital where you had the surgery, before you consider continuing. You can get that by requesting it from the hospital.

    Good luck. I'd be militant about it if I were you, but there is a lot you can do to reduce your current bills from the hospitals and doctors, and to change their procedures so they don't happen to future patients.

    1. ptosis profile image70
      ptosisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Awesome advice: I sent a copy of your post to my Dad. My mom  had a biopsy (was found non cancerous) yet, she got an infection on her spine that was treated for 6 weeks with a daily 1 hour infusion of an antibiotic that is a treatment for MRSA. Can only get MRSA from a hospital yet - the doctors says "they don't know" what type of infection it is and that doing a biopsy on the infected area is

      #1 only 50% accurate (bullshit!
      #2 "to evasive"

      I believe that they are trying to hide the mistake of a infection that the hospital is liable for with these lame-ass reasons.

      1. lorlie6 profile image75
        lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Hey there, ptosis, I know the post wasn't addressed to me, but I MUST chime in here and say that YOU ARE SO INCREDIBLY right about the stupidity/lack of communication/lame ass reasons they give for not knowing ANYTHING about infections-like your mother had-biopsy, or what else, I'm not sure, but at first, they flew me to Renown Hospital because they thought I'd had a heart attack, NOT!  Then the docs decided it was some 'Super-Bug' of some sort-treated me with Super-Antibiotics-NOT!  Finally found out.........NOTHING!!!!!!!! lol sad
        I still have no information from my original surgeon nor the docs who cared for me in Reno.

        I am highly p*ssed!
        You and me?  Rightfully so!!

        1. ptosis profile image70
          ptosisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I'm pissed off as hell!


          1. lorlie6 profile image75
            lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

            As Punix sez, 'Ayup'!  (Don't even know if he writes here any longer)  What I mean is yes, those paintings/photos show the horrid origin of medicine and the way it's essentially practiced today! 
            Lord help us all!
            lol sad

  8. lorlie6 profile image75
    lorlie6posted 11 years ago

    Y'all are awesome-really.  HP, I intend to be militant and will be phoning the hospital regarding their infection rate.  DI, it seems as if you in particular were there with me!  Everything you said, I had thought of and considered.  Negligence is what I think I may pursue.  I just now returned from the surgeon's office to have my staples removed and asked him about said records/communication and he said that he may never speak to the cardiac doc-close to impossible due to the volume of cases Reno has.  The records are apparently forthcoming and I asked to be notified as soon as they arrive.  The doc in Reno is also a 'hospitalist'-a new position which lessens the load of the other doctors.  He is an actual MD, but his function is to 'follow up' when the others are far too busy operating and such.  Izzy, well this 'hip replacement' hopes he had a good golf game. smile  Seriously though, he DID do a great job, so there are no complaints from me.  Dave, I agree.  I'm certain they did the best they could-especially due to all the confusion.  I simply hope they learn to communicate better so this doesn't repeat on some other poor soul!!!

  9. CASE1WORKER profile image63
    CASE1WORKERposted 11 years ago

    Lorlie- You sound as if you have had a rought time! Whatever you decide to do, the one thing you must concentrate on is to get better- prayers and good wishes for a speedy recovery!

    1. lorlie6 profile image75
      lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Bless you so much for the prayers, C1W!  I've certainly grown in the prayer department since this whole ordeal began...I'm quite the 'late bloomer' when it comes down to my spirituality.  Better late than never, though!
      I am definitely getting better, better than I expected, that's for sure.  Again, thank you for your words!

      1. PegCole17 profile image94
        PegCole17posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Hello Lorlie6,
        You poor dear. I'm so sorry for all that you have been through recently. It sounds as if the hospital has a great deal of room for improvement. We are also in the recovery stages of major surgery (husband) and our experience was quite the opposite. (I wrote a hub about it.) You have every reason to expect and receive quality of care with adequate communication between the doctors involved and the two different hospitals knowing what is going on.

        At the very least I would encourage you to write a hub about your experience then forward the article to the director of both hospitals and copy all the doctors involved. There are also websites where you can write reviews if you Google the doctor's name. Others need to be made aware to beware.

        You will be in my prayers that you make a complete recovery. I've missed you here and it is good to see you back. Hugs and

        All my best wishes to you,

  10. jaybird22 profile image70
    jaybird22posted 11 years ago

    Wow, that is a crazy story! So sorry you had to endure all that.  I currently work at a hospital as a security guard and I deal with missing items all the time. 

    Because we house the hospital's lost and found in our office, we are constantly getting calls from people looking for their missing cell phones, wallets, credit cards, phone cards, car keys, eye glasses, clothing articles, ipads, and yes medication. 

    Although sometimes patients leave their meds laying in the lobby or in an exam room, the majority of missing med cases comes from inpatients that are being discharged. 

    With something as serious as you went through, I sure hope everything works out for you.  If anything, call the hospital, find out the doctor's name that prescibed the medicine and explain to their secratary what happened.  They should be able to call your local pharmacy with the prescription in your area and get you set up that way.  Good luck!

    1. lorlie6 profile image75
      lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Oh, jaybird22, bless you for posting here!!!  That you are a security guard at a hospital tells me you know your stuff very well, indeed.  I never thought of contacting the security offices in both the hospitals I was an inpatient in, I did contact the pharmacy of the one in Reno, and the hospital administrative offices of the one in Mammoth Lakes.
      And "Although sometimes patients leave their meds laying in the lobby or in an exam room, the majority of missing med cases comes from inpatients that are being discharged.", I think that in all the confusion that we ourselves, lost them, SOMEwhere.
      While I never thought to contact my surgeon or cardiac doc directly, I did finally get in touch with said surgeon-after exhausting the other options-and was able to get them refilled!
      Thanks very, very much for posting, jb, I really appreciate your advice.

      1. diyabhatt profile image61
        diyabhattposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        OMG! Shocking... I am really sorry for all that u suffered mama.... :'( I will pray for ur speedy recovery.... Take care of yourself... God Bless you

        1. lorlie6 profile image75
          lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Hey, Sweet daughter o' mine!  Yeah, I know!  It's been INSANE, yet I'm much better now!
          Thanks for coming to HP to read, and I'm about to publish a new hub about Surgical Complications, so come back to read that one, okay?

          Much love, dearest,

          1. diyabhatt profile image61
            diyabhattposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            M happy that you are recovering...will sure give a read to your new hub mom... Loads of love, kisses and hugs....your daughter Diya smile

            1. lorlie6 profile image75
              lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Love you, too, Diya.  I'll make sure to write that 2nd intallment of http://lorlie6.hubpages.com/hub/Surgica … s-Go-Wrong asap!!!!
              It's on its way, now!

              Take the best care, my girl-I love you so!

              1. diyabhatt profile image61
                diyabhattposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                sure mama... smile Take care

                1. lorlie6 profile image75
                  lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  Okay, doll, it's been published.  3rd's on its way...lol

  11. CASE1WORKER profile image63
    CASE1WORKERposted 11 years ago

    Great to here that you are so much better!  And I just noticed on your picture that you have 100 today! Good news all around

    Take care

    1. lorlie6 profile image75
      lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Ain't that the truth, CW!!

  12. ftclick profile image56
    ftclickposted 11 years ago

    I know I am late to reply here but congrats on your recovery & sorry for your ordeal. Lack of communication and specialists are some problems with the medical care but since I was born here, I do want somebody who can talk to me and I understand them fully.  That being said I went in for an injection for sciatica but I declined after the Dr. definitely appeared to give me a seminar sales speech to try out this $4,000 injection that "may work".  These doctors are never too sure something will work.

    1. lorlie6 profile image75
      lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Docs aren't ever certain,  ftclick. 
      Have you ever read "Strong Medicine" by Arthur Hailey?  It's well worth a read; 'tis about the positions of physicians vs. the pharmaceutical industry-the conflicts and co-operations that do, indeed exist.
      If your doc was giving you a sales pitch, it was probably due to the pressure he was under by the pharmaceutical industry-SELL!
      It's all about the cash, as is most everything on earth these days.

  13. hinazille profile image83
    hinazilleposted 11 years ago

    wow judging by your experiences (hope you are recovering now), you have no had an easy time of it all at all! Although they made a mistake in thinking you were having a heart attack, im not sure this could be classed as malpractice or negligence.

    the part where your surgeon knew nothing of post-surgery complications is frightening - it just illustrates the problems in the hospitals - there is a total breakdown of communication many times which can prove to be fatal in worst case scenarios.

    How are you getting on now? is the swelling in the infected area going down? it would be a good idea to cut down on the painkilling meds as much as you possibly can - as you yourself mentioned the side effects are nothing simple, and tolerance & addiction can occur if taken for extended periods of time.

  14. Denise Handlon profile image84
    Denise Handlonposted 11 years ago

    lorlie-I'm so sorry you've suffered this way and I'm happy that you are in the process of recovering.  As to your question at the top of the forum here, in my opinion, "YES"  and I would urge you to seek legal counsel by someone who is qualified in that particular area.  This was a botched medical/surgical situation that sounds like it went from bad to worse!

    1. lorlie6 profile image75
      lorlie6posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks so much, Denise, for coming by to encourage me!  I've been so busy that I haven't thought of it much recently, but you've reminded me of the horror of it all!
      I am going to see someone-in my tiny town!-qualified to assist me in a lawsuit-of the hospitals, I think, not the individuals.  They were fabulous, as I am now!
      Bye, and thanx again,


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