My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: california.
I went to a hospital (which I will not mention, other then the fact that they use THRIVE in their commercials) Jan 30th 2014 I underwent a total hip replacement on my right leg. I had anesthesia by local injection in the lower back for my surgery, which they said was safer. Came out with the news that everything went well. While recovering I thought I could dorsiflex my foot, I don't recall feeling any pain most likely because the anesthesia hadn't worn off. Four hours after my procedure a physical therapist was assigned to help me move, get out of bed and walk, she explained that it was to eliminate the development of any blood clots. I was hesitant because I wasn't ready. She was persistent. When I finally got out of bed I felt a pain shoot down my leg and I told her I had enough and wanted to go back to bed. That night I could feel my leg getting hot and throbbing.
In the morning I was in pain and couldn't move my foot upwards and I was having burning, tingling, throbbing, pins and needle feelings all along the lower halve of my leg, from my knee to toes. I requested to see my surgeon but I was told he was no longer available so an acting doctor came in and reviewed me. She told me that I was going to need physical therapy, even after I said something is wrong with my foot, she said, "don't worry its just swelling and I can see your foot move" ( condescendingly). I was never told by anyone at the hospital that what I was experience was called drop foot with possible ischemia. I was then shipped a day later to a nursing/ physical therapy facility. I began physical therapy right away. I was in so much pain that by the 7th day I refused to do anymore therapy because the pain was so severe. I finally got in contact with my surgeon. He had me brought back via ambulance to get an MRI. I was told I needed an emergency surgery, something needed to be corrected.
I had to return back to the hospital Sunday very early morning, the surgery waiting room was empty (mind you this is a big hospital, and prior to the first surgery there were several dozen people around). I was so scared, those that did attend my second surgery was a nurse, an anesthesiologist, the Dr and I believe his assistant, it was a far different experience then the first time. I was undergoing another round with anesthesia having to be poked and prodded and essentially do it all over again. When the second surgery was complete the Dr said that the nerve was all bunched up and that I had an unusual amount of scar tissue for the length of days after surgery. The pain from the knee to the ankle went away but I still felt the sciatic pain from the ankles to my toes, and I was still experiencing drop foot. I was devastated that the second surgery only partially worked. I had to be proscribed pain and nerve medication, I was given all sorts of opiates and having me take Neurontin with each time upping the dose.
After two weeks post second surgery I was sent home. I had a nurse come to check up on me for two more weeks. The realization that my life has changed was suddenly hitting me, depression was setting in, and the pain was intolerable, even with medication, it was so severe that I couldn't sleep for several days post surgery, exhaustion was the only way I was able to fall asleep. This was the first time I had experienced a mental, physical and emotional breakdown because of pain. I tiredly asked the Dr's what can be done to fix all this, his reply was, time!
A month post surgery still feeling nerve pain, I requested a nerve test which required inserting a larger needle into the shin to assess the connectivity of the nerve. Which frighteningly I couldn't feel. When I called to find out the results of my test, I mentioned to the Dr that I was experiencing throbbing, swelling, hot and cold temperatures near my pelvis, he suggested I go to the hospital. I was told I have DVT, a blood clot. This is a life threatening situation they told me, I needed 5 mg's of Coumadin for six months, in hopes the body will naturally devolve the clot. Coumadin alone is a dangerous drug and comes with many risks it also requires having your blood drawn several times a week making sure the doses are correct. Having to be on a restricted diet, which means refraining from a long list of foods, not being able to take vitamins, minerals and supplements like I was use to doing, and being extremely careful not to cut, bruise or have any falls while on this medication. Even after being on Coumadin for several weeks now I'm still experiencing all the major symptoms of the blood clotting in the leg, there has been no benefit or change and it almost seems to be getting worse. It is very heavy and swollen.
I still question why someone who had two surgeries, drop foot and sciatica wasn't prescribed blood clot preventive medicine since mobility was an issue and I was at a higher risk for developing them.
As it stands I am now having to walk with the brace, which takes time, effort and energy having to insert and remove is quite painful. Not to mention having to wear tennis shoes all the time and one being larger than the other to accommodate the brace. Having been told that you will never be able to wear healed shoes or wear sandals because of drop foot is emotionally unsettling for me, however the physical pain of the sciatic nerve is far worse then I can ever describe. My foot is now turning inward and growing bone spurs to compensate for the drop foot, the Dr's are recommending another surgery on the nerve of the foot. My daily pain management regimen is 40 mg of opiate a day, 2700 mg of Neurontin, and even while on these high does amounts I can still feel the pain. I fear that my body, Liver and kidneys can not go on taking all these medication just to get through life.
The irony is I am obligated to pay for the corrective surgery, Dr visits, medications, lab work and the equipment needed to function, all associated with these surgery and the possible negligence. I'm aware that there are risk in surgery, however I was never informed verbally by my surgeon that my outcome was possible. I was denied even after several attempts to be referred to a specialist and or a second opinion from another hospital. I feel trapped and ignored by this institution. It is now been almost over a year and Hasn't gotten any better, even when the doctor has said give it time.
I personally feel he said that because he didn't want me to sue him within a reasonable amount of time he just expected me to wait to see how things got. I have now developed burcities on my other hip because of the unbalance and I tried just about everything Cortizone shots, Acupuncture, all sorts of pain medication to relieve the pain. I recently took a trip to visit family and had to pay extra to be moved into more comfortable seating to accommodate this leg and foot. With all the medication I am taking I have been sick and not being able to hold down food. This whole ordeal has been slowly withering me down. I would love to find support from other victims who have suffered the same and maybe find peace in our tragedy together.