What can I do if I feel like medical treatment made an injury worse?

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What can I do if I feel like medical treatment made an injury worse?

I’m 24 years old and, when I was 19, I damaged a disc at the base of my spine. At the age of 21 I had suffered through 2 years of very limited mobility and very severe back and nerve pain without medication or treatment. So I went to my doctor and she motivated me

to go to manipulation therapy before and without an X-ray examination. The doctor at the

osteotherapist’s office did his own X-ray and after about a month of that therapy I found myself in more pain and more unable to move correctly. They suggested a steroid injection through an epidural at the nerve and spine center. That pain was excessive and the relief was barely temporary. After being told my options of either sticking it out with the therapy and injections or surgery I opted for the surgery only to wake up after the

operation to find my injury had worsened from a general slipped disc rubbing or protruding my nerves to the disc actually being completely splintered. I feel that the osteotherapist’s technique or tactics injured me further because now, 3 years later, I’m still in unbelievable pain. I fear going back to work still since that’s how my injury occurred first most and most available jobs require heavy lifting and long periods of standing which I cannot do. I’ve

been to my primary care doctor and she only tells me to try the therapy again and change my diet. I recently had X-rays done and at the follow up she didn’t show them to me nor did she explain them to me. I know this isn’t medical advice I’m seeking, but my balance, physical capabilities, ability to work and pursue other avenues of my life have been basically completely destroyed for me and I really fear for my safety and livelihood.

Asked on October 23, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you want to try to sue the osteotherapist, act NOW, before any more time goes by. You write "3 years later"--the statute of limitations, or time to sue, in your state for medical malpractice, is only 3 years from the time of treatment, so if you are not out of time, you are almost out of time. Meet with a medical malpractice attorney this week to discuss filing a lawsuit--even if, after further investigation, you decide to not pursue the case, you may need to initially file it just to maintain your option of bringing a lawsuit.
What you describe would be malpractice if the therapist was negligent, or careless, in either the treatment he prescribed or in how he administered it. There must be fault--for example, failing to meet then currently-accepted standards for this type of medical care--for there to be liability. Without fault--if the therapist did everything right, but you simply unfortunately had a bad reaction or response--there is no liability, because the law does not hold doctors and other medical care providers to a standard of perfection.
If this is malpractice, then you may be--based on what you write--entitled to a fairly significant amount for pain and suffering (disability and life impairment), lost income, reduced earning potential, and medical costs. That is why it is worthwhile consulting with an attorney as soon as possible. Good luck.


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