What to do if after hip replacement surgery, 1 leg is now longer than the other by almost an inch?

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What to do if after hip replacement surgery, 1 leg is now longer than the other by almost an inch?

I’m writing for a friend. For many months she’s been in constant pain, with walking, sitting and sleeping difficulties. Her orthopedic surgeon continues to assure her that she’s doing just fine, and says wait…for what? He didn’t diagnose the length disparity – she had to go to 2 other doctors as her surgeon denied anything was amiss. The other doctors revealed her leg length issue. Is there a threshold of how much increase/decrease in length is considered an acceptable risk for such surgery? Is it 1 inch?

Asked on July 15, 2013 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The question you asked about leg length and acceptable risk for surgery can only be answered by a doctor.

As for the legal issues regarding a medical malpractice case, medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

If the other doctors your friend saw after surgery, write a report or reports supporting a malpractice claim, your friend should file a medical malpractice claim with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier.  Your friend should obtain her medical bills, medical reports (especially the reports from the other doctors) and documentation of any wage loss.  The medical malpractice claim filed with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of the injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement. 

If the case is settled with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If your friend is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the surgeon's malpracitice insurance carrier, she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the surgeon.  If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, your friend must file her lawsuit for negligence against the surgeon prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your friend will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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