At the Downtown LA Law Group, we have seen many individuals suffer injuries due to osteomyelitis. We have also seen scores of doctors fail to diagnose osteomyelitis. This failure to diagnose is a cause for medical malpractice. You can file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor if he failed to diagnose your osteomyelitis or if he misdiagnosed it as another condition. You should pursue a medical malpractice claim, and our team of attorneys at the Downtown LA Law Group can assist you.
Osteomyelitis is an infection of a bone. A bone may become infected if the infection travels there from another location in the body or if the bone is exposed to germs. This can occur if germs enter the bloodstream through injury, surgery, and more. According to research, smokers and individuals with chronic health conditions have an increased risk of osteomyelitis.
Some symptoms of osteomyelitis include fever, swelling in the area of infection, redness, pain to the touch, fatigue, inability to move the area, and more. In less common situations, osteomyelitis may not result in any symptoms.
One of the main causes of osteomyelitis is surgery. There are airborne germs or germs present on surgical equipment that can enter the body. It is possible for instruments to not be fully sterilized, leading to the germs living and thriving on a new victim.
How Osteomyelitis Misdiagnosis Happens
Although doctors, surgeons, and specialists are highly trained healthcare professionals, some are negligent in how they view patients. They may not listen to a patient’s description of symptoms or they may believe they know the issue without considering other options. If they do not follow through with the necessary course of action to protect patients, the patient can easily suffer great injuries and permanent damages. A doctor can fail to diagnose osteomyelitis, or a bone infection, if he does not conduct the necessary tests to investigate the issue. He may not order proper imaging tests, like CT scans, to investigate deep tissue. He may simply view an X-ray and determine that there is no fracture or sprain, and thus misdiagnose you. Many doctors will simply assume that your symptoms are indicative of another issue, but not a bone infection, as it is not a common occurrence. In some cases, the tests can be ordered and you could go through them, but the doctor may misread or misinterpret the results. This may occur with inexperienced doctors or with doctors who believe that their initial diagnosis was right, but they do not believe the tests to be accurate.
If a doctor fails to diagnose osteomyelitis, the results could be drastic. The patient could very well suffer for weeks or months until a second opinion or follow up shows the real issue. He could suffer bone death in which the bone rots or becomes unstable. Septic arthritis may set in, in which the infection in the bone can spread to a nearby joint. If the patient is a child, growth impairment can occur. There is also an increased risk of developing skin cancer due to pus draining into the body. The worst case scenario, though, is amputation. It is possible for the area to be removed if the infection is too severe, if it becomes gangrenous, or if it might potentially spread to crucial parts of the body.
How to Sue for Osteomyelitis Misdiagnosis
In order to file a claim for an osteomyelitis misdiagnosis, you must be able to prove that there was negligent action from the doctor. There are four points that can be shown as true. You must first have had an established doctor/patient relationship with the doctor, as in he was your primary care provider or the surgeon conducting a procedure on you. Next, the doctor must have breached his duty of care in some way, such as by not checking all possible angles or ordering proper tests. Then, the breach of duty must have resulted in an accident or incident. Finally, the incident must have resulted in physical injuries. It will also be required that other doctors testify that they would not have acted in the same manner under the same or similar circumstances. This last bit is unique to medical malpractice claims. This group can claim that they would have ordered different types of tests, for example, or would have further examined the possibility of infection.
As soon as you have been discharged from the hospital, you should gather your proof. It can be hard to gather proof immediately, especially if you cannot determine the extent of the damage from the malpractice. You should hold on to all medical receipts, insurance billings, treatment notes, and more. You can also go to another doctor to get additional treatment to offset some of the damages. It is actually necessary to get another opinion, as a misdiagnosis may not be initially caught by the same doctor. You should not delay going to get treatment or another opinion, either. You will preserve your health and will not be subjected to further injuries, and it will become less likely for that the insurance agent to doubt the validity of your claim.
Next, you should take photos of your injuries and damages to show their extent. They may heal in the meantime while the case is going on, so it is required that you have proof of how serious they were. This is also highly recommended if you are undergoing surgery quickly and the doctor will fix the infected bone.
If there were any eyewitnesses who could attest to the doctor’s wrongful or negligent actions, such as nurses or other patients, you should try to get their information and record their statements and testimonies. Family members and friends can also testify to the extent of your pain.
You should be ready to alert your insurance company to any medical treatments that occurred that you did not give consent to, or to try and recoup losses that racked up from the missed diagnosis.
You should file an incident report with the hospital so they have a record of the occurrence and negligence, as well as your intention to file a claim.
Finally, it is highly recommended that you search for the assistance of an expert attorney who has experience in osteomyelitis misdiagnosis malpractice lawsuits. You might not have legal experience, the ability to negotiate, the time to spend on a claim, or the ability to dive into a lawsuit when you’re busy recovering from damages. The stress levels could also impede your recovery time. Our attorneys will work around the clock to ensure that you are given the compensation you deserve.
Compensation from a Misdiagnosis of Osteomyelitis
The average case value of a missed osteomyelitis diagnosis can range from $20,000 to more than $1,000,000. The insurance agent assigned to your case will determine the value and will weigh different factors.
With the help of our expert lawyers, you could earn more than the average court settlement for your case. We aim to bring our clients more than merely the med mal average settlement value; we believe you should have all of your expenses covered if you were harmed because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose your osteomyelitis. You may receive the following:
Coverage of medical bills and expenses from the past and future
Reimbursement of lost wages that you could not earn due to injury or recovery
Reimbursement of damaged property, if applicable
Pain and suffering damages (capped at $250,000)
Wrongful death compensation (funeral and burial expenses, pre-death medical bills, loss of consortium, and more) in the event a loved one or family member died from the misdiagnosis
We will do everything in our power to win you the maximum compensation available for your claim.
Misdiagnosis Statute of Limitations
All medical malpractice cases have a statute of limitations that you must adhere to. If you try to file a claim beyond this date, then you will likely be unable to earn any compensation for your injuries. You have one year from the injury itself or three years from the discovery of the injury to take legal action.
There are ways for the statute to be temporarily suspended. If you were underage at the time of the injury, the deadline would not begin counting down until you turn legal age at 18 years old. If the doctor left the state or the country, the statute would not begin until he returns. Further, if you were left mentally or physically incapacitated after the incident, your statute would be suspended until you return to awareness.
For help determining if you are eligible for any exceptions to the statute of limitations or to figure out how much time you have left to take legal action, call one of our experienced osteomyelitis misdiagnosis lawyers in Los Angeles.
Our Firm and You
The Downtown LA Law Group has a team of expert medical malpractice attorneys with decades of combined experience. We have taken on numerous medical malpractice cases involving misdiagnosis of osteomyelitis, and we know the best tactics for success. If you need a free legal consultation, call our law offices today. We will see to it that you understand the process and you are given all the answers you need.
If you hire us for our legal services, you’ll also receive our zero fee guarantee. You won’t pay anything at all and we will cover the costs of the case. If we win, the settlement provides us with our fees. If we lose, we take no payment whatsoever.
To file a lawsuit for osteomyelitis misdiagnosis, contact the Downtown LA Law Group today.