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Advancements in orthopedic surgery mean that almost anyone can return to normal life after devastating injuries. People can live without chronic pain from damaged bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. But not all orthopedic surgeries result in miraculous recoveries.
So are orthopedic surgeons legally liable if you can't return to your workout or daily life at 100%? And where do courts draw the line between a bad surgeon and a bad result?
Doctors and other medical professionals are held to a certain standard of care for medical treatment and surgery. They must treat patients with the same level of skill, expertise, and care as physicians in the same or similar community under similar circumstances.
If they fail to meet that standard, they can be sued for medical malpractice.
In the context of orthopedic surgery, surgeons and their staff must be competent in their diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries.
If an orthopedic surgeon misdiagnoses an injury, is grossly negligent during surgery, operates without your informed consent, or otherwise causes you further injury, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice.
Just because you can't run as fast or lift as much as you could prior to orthopedic surgery doesn't necessarily mean your surgeon is liable for medical malpractice.
Malpractice liability isn't premised on the recovery as much as it is on the surgery itself.
You would need to prove that your orthopedic surgeon breached the standard of care and that you were further injured as a result.
For instance, if a surgeon repairs a knee ligament injury and it takes longer to recover than expected, that could be due to a variety of factors and your surgeon may not be at fault. But if your ligament is injured again because the surgeon didn't repair it properly, you may have a case.
Patients could also suffer blood clots, reduced range of motion, implant failure, or other serious complications after surgery.
Medical malpractice claims can be complicated, especially involving highly technical or specialized surgeries. If you think your orthopedic surgeon has caused you further injury, you may want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.
Having knee replacement surgery is a common procedure as people age. A knee implant, revision surgery, total knee replacement, or other joint replacement procedures can be worrying. Keep in mind the facts stated above and consider if you are facing malpractice or an issue with the knee replacement devices or other medical device concerns.
Product liability cases, such as replacing a knee joint with a faulty artificial knee, can create a different type of case. Defective products in the healthcare field may require a case against the device manufacturers instead of the doctors who performed the surgery.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handles medical device recalls so you can keep an eye on their recall lists, and be ready to speak to a product liability law firm if you see your medical device recalled.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.