Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

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Latest post Thu, Jan 25 2007 2:07 PM by Turfgirl. 6 replies.
  • Wed, Jan 24 2007 4:54 PM

    • Turfgirl
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    Angry [:@] Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

    Spinal fusion L2 to T12 with lamenectomy.I had a wedge fracture of the L1 vertabrae in Sept. 2005. Rushed to the ER and told fusion needed to be done immediately or my spinal cord could be severed. 4 weeks later, surgeon released me back to my physically demanding job on light duty wearing a brace. At 8 weeks he said the fusion was a success, I could take off the brace and work full time. The problem was, I was still in excruciating pain. He cut off my meds and told me he was not a pain doctor, and I would be in pain the rest of my life. He inferred I was just after the medication and told me there was no reason for the pain I told him I was in. He quit taking my phone calls and dropped me as a patient. Barely able to get out of bed, I sought out a pain management doctor who did an MRI and xrays. He said the fusion was complete, vertabrae completely healed and he saw no reason for the pain, but agreed to medicate me anyway. For the past 12 months I have been working 50-60 hours a week outside doing physical labor. Once a month to the doctor for 30 days worth of pain medication. This is a 400 mile round trip for me. The doctors in the town closest to me(100 miles away) will not dispense pain meds. Finanally after contemplating suicide, my husband got me in to another nuerosurgeon this week. He did x-rays and showed me the results. He said the fusion had never taken place. The bone had not repaired itself and I could see for myself the broken pedicle screw. Snapped in half. The other 3 screws have pulled out and are loose. It's a real mess. He wants to remove the hardware first and see how I do. Then possibly a different kind of fusion surgery. More pain, more time off work. He said he would not have done the type of surgery that was done because they never work. I am the breadwinner for my family because my husband is disabled and I have willed myself to work with this pain because I thought I had no other option. I have never needed an attorney for anything, but I have been so wronged I don't know wht to do.
  • Wed, Jan 24 2007 6:07 PM In reply to

    Question [=?] re: Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

    Was the surgery due to an on the job injury (workers comp) ?
  • Wed, Jan 24 2007 7:55 PM In reply to

    • Turfgirl
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    re: Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

    No, I fell down a cliff.
  • Thu, Jan 25 2007 9:50 AM In reply to

    • carol3
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    Feedback [*=*] re: Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

    No one on a board can possibly guess if malpractice occurred. You would have to prove by expert medical testimony that the doctor was negligent in his treatment, resulting in direct injury.

    Keep in mind that no surgical procedure comes with a guarantee of success, there are risks with any procedure and bad outcome does not necessarily mean malpractice has occurred.

    In general, lumbar spinal fusion is most effective for those conditions involving only one vertebral segment.

    The principal risk of this type of surgery is that a solid fusion will not be obtained (nonunion) and further surgery to re-fuse the spine may be necessary. The patient should also be aware that even if fusion is successful, that does not assure that the pain will go away. As with any surgery, there is a chance of complications such as infection, bleeding, and anesthetic complications. Another potential complication of fusion surgery in the low back includes any type of nerve damage.

    "For the past 12 months I have been working 50-60 hours a week outside doing physical labor. "

    Have you done so with a doctor's permission for the specific type of labor you are engaged in?

    Only a medical malpractice attorney in your state can determine if malpractice occurred after careful review of all of your medical records by an expert.

    You should consult one soon as the statutes apply.

    If you need help locating an attorney, the Find A Lawyer feature on this page is an excellent resource.
  • Thu, Jan 25 2007 10:44 AM In reply to

    • Turfgirl
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    Sad [:(] re: Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

    Thanks Carol,
    Yes, I was released for full time work with no restrictions. The doctor was aware of the requirements of my job. I asked him several times if there were certain things I could not or should not do. He said, "If it hurts, don't do it". I asked if there was some kind of physical therapy or rehabilitation type excercises I could do. He said,"no". I guess what I don't understand is the fact that two doctors told me the fusion was complete, and this new doctor says it never was. I will seek out the advice of an attorney in my area. I just wondered if anyone had been through a similar situation. Thanks again for your advice
  • Thu, Jan 25 2007 1:20 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

    I am not an attorney so this is not legal adivce. I am not a medical doctor so this isn't medical adivce.

    I previously asked if this was an on the job injury as spinal fusions frequently are the result of an on the job injury.

    A fusion with pedicle screws is a common type of fusion and yes the screws do sometimes break.

    Whether the surgery was the best type I don't know. On surgeon may routinely do one type of surgery and another may do something different for the same condition.

    As I understand, you sought a second opinion from a neurosurgeon. That neurosurgeon had x-rays done and told you one screw was broken and the fusion was not solid.

    You many want to consider getting all the post operation x-rays films and having a radiologist compare all of them.

    One of the doctors might have to send the films as most radiologist practice as consultants and usually don't just read films someone brings to them, but some do.

    The neurosurgeon should be able to assist you with this.

    Sometimes a person has a failed fusion. If so, another fusion is required. Some failed fusions just occur without a reason. Some fail due to malpractice.

    Whether you need another fusion is your decision. Gather as much information about fusions as you can.

    The more you know, the better you can decide if you want another fusion or not. Remember in medicine and surgery there is no guarantee. The surgery can be quite successful and the results two months later show no imporvement.

    You may want to check out the surgeon you decide to use with the Texas Medical Board. Go to their web site and look on the left side. There is a menu and one item is public information to check out doctors. Click around until you find license verification. Put in the last and first names of the surgeon you want to use. You'll be able to find out where she/he went to medical school, graduation year, where she/he did a residency, board certifications, malpractice claims, etc.

    On the TMB site you can find out if the doctor has ever been disciplined for any thing or if there has ever been a malpractice claim.

    There was a surgeon in my town who had lost over 40 malpractice claims and still did surgery until the day his license was revoked.

    Low back pain is the most difficult to treat.

    The pain management doctor may never get you pain free, but should help you live and work with any pain. You sort of learn to ignore it.
    That's why it's called pain management not pain relief.

    You may also want to get copies of all medical records for the injury. Start with the first doctor visit. Keep everything is a big folder.

    Get records from every doctor, hospital, emergencey room visit, etc.

    There will be a fee. The information belongs to you. The paper it's written on doesn't, so you have to pay a fee for the copies. The fees pay for the time and effort to copy them.

    There is a surgeon who posts here occasionally, maybe he will see you post and have some medical information.

    Good luck

  • Thu, Jan 25 2007 2:07 PM In reply to

    • Turfgirl
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    re: Failed spinal fusion/ broken pedicle screw, Texas

    Thank you for all the avice and the time you took to write to me. I appreciate greatly appreciate it. Get some sleep :)
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