Do I have a case if the doctor did not give me the right pot-op treatment?

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Do I have a case if the doctor did not give me the right pot-op treatment?

I had surgery to repair my Achilles tendon. When my cast was removed, the doctor gave me a walking boot. I was supposed to wear a soft cast for 2 more weeks but he said the incision looked so good, that I could go straight into the boot. By the 2nd follow up, my incision had an opening. Long story short, after a 2nd surgery and several visits I finally saw a wound doctor yesterday (over 4 months later). I have a wound that I have to pack because it is so deep.

Asked on April 17, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If the treatment was actually negligent, or careless--that is, did not rise to the level of accepted medical treatment--then it may have been malpractice. If that is the case, then you may be able to recover your additional medical expenses (out of pocket costs) caused by it; pain and suffering, for a period of living with significant pain and/or disability; and possibly lost wages, if you can't work for a time.

However, the mere fact that the post-op treatment did not work for you does *not* automatically make it malpractice: if a reasonably physician would have made that same determination and offered the same treatment, then the fact that it had a bad outcome does not result in liability. Doctors are only liable to the extent their advice was unreasonable, careless, sloppy, not in keeping with current standards for care, etc.--the law accepts, however, that sometimes even the best medical care does not work out.

As a lay person, you are probably not in a good position to determine if this may have been malpractice or not. You should consult with a medical malpractice attorney (many of  whom offer a free initial consultation; you should verify this before coming into the office), who can advise you as to whether you may have a case, what it may be worth, how strong it is, and also the cost to pursue the case.


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