Post # 1
hello Bees! I am looking for some advice. I will try to keep this brief. I took my son to the doctor because his ankle was painful red and swollen. They took an xray came back to the room and said just a sprain -wrap it, take ibuprofen, he will be fine. They did say they would send the x-ray to a third party for a second reading. After about a week the ankle was still quite swollen and painful so I called and asked if they had received a report on the x-ray that was told not yet. The next day they left a message on my cell phone saying they had the report and everything was fine -no fracture- no worries- just a sprain. They repeated this 3 times. His ankle was still swollen and sore but getting a little better so I assumed they were right and sprains take awhile to heal and try to keep him off it as much as possible but couldn’t keep him out of school the whole time. Another week went by and I received a phone call saying they needed to see my son for follow up on his broken ankle! I was stunned and asked how could that be broken when they read the report to me on the phone and said everything was fine. The first to give details but finally admitted they had misread the report as it was “confusing”. they offered to let my son come back and see the doctor who owns the practice at no charge for a follow-up x-ray and I assumed an explanation. When I arrive the doctor was not there I was treated rudely and told if I want an explanation I would have to pay for their time.I said I will take him to an orthopedist and I want a copy of the report an xray to bring with me and was told I would have to pay $25 for that and wait 5 days. I threw a huge hissy fit right there in front of the rest of their patients in the waiting room and lo and behold I got my report and copy of the x-ray for free. When I saw the date on the report I could not believe it! … they had had this report in hand since 3 days after the initial x-ray had been taken and it clearly said in bold letters on the report there was a “nondisplaced fractured of the distal fibula with extensive soft tissue damage”. My son has now been seen by an orthopedist who treated the injury properly – put him in a boot -and he is on his way towards recovery. The orthopedist could actually see where the break was just by external examination before even taking an xray! Luckily the fracture did not become displaced or require any more extensive treatment but it certainly could have considering he was going to school and walking on it all that time with only a wrap. I feel they put my son at great risk and were very rude to us even though this mistake was clearly there’s. I have contacted them twice asking to speak to the office manager or doctor who owns a practice for an explanation of how this could happen and they simply refuse. Makes me wonder how many other patients they are missed diagnosing and treating this way and I want in some way to have them reprimanded other than just filing a complaint with the local board which I’ve heard really does nothing for putting bad reviews online otherwise I feel they will continue this type of treatment towards patients in the future. What do you all think should I contact a lawyer should I just drop it and find a new doc (which I will be finding any way) should I continue to press to speak with their office manager or the doctor who owns this practice to see if we can at least get an apology and an explanation of how this happened and prevent it from happening to future patients? What would you all do?
Post # 2
Try the board first maybe? That way if you’re not satisfied, you took the proper steps before contacting a lawyer.
Post # 3
I don’t think you have much of a case against the doctor. Malpractice is defined as medical negligence resulting in injury. Even though you think it is obvious, this probably doesn’t actually rise to the level of negligence. Moreover, it sounds like there was no injury. Just putting your son at risk of potential injury is not actionable. And being rude to you certainly isn’t actionable either. What would you seek to gain from a lawsuit? It sounds like trying to contact the office manager to apologize or maybe refund your co-pay is probably your best bet.
Post # 4
I broke my shoulder snowboarding 2 years ago. When I went to emerg, they told me that nothing was wrong, even after X-rays.
I went to Dominican shortly after and was in crazy pain for the week (but nothing a few drinks couldn’t help!)
when I got back, I made an appointment with my fam Dr and he sent me for an MRI. As soon as it was done, I knew something was really wrong by how nice the techs were being (all of a sudden helping me off the gurny, etc.
Turns out I had to see an orthopaedic surgeon as well, but there was damage to my rotator cuff and bicep too and he was worried about surgery.
I was in physio for a LONG time after that since I should have been placed in a sling the day it happened (instead of swimming, dancing, etc).
But the the thought of suing never crossed my mind… I’m not the first person I know that this (or something similar) has happened too. Medicine isn’t perfect 🙁
Post # 5
I have tried contacting the Medical Board and have been told since it was a nurse practitioner who stole my son on the day of the visit and order the X ray I have to go through the nursing board. When I contact the nursing board I am told that since she is overseen by a physician who owns the practice I have to go to the Medical Board …getting a bit of a run around as you can seeI am not necessarily looking for large compensation I want aknowledgement of their error and the potential damage it could have and may still cause my son in arthritis later on due to the fact that he walked on a clearly broken ankle for 3 weeks. I also feel that doctors get away with a lot of incidence is such as this and do not have to pay the consequences in any way. I have been slighted by doctors before and when it is myself I have let it go but I’m rather annoyed that this was done to a child and they seem to feel no remorse or responsibility. He could have been in his PE class running or weightlifting as they refused to give a note saying he could not do these activities for more than 3 days as it was “only a sprain” and that fracture could have blown and he could have been very seriously injured. I guess I just want them to take responsibility and stop avoiding the situation and putting it off as we are just complaining patients. I also don’t want anyone else to have to go through something like this and be in pain unnecessarily for three weeks with a potential for more serious consequences. someone in that office screwed up and dropped the ball on that report and that person should be held responsible
Post # 6
majorairhead: I also feel that doctors get away with a lot of incidence is such as this and do not have to pay the consequences in any way.
What consequences do you want the doctor to pay for? Your son did not have any secondary injuries due to the misdiagnosis. Unless you can prove it was due to negligence – which is a higher standard than you might expect – you are not entitled to any kind of compensation. If doctors were forced to “pay the consequences” of every misdiagnosis (even those that did not result in any damage or injury), it would be completely untenable for anyone to practice medicine. Your doctor is not an infallable psychic – misdiagnoses happen all the time. You might be owed an apology for their rude behavior, but that is it.<br /><br />Here is some more information that might be helpful: http://www.injuriesboardadvice.com/claim-compensation-for-misdiagnosis-of-broken-bone/
Post # 6
It’s unreasonable to expect an apology from anyone working in a doctors’ office because an apology can be interpreted as an admission of liability– meaning, if they apologize, you could decide to use that apology against them in court one day. So let the notion of an apology go. It’s not going to happen. Even a refund of a copay might be an unreasonable expectation simply because that could be mis-interpreted by a court.
And you also have to let the “could have’s” go because courts don’t deal with “could have’s”. Your son could have injured himself further playing at PE but he didn’t. He could have hurt himself even worse but he didn’t. It’s hard not to think of these things, especially when you are a parent, but you have to let them go or you’re just going to make yourself angrier. Let go of who is “responsible” because the extent of your damage is really just some frustration, the amount of time between incorrect diagnosis and correct diagnosis is very short in terms of the medical world (it’s not like he was walking around on a fracture for 3 years or left for 3 days with blood shooting out of an artery), and the nature of the injury makes it one that is relatively difficult to diagnose with accuracy until some time has passed to let the swelling and inflammation subside. It sucks, but sometimes there are sucky situations that are nobody’s fault, or where the damage caused is so minimal that it doesn’t really matter who is to blame (or even if anyone is actually to blame). This is one of those situations.
My advice: find another doctor and move on.
Post # 7
majorairhead: As a lawyer, I’d recommend finding a new doctor and moving on. Any sort of compensation you would get (which would be negligible, if anything), would be offset by the YEARS it would take for anything to happen with this case, as well as the very high cost of retaining a lawyer. To me, it wouldn’t be worth it. If it is to you, I’d make a consultation with an attorney who specializes in med mal rather than ask people who might not be experts in this area.
Post # 8
Horseradish: hit the nail on the head.
it sucks that your son had to be in pain longer than necessary; however, nothing came out of it except a lot of frustration and a prolonged visit to the ortho. he didn’t injure himself worse, he doesn’t currently have arthritis, etc. i would review the doctor’s office if possible, and find another doctor in order to avoid future issues.
Post # 9
I am a lawyer but this comment in no way should be considered legal advice. I agree with PPs in that a medical malpractice case is tough one to prove because you have to definitively show that the care provided to your son failed to meet the “standard of care” which is evidenced by testimony of other physicians thereby resulting in injury. You get were I’m going.
That said, I would send a very strongly worded letter to the physician describing exactly what happened and demanding to speak with the managing physician. The fact that you were treated rudely, while frustrating, is irrelevant to a medmal claim. I would give him/her a deadline to respond and state that you will take your matter to the medical board if you don’t hear back by the deadline. Or if you don’t believe that a meeting with the managing physician would provide you with a satisfactory outcome, I would go directly to the medical board and if you’re getting the run around from them, send them a complaint letter via certified mail. I don’t know what country/state you are in, but most medical boards are required to investigate a complaint.
I’d hate to see you waste money on a lawyer (again, I AM a lawyer) at this point.
Best of luck!
Post # 10
I’m not sure that misdiagnosis is what bothers me the most. I can certainly understand a nurse practitioner mis understanding or miss reading an xray. What bothers me is how they have lied to me about the report – first saying they did not have it then telling me it said everything was okay then finally admitting that it had said there was a fracture but that it was confusing. When I saw the report i wad stunned because honestly a 4th grader could have interpreted in fact my 4th grader did! I am wondering if they have some policies in their office that are not quite up to standard such as having secretaries read the reports and get back to patients without ever having them signed off on by physicians. If this is the case I think this policy needs to change and immediately because it is unsafe. However it seems one patient isn’t enough to change policies or to get doctors offices to review their own people. I guess I’m thinking some strong hand force would make this happen. This is a huge practice that has opened in our area in the last 2 years … they have several offices around the valley and I feel if this is how they are operating they are putting many other people at risk. I will start with a bad review on Yelp and other physician review sites telling the story of what happened and letting people know to be wary and I will attempt once again to speak to the office manager so that perhaps she can look into the internal running of the office and determine how this happened and prevent it from happening in the future. As for contacting a lawyer I guess I will wait and see how my son’s injury heals in the long run as he still has two more visits to the orthopedist and another set of xrays to take to make sure everything is going to be ok. unfortunately at this point I also have to make an appeal to the truancy board due to the number of absences my son had during this time without a formal doctors excuse. I am hoping the new orthopedist will help us out on this.
Post # 11
In Canada there was a story recently that a lab had mixed up the results of womens mammograms.One lady was told she had cancer when she didn’t, and removed both her breasts. The lady that she got mixed up with had cancer but was told she didnt so she never recieved treatment. These are people that need lawyers
Post # 12
Idk man, my parents couldn’t even get a successful malpractice suit going when a famous children’s hospital left clamps on my youngest sister’s head too long while doing a surgery when she was an infant causing burns that have left noticeable scars. I think you’re better off just finding a new doctor.
Post # 13
Speaking as a lawyer, there is likely nothing a lawyer can do for you. No one can force them to apologize. Just find a new doctor.
Post # 14
majorairhead: I’m sorry your son had to suffer through that much pain before receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment. That said – do you know the names and titles of who exactly told you it was “just a sprain”? In my experience the person who gets the final say in what the imaging shows is the radiologist who reads the x-ray. Period. The doctor or nurse practitioner orders it, the tech performs the procedure, the radiologist reads and interprets the findings, then dictates a report which is in turn sent back to the ordering physician. It’s a tedious chain. A secretary should never be giving test results. I spent many years as a medical receptionist in several offices and it was always policy to tell the patient that you would have the doctor or nurse call them back to discuss test results, no exceptions.