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Is this malpractice

West Chester, PA |

I had a herniated disc at L5-1. The surgeon operated on the disc but I was still in pain for a month afterward. He did another MRI to find out that he did the level above. He was very honest with admitting the mistake and explained to me how I had 'different' anatomy. I let him take out the disc during a second operation and I've done well.

What are my rights for undergoing this wrong level surgery? The doctor was honest and direct accepting responsibility for the mistake. He admittedly made a mistake and corrected it. How does this affect whether I have a case?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. It's always dicey to offer an opinion on medical malpractice without the benefit of thorough record review and an independent evaluation by a qualified physician. However, the facts you describe certainly suggest that the physician was negligent. The doctor's honesty and good conduct in the second surgery affect your case by limiting the time of your pain and suffering and providing the defense with evidence of the doctor's good character and benign intent but these aspects of the case do not disqualify you from bringing your case. You really need a thorough review of the facts of your case by both an experienced med mal lawyer and an independent surgeon. Good luck.


  2. While the other attorney who answered this question is quite correct in noting that without a thorough record review, one cannot make a definitive determination of malpractice, in your case it seems pretty clear. The physician departed from accepted practice when he did the surgery on the wrong disc. The real question is what are your damages? Of course, you had to undergo a second surgery, but often, that is not enough. You need to show a permanent and serious injury.

    You should probably see another neurosurgeon to be evaluated for injury as a result of the other surgeon's actions in performing surgery at the wrong level. What kind of surgery was it? A diskectomy? A laminectomy? Something more serious? Your case is only as good as your injury proximately caused by the departure. If you can show that this surgeon's actions caused you to suffer a serious and permanent injury, then you probably have a case.

    If that's the case, and you need the name of an attorney in your area, please feel free to contact me via e-mail, and I may be able to provide you with one.

    Good luck.


  3. The two other attorneys responding to your question.

    I would recommend that you seek a second opinion from another medical provider. I would also recommend that you discuss this matter with an attorney. The key step is having your records reviewed by a medical expert. If you can obtain an opinion that your doctor deviated from the standard of care and as a result you suffered injuries then you have a case.

    There is certainly some value to having undergone an unnecessary surgery.


  4. Based on the facts given this sounds like a good Malpractice case. The doctor operated on the wrong disc and you needed a second operation. You should have the matter reviewed by an experience Medical Malpractice attorney. Good luck.

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