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Broken titanium screw and bent titanium plate!! Lawsuit Worthy?

Started by madisundae on 10/14/2020 12:11pm

First and foremost, I'd like to thank anyone who takes the time out of their day to read this, give advice or even their opinion.
Now where to begin? I am a 23 year old, female active duty military member. While I was deployed, I, being the graceful person that I am, took several falls down the steel ladder wells about the carrier. During deployment, I began to experience SEVERE sciatica. Let me tell you, if you weren't already aware, military medicine is an absolute joke. The ship's physical therapist concluded that I probably just needed rest and advised that I stretch really well.

The sciatica was prominent in my left lower back down all the way down to my left leg and to my toes. It was pretty terrible, but most of you seem fully aware of that pain. I had no choice but to deal with it. During this deployment, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, so I was able to fly home and report to a command from my permanent residency, Nashville. It had been almost a year since the first reporting of that sciatic pain. The military finally allowed me to obtain a PCP, who sent me to therapy for 5 months before even getting an MRI, xray, or CT scan. Therapy wasn't helping, and the pain was getting worse.like, something was seriously wrong at this point.. The PCP then referred me to an Orthopedic who wasted my time for three months and ended up putting me in a temporary back brace, that alleviated zero pain.

I went back and forth, getting epidural injections, nerve blocks and you guessed it, nothing was helping. I was then referred to a different orthopedic surgeon, who had me do another MRI and x-ray. My L5 S1 had slipped forward 16mm. The disc, was completely GONE. The holes that your nerves come out of from your spinal cord to your legs, were being SHUT every time I stood straight. Completely unnatural. I wasn't happy that there was an issue, but i was happy that there was obviously something wrong and it wasn't all in my head. I was scheduled for surgery almost immediately. My surgeon advised me that there would be TWO surgeries, He would take part of my hip to create bone graft and go through my front, a little ways under by belly button, remove the remnants of the barely there disc, insert a carbon fiber cage, and pack it with the bone graft, and closing it with two titanium screws and one titanium plate. The second surgery was through my back, just securing it even more with two additional titanium screws and titanium plate.

Obviously, i was in terrible pain after each surgery. I was scheduled to go home two days after the second surgery. However, i just KNEW something wasn't right. I could feel it in my back, thigh and leg. I pleaded with the nurses to contact my surgeon because i didn't want to go home until i was 100% certain that everything was fine. They tried to tell me that of course i'd be in this pain, because i just had two major surgeries. It was quite sad, everything i had to do to convince the nurses and doctors that something was wrong. They finally caved and I had a cat scan. I won't forget the look on my surgeons face when he had to look me in the eye and tell me that i was right, something was wrong. The screws had moved, and i needed an emergency surgery to correct this. So in total, i had THREE major back surgeries, all within 10 days. Side note, this all took place when COVID had just started, so i had no family with me at all during those ten days.

The recovery was terrible. I had the WORST post surgical nueropathy in my left leg. I wasn't getting any sleep, the medications weren't helping. I was scared that i was going to be that way forever. I told my surgeon that he could just go ahead and chop off my leg because i wasn't going to live that way. My medications were percocet, gabapentin, Tramadol, robaxin, cyclobenzaprine. I went to physical therapy again, and started feeling slightly better, but the pain was still heavily present.

Its been SIX months since those surgeries. The sciatica has gone. The neuropathy still remains, but is muted slightly. Medicine is not helping. I just haven't been feeling like myself. I am always UNCOMFORTABLE and need to be on heat almost 24/7. My back ACHES. I went to my surgeon yesterday for what i thought would be our last appt for a year. Did and xray, and we discovered that one of the titanium screws from my back have broken completely in the middle and the plate has bent backwards. Surgeon said he has never seen this before in 20+ years and that i need to have a cat scan and MRI done immediately to assess the damage.

I am considering taking legal action against the screws manufacturer. They caused me to have that third emergency surgery, and have now broken within six months. What is your advice on this matter? Is it worth it? I plan to round up every document involving my back, researching the manufacturers history, etc. I dread having to be under the knife again to replace the screw, this surgery was just awful and i don't want to do it again but i see it happening anyway.

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1 Response


Dear Madisundae,
That is a very tragic story, especially coming from someone so young. You may not feel it right now, but you are a very brave soul!
I cannot advise who you should sue, but you should sure consider suing someone. These corporations have insurance against such things. The doctors / hospitals have malpractice insurance for a reason. You're not going to ruin anyone's life, just the insurance company ... which you won't hurt. Their bean counters account for such things and rates are set.
It's not ... impolite to sue someone. You're not doing it for personal gain. You were wronged ... period! Your life could have challenges that might hinder your dreams / life goals.

My father had a botched surgery when he was 50 or so and lived the rest of his life in pain. When he was 70 or so and bumped into one of the doctors who operated on him. The old gentleman doctor admitted that my fathers surgery was the worst botched job in his career. At the time, they were all concerned, smiling, reassuring faces meanwhile and both he and the affiliated hospital quivered in fear of this easy law suit.
Of course my father would not consider such a thing at the time when it happened. Likely never thought it was an option. I remember him briefly talking about it after this confession. He shrugged it off with pride and bravado, but it was clear that he was ... hurt and full of regret.
He paid dearly for that surgery for the next 31 years of his life.

If you were awarded compensation, you can regain some control of your life.
Gather your documents and start the screening process. Personal injury lawyers are everywhere waiting for such an opportunity.

Last point, the definition of malpractice ...
"Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management."

My two cents,