View Full Version : lawsuit question re: fusion

10-07-2003, 07:59 PM
I have a question, possibly a dumb one...my first surgery to fuse my spine was in 1992 and rods were installed. the second surgery, 1996, removed the rods. doctors told me the rods could not be fully removed if spine was not fused properly...they went in, said it WAS indeed fused solidly, and removed my rods. 1999, i visited again to tell them curve was progressing. they said it was only 5 or 10 degrees and that was normal, not to worry about it, my spine was fused. so now, here we are, 2003, and new state, new doctors, discover my spine cannot be fused because my curve has now gotten back to original curvature of over 60 degrees. they're recommending another surgery (i know i've posted this info before)....my question is this: family/friends are very distraught (me too) and they seem to be encouraging me to seek legal advice, because i was told 2 times that the fusion was solid, when it indeed was not. do people really sue over this? and is there legal grounds to sue? should i blow it off?
any help would be appreciated, or any helpful websites.

10-07-2003, 10:28 PM
Hi Gail...

I don't know whether or not you have legal recourse, but your surgeons were probably incorrect about your fusion. Solidly fused masses can continue to curve, but only at a very slow rate. I have been told by a very respected scoliosis specialist, that there's no way of knowing for certain if a fusion is solid.

Whether you seek legal advice should be up to you. You have to ask yourself if your doctors were stupidly negligent. And, if you decide that they should have known better, you have to decide whether you want to devote any of your resources to trying to sue them.

My personal feeling is that I knew there were a lot of risks when I signed up for surgery (in the same year as you). If I thought my doctor had intentionally misled me, I'd probably blame him, at least partially, for a bad outcome. However, I hope I'd not focus on what happened in the past and just try to get it resolved for the future. That's just my $.02.

In terms of research, it wasn't until a few years ago that the one and only piece of research on removal of scoliosis hardware showed that curves tended to increase so rod removal should be avoided if possible. So, it could be difficult to prove that your surgeons should have known better.


10-08-2003, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the info Linda. i definitely am not the type of person to spitefully try to make money off doctors or lawsuits by dreaming something up, but my family seems to be more hurt by this than me, and that upsets me. There is a lawyer that heard about me and is offering a free consultation, so maybe i'll just check into it. Seems like a lot of effort, and i would just rather focus all that energy on the upcoming surgery and recovery. But i guess i should think it all over and see what happens.
thank you!

01-10-2007, 01:44 PM
you should blow the lawsuit off. firstly doctors sometimes have to make calculated decisions, they cannot always know for sure. secondly, the consent form you signed before u had your operations would have outlined any possible mishaps that my happen. if you have a copy of this it may be worth a look to check this, but legal action seems unreasonable as i am sure the docs would have warned you that things may go wrong.

01-10-2007, 03:03 PM
There is a lawyer that heard about me and is offering a free consultation,

I would be careful of an attorney that approached you. He very well could be the proverberally "ambulance chaser", and he would be the only one to benifit from a suit ($$$$).
I had the old Harrington's back in '83, then had them removed in '89 because they broke. By '90 I noticed a change in my appearance, but was told I was "fused" and my back was just fine. I was told this by at least 4 doc. By 2000, I figured out (me, not the docs) that I had flatback. My point is that your doc may not know about all the problems that can occur with scoli. So unless you really feel that your doc was negligent, I personally wouldn't put the attorny's kid thru school LOL ;)

Karen Ocker
01-10-2007, 04:19 PM
My fusion was done in 1956!!! NO Hardware and was told at that time and at age 52 that my fusion was "solid". BUT I lost much of my correction by middle age.
This was the state of the art those years. Many of us have found out that the fusions with Harrington Rods/ and without weaken over life and curves increase. This is what ALL docs believed at the time. It was still better than NO treatment at the time.

I suspect that attorney who offered to help you knows nothing about scoliosis.I personally think you would be wasting your time because malpractice involves not following accepted practices and then a bad outcome results.

I would concentrate in getting well and becoming productive.

01-10-2007, 07:04 PM
I honestly agree with the other posts Scarlett. You are not doubt feeling quite let down by the whole system, but honey I would put all my energy into getting well.

A lawyer who "heard about you" He most likely sees dollar signs and as has been said dear, would not have any true idea about scoliosis.

We do take a risk with any type of surgery, I did back in the dark ages which has lead to problems now, but I had no alternative. I am still thankful I was able to have the operation.

God bless,
Macky xx

green m&m
01-11-2007, 02:26 PM
Yeah, like other's have said, I'd be weary of that lawyer.

There are good medical-legal attorneys and than there are the ambulance chasers. Avoid latter at all costs...

01-13-2007, 03:27 PM
I had the same thing happen to me. Tried to sue and I got blown off. I would worry more about getting things fixed the right way and forget about a law suit. You won't win.

Spencer's Dad
01-13-2007, 05:42 PM
Hello all,

I had originally posted some info on this subject, but I just noticed the original post date was Oct. 2003.

Clearly, my input at this point is irrelevant. Before responding to a thread, lets all check the original post date to make sure it is not 3+ years old.