Orthopedic Malpractice

Oregon Orthopedic Malpractice Lawyer


Orthopedics is the branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis, correction, and treatment of deformities of the structural components of your body such as bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and related tissue.  Thus, an orthopedist is a physician which specializes in treating these conditions, and an orthopedic surgeon is a doctor who performs surgical procedures to repair damage to these structures.  Most orthopedists will further sub-specialize in either a certain type or location of the body, such as the shoulder, knee, hand, spine, foot, hip, elbow, or practically any other muscle or bone group.  Further, some orthopedists specialize in certain types of injuries and populations, such as sports injury orthopedists or pediatric orthopedists.  


To become an orthopedist, candidates must complete a four-year medical doctoral program at an approved medical school.  The last of the four years is typically spent in rotations, generally in the area of preferred speciality.  Upon graduation, physicians seeking to specialize in orthopedics must undergo a one year internship year, and then a one year residency in general surgery before embarking on typically a four-year residency in orthopedics and orthopedic surgery.  Physicians seeking to become board certified need to pass both an extensive written examination as well as an oral presentation/physical demonstration.  Some orthopedists can elect to do a fellowship which is a further specialization of their practice, such as a focusing for several years on just the spine, shoulder, or another area of the body.


Needless to say, orthopedists undergo a significant amount of education, testing, training, and gain valuable experience before they begin to independently work on patients.  However, this does not mean that an orthopedist is perfect.  Nor does it mean that an orthopedist does not make mistakes.  In fact, research shows that orthopedists are usually the third-most or fourth-most sued specialists of medicine, with 79% of all orthopedists having a medical malpractice claim filed against them and approximately 14% of practitioners having a new claim filed against them each year.  Many types of orthopedic malpractice cases involve botched joint replacements such as shoulder replacements, hip replacements, or knee replacements, as well as other procedures such as failed spinal fusions, improper tendon repairs, nerve damage, and many others.


Orthopedic Medical Malpractice


There are many types of Oregon orthopedic malpractice which could result in serious personal injury to a victim.  These injuries can include permanent damage, including irreversible nerve damage, deformed joints or bones, extreme and permanent pain, and non-functioning tendons, ligaments, or muscles due to grave medical errors.  Some of the most common types of orthopedic malpractice include the following:


  • Failure to diagnose a fracture – this includes failing to order an x-ray to verify a fracture, failing to read or interpret an x-ray properly, performing an improper or sub-standard physical examination of the injured area, and failing to identify a broken bone as a possible cause of injury;
  • Surgical errors – orthopedists usually perform arthroscopic surgeries, which are performed through several small incisions and a small camera which goes into the body.  Mistakes during arthroscopic surgeries are rare, but when they occur the injuries are usually destructive, damaging, and sometimes irreversible.  Common locations for arthroscopic surgeries include the shoulder, elbow, knee, and hip.
  • Improper casting – an orthopedist is generally the type of physician which will cast a broken bone.  However, when a cast is too tight or does not mitigate or account for the swelling of the injured area, the casting could actually result in serious injury to the extremity such as nerve damage, permanent tissue damage due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen), and even necrotic conditions due to lack of blood flow which could result in amputation.
  • Injuries to nerves or the vascular system – even before starting a surgery, an orthopedist must identify landmarks on the body to avoid cutting into or damaging nerves or vascular structures like veins or arteries.  Once the surgery is underway, it is accepted practice for an orthopedist to visually identify where those structures are to avoid making contact with, putting pressure on, or otherwise harming those vital structures.  When an orthopedist fails to do that an an injury occurs, not only could it be permanent damage, but it could also result in the wrongful death of a patient is an artery is injured.
  • Wrong patient surgery/wrong site surgery – it may sound like a horror movie, but surgeons may mistakenly switch patients in the operating room/department and perform the wrong surgery on the wrong patient.  Even when the right patient is on the operating table, sometimes surgeons operate on the wrong part of the body.  This could include something as simple as the wrong vertebrae on a spinal surgery, but this could also result in something as obviously wrong like operating on the wrong foot, hip, shoulder, or other part of the body.


Damages in an Orthopedic Malpractice Case


Victims of orthopedic malpractice may be entitled to damages for their injuries.  With regards to personal injury law such as medical malpractice, damages are typically in the form of monetary compensation.  The common types of compensation that a victim of orthopedic malpractice may be entitled to include the following:


  • Pain and suffering (past pain and suffering from injury to trial, and future pain and suffering from trial verdict/award to life expectancy);
  • Medical bills;
  • Lost wages;
  • Lost earnings (if you can no longer perform the same type of work or lose your job and need to take a lower-paying job than before your injury);
  • Future medical expenses, such as medications, physical therapy, future surgeries, etc.;
  • Loss of services/consortium to dependents – this is compensation for the loss of your relationship(s) with others close to you like family and significant others due to your injury; and
  • Other damages.  


We Represent Victims of Oregon Orthopedic Malpractice


If you or a loved one have been the victim of Oregon orthopedic malpractice resulting in serious personal injury or wrongful death, please contract our law firm today to discuss your case by dialing (541) 385-1999.  We handle all types of orthopedic malpractice cases throughout Oregon, including surgical errors, failure to diagnose, improper casting, and any other orthopedic errors.  Our initial consultation is free, and if we accept your case, we do so on a contingency fee basis which means that you will not pay any attorney fees unless a recovery is made on your behalf.


We handle cases throughout Oregon including: Bend, Portland, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Medford, Deschutes County, Central Oregon, Sisters, Redmond, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro, Multnomah County, Washington County, Hood River, Clackamas County, Oregon City, Jefferson County, Crook County, Coos Bay, Lane County, Albany, Douglas County, Yamhill County, Tillamook County, Clatsop, Columbia Klamath, Wasco, Madras, Prineville, Crook, Lane, Pendleton, Umatilla, La Grande and Vancouver, Washington.

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