When a patient experiences a surgical complication, it’s common for the surgeon to advise allowing some time for the body to heal and return to normal.
This isn’t necessarily bad advice, but there are definitely some other considerations to keep in mind. In fact, in some situations, waiting can create other problems down the line.
Taking medical and surgical options off the table
Consider what happened to a middle-aged woman who had surgery on her left arm to remove a benign fatty tumor or lipoma. Let’s call her Claire.
Before the surgery, Claire had no limitations. After the surgery, she immediately noticed that she couldn’t move some of her left fingers or close her hand like she would to grasp or pick something up.
Claire told her general surgeon, who suggested that she may have experienced neuropraxia, or stretching of a nerve. He said to give it time and it would get better in a year or so.
Month after month, there was no improvement. Eventually, Claire went to another physician who did nerve conduction testing that showed damage to her radial nerve.
She then went to see a different surgeon at an academic medical center.
The new surgeon determined that Claire’s first surgeon had completely cut and severed her radial nerve during the initial surgery. The new surgeon told Claire that if she had come to see him earlier, he could have done a nerve graft surgery that would have restored her normal nerve function. Over a year after that surgery, though, that option was off the table.
When it comes to medical improvement after a surgical complication, it may make sense to wait and see what happens, but sometimes it’s a good idea to get a second opinion pretty quickly.
Any time a patient has a surgery, there are some risks of complications. Some things can go wrong despite the surgeon and operating room team providing appropriate care.
Other complications are caused by medical malpractice or mistakes. When that happens, Texas law defines a statute of limitations in place. Like other negligence claims under Texas state law, the general deadline to file the claim is two years. (The exact deadline depends on the specific facts of a potential case, so it’s important to speak with a qualified attorney).
When patients miss the deadline to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, they are deprived of their day in court.
Additionally, there are many occasions when injured patients call Painter Law Firm to share their story days or weeks before the statute of limitations will expire. In those situations, we aren’t able to help because there’s not enough time to obtain medical records and analyze the potential claim with medical and nursing experts to see if it is appropriate to pursue the claim in court.
Medical, surgical, and legal options are three important reasons why patients should think carefully before taking a “wait and see” approach after a surgical complication. Remember, you can always contact a top-rated and experienced Texas medical malpractice attorney for a free strategy session about your potential case.