My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: Michigan
Injured neck on duty (Sept 6, 2007) as police officer in michigan, avoiding hitting a deer in the police car. Went to personal doctor who got x-rays and wanted an MRI, however advised that I had to go thru work doctor since this was a work related injury.
Went to clinic (WC doctor) who did not do xrays or MRI, just said it was a strain and sent me to physical theropy for 2 weeks. Advised doc that it was not getting better thru follow-up appointments, however after the 2 weeks he sent me back to work on a "trial" basis. I was put on various medications thru-out this whole WC care, including Etolac, Tramadol, Motrin, Neratin (spelling on all of them might be wrong), none of them worked, only "took the edge off". "Trial Work" lasted a few days and was back at WC doc. Kept in Physical Theropy till finally in Nov of 2007 Doc reluctantly sent me to a pain specialist, who immediately sent me for MRI which showed three herniated cervical discs, one of which was in contact with the spinal cord.
As soon as insurance co. found this out, they sent me to an "Independant" medical evaluation (which the insurance adjuster said was a good friend of hers). IME appointment lasted MAYBE 15 minutes - 10 min of talking about my family history and 5 min on exam (including doc listening to my neck). IME gave a report citing 4 case studies which had NO relation to my case and said that I was perfectly fine and should go back to work without restrictions and that this was NOT a work related injury due to family history and smoking. WC cut me off and employer advised me to return to work that night.
I started the dispute process and filed a few days after returning to work. Phone mediation took place in Feb of 2008, at which time I was advised that it should have went right to trial due to being a "cut-off" and set a pre-trial date for April 7 2008. Trial date is set for June 17 2008
Three weeks ago I consulted with a spinal / disc specialist who reviewed my MRI from Nov and advised me that I should not have been at work, that I should have been in PT, traction and injections to correct the problem. He ordered an updated MRI, which showed that the main herniated disc was now twice as bad and compressing the spine, including "spinal tilt" and advised that my only option now is fusion of the spine and stated that I need that surgery YESTERDAY and I risk being paralysed each day I wait.
I found a lawyer to represent my workmen's comp aspect, however, he quickly said that I have no recourse on the medical doc, insurance co or IME Doc., and I want a SECOND OPINION on this. He did say that in order for me to go after the IME, I would have to have another doctor testify against the IME in court and that doctors don't testify on each other.
If the IME Doc would have properly suggested the proper treatment for this injury back in Nov 2007, it would have just been PT, traction and injections to fix the problem. Now since he said I was perfectly fine, needed NO treatment or restrictions and should go back to work, now I get to live the rest of my life with a fused spine and all the future complications that come with it. My employer has no disablity, therefore in order to keep income coming in, I will have to continue working and wait till the workers comp case is settled in my favor in order to get the paid time off to get the surgery, which is atleast 2 months away.
What recourse do I have to go after the Clinic doctor who (against my own doctors recommendation) classified this as a strain and put me in PT (which I believe made the injury worse). Ignored my statements that it was not getting better, then FINALLY sent me to a specialist - 2 MONTHS after the fact.
What about the "independant" medical evaluation doctor for improper or mis-diagnosis or negligence.
What about the insurance co. for negligence for basing their decision to cut me off based on this IME's opinion? (WC Adjuster's comments showed that she did NOT review the cited research reports in the IME's report, only took his word that I was ok).
What about my employer for bringing me back to work without a doctor's clearance? Since the IME advised, even in his report, that he was not seeing me for medical reasons, treatment or advice and only for a forensic opinion on the accident? Shouldn't I have needed a DOCTOR's clearance to return to work ?? I mean most employers want a doctors note if your off work ill for more then two days...
Sorry for ranting, but it makes me upset to think that an IME can make his opinion, despite an MRI showing cord compression and the WC insurance co and send me back to work. Also, that this injury could have been taken care of in NOV 2007 with PT and traction and now due to the lack of care, I get to have my neck fused for the rest of my life .... there has to be a way to go after them... PLEASE HELP !!
PS - at no time was I informed that I could have went to my own doctor for this injury. I was under the impression that since it was a work related injury that I had to have it taken care of from a WC doc.