If my doctor failed to identitfy a foot fracture, what canI do?

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If my doctor failed to identitfy a foot fracture, what canI do?

About 3 months ago I suspected a fracture in my left foot. I went to the doctor. He did an X-ray and told me it was just a sprain and that all I have to do is stay off of the treadmill. I did so but then last week I further injured the same foot. Upon ER X-rays, they found that I did indeed have a healing fracture. If the fracture had been identified in the first place, I would not have further injured it. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on January 2, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF the doctor committed malpractice--that is, the medical care was not up to current acceptable standards--you may have a cause of action against him. Note that simply being wrong does not necessarily mean malpractice--sometimes doctors do everything right but still misdiagnose. For example, foot fractures are often suprisinglyh hard to identify, even by X-ray. Only if the doctor were careless, was not properly trained, was drunk or otherwise incapacitated, was using inadequate equipment, or somehow missed a very obvious diagnosis that any doctor should have made, etc.  would there necessarily be malpractice.

Even if there was malpracctice, you could only recover an amount of money equivalent to the extent of the injury and the medical costs and lost wages (if any) you incured due to the malpractice. Since you need a medical expert of your own to bring a malpractice case, it may not be worthwhile taking action.


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