T Nation

Can I Sue My Doctor?

Hey everyonem, I am 17 year old senior in high school. I am looking for some advice on a legal issue. I havent contacted a attorney yet, i dont know if its worth my time. I am not someone looking so sued someone for everything they do. I am jus wondering if it would be an option in my case. Ok let me start out.

Last year on Sep 26 i hurt my right shoulder. My family doctor said it was a AC seperation and it would heel in 6 weeks. After 6 weeks my shoulder still hurt. He transfered me to a repubitable Sport and Orthopedic doctors office in Kalamazoo,Mi. My doctor there did a Xray, and a MRI ( note he did not give me contrast for my mri).

He said everything came back good, besides on my x ray you could see a gap in my ac joint. He gave me cortizone and told me i could start lifting in 2 days. Whatever weight i wanted to and that it would be fully healed. I came back 3 weeks later with pain still.

He gave me another shot and told me i could go back to lifting and that my shoulder was alright. I came back again and he discussed having surgery to remove my clavicle, he said that was what was causing all the pain. I belived him, he was a doctor.

So i went ahead and had surgery done on march 20th. When i went into surgery i was under the impression that it wouild be arthoscopic. He wouldnt write me a slip for physical therapy, he said it wasnt neccesary. He said i would be fully healed within 2-3 months.

My incision i was left with is about 1 and a half inches long and a half inch wide. He said I was alergic to the vicro stitches thats why my incision is so wide. Its pretty nasty looking lol after 3 months i went back to him, the pain was worse than before my surgery. He told me to give it more time and it would be alright.

I didnt have time though , i had to find out if i could play football or not. So i ended up switching Doctors and went to a different sports medicine office in another town. This was the best decision i could of made. As soon as the doctor examine me he said that i had a torn labrum , but wanted to make sure with a MRI.

Well i told the doctor why my first doctor didnt see it on the mri. and he looked at the report and said what the heck ? he didnt shoot dye in you ? . So i ended up getting the Arthogram/MRI and the results came back that my labrum was torn. I went ahead and had surgery to repair my labrum. My doc said that he has never seen a labrum like myne. it wasnt torn it was shredded.

He said prlly because of the cortizone i recieved from my first doctor and then lifted hard on it cause it to shred like that. I am now 7 weeks out of my SLAP repair surgery and my shoulder feels 100 times better than it did than after my first surgery.

now my question is was that neglegence on my first doctor ? i think it was a unecesary surgery. now i believe that my clavicle wasnt causing the pain , but it was my labrum. SO the doctor removed my clavicle and he didnt need to.

My clavicle was removed, i dont have a bone conecting to my right arm any more. From my understand and what my physical therapist said is that the clavicle is only removed in older people with Chronic Arthritis. so could i sued my doctor from all the pain he put me through ? and that he lied to me . he told me it was going to be arthoscopic but now im left with an ugly scar.

and now i cant play my senior year of football, and my future is ruined. My right shoulder will never be as stable or as strong because my clavicle bone was removed for no reason.

thank you for any advice.


That sucks. No advice but you have my sympathy.


Definatley sounds like you could sue him, but what do I know.

I would definatley take some kind of action if he fucked me up that bad just because he was a negligent dumbass.

shoot him in the knee caps.


In America you can sue just about anyone for anything. I'm no lawyer but your reason seems legit.


He took out your clavicle? Yeah, I'd talk with an attorney. Spend some more time researching lawyers than you did researching docs :wink:


Shoulder weak and unstable? Missing clavicle bone? I foresee a lot of squats in your future -- doesn't sound ruined to me.


Find a qualified attorney.

Beyond that, don't take any legal advice from people on the internet.


Are you sure the doc removed your clavicle? I don't think you're lying, just that you may have misunderstood something.

Perhaps they had to file down the distal head of the clavicle so it wasn't sitting on top of your acromian process any longer. Or maybe it was something similar to this.

I just have a hard time believeing that they simply removed your clavicle without a replacement. I think you'd have a titanium rod or something of that nature in it's place if your clavicle were really removed.

Besides, I don't think it would have made sense to repair a damaged labrum if you didn't have a clavicle. That would be like replacing worn tires on a car with a missing/broken suspension.


wow, yes I think you did get it wrong, Removing the clavicle would seem like a REALLY stupid idea unless he replaced it with a rod or something as ChrisKing said.


The doctor told me that he shaved the clavicle down. My physical therapist was feeling my shoulder...( my scar is like a Oval with a dip in it and u can feel a bone sticking up) ... and the physical therapist said he didnt shave it down he removed it. he said thats what that bone sticking up is. its the end of your collarbone. and theres no clavicle there.


The "collarbone" is the clavicle.

I think you are seriously misinformed/confused, and need to remedy that before proceeding further.


Yep, he had his clavicle removed...or at least the lateral tip of it. This is a common operation to relieve supraspinatus impingement ("rotator cuff" decompression), and gives great results.

Yep, anyone can sue. But is it worth it? Consider:

He will have to find a bottom-dwelling, scum-sucking, ambulance-chasing plaintiff's attorney willing to work on a contingency.
Next, he will have to hire, at great expense, self-appointed "experts" willing to profess to anything for a fee.
And most important, he will have to contend with a defense attorney, who will be able to prove that the labrum-shredding occurred after the first surgery. (Is it negligent to deny physical therapy to a 17 year old? Who knows. Are you willing to submit that question to a jury?)
Last, if he does pursue this, it will assume a form of extortion. For example, the suit will be withdrawn for a sum less than the reporting level (say $29999). Subtract fees, lawyers, experts...and you have wasted 2 years of your life, and learned how to twist the truth.

Poor medicine, poor justice. Despite Melvin Belli's dictum ("The best thing that has ever happened to the practice of medicine is the malpractice suit")--its time for tort reform.


I've been messed up by a doctor about as badly as anyone. You have get him. It's your responsibility to fuck up his career. At the very least complain to the state board. Also consider fucking up his clinic like I did.


Didn't you screw yourself up while high on crystal meth?


This is America! No matter how stupid you are, it's always someone elses fault!


Hey everyone thanks . im going to wait and talk to my doctor i see now. i see him in a month. im going to sit down with him and look over my report from my first surgery. and see what it says, and actualy what the doctor did. and then from there ill decide wether or not to contact a layer. i kno my doctors not going to say "yah go sued him".

But everytime i see my doc sits there and looks at my shoulder and shakes his head wondering why the doctor took my clavicle out. but does any one know any good attorneys in the west michigan area ?.... incase i do ended up trying to pursue it.


There is certainly medical malpractice on about three different levels. You are very young and your future has been negatively and permanently altered. I would suggest making an appointment with an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. There are many online resources, or even the yellow pages, for finding a proper attorney.

Most plaintiff attorneys will represent you for a contingency fee (they get paid if you get paid). At minimum you can sit down and present the facts to the attorney who will tell you if you have a case and what the potential outcome will be. You don't have to determine what the doctor did wrong, you simple tell the attorney what happened and he'll know from his education and experience what will hold up in court and what won't.

At most the attorney will tell you that you don't have a legitimate case and he won't represent you, and you are out nothing.


Nothing is quite certain in these matters, and a typical malpractice attorney would not recognize real malpractice if it bit him on the wallet.

An unfortunate outcome is necessary but not enough for a malpractice suit; there must be negligence, or care proven below "the community standard."
I do not dismiss the OP's experience, but proving each of these components may be more difficult than any here would expect.

At the time of the first surgery, did the surgeon inspect the labrum? If so, and it was normal...
Is physical therapy a standard of care for a 17 year old shoulder patient? I think so, but be prepared to hear different opinions.


Not only can you sue for malpractice but you must ! Don't listen to these guys trying to make it seem like suing is a scum bag thing to do . Your shoulder is totally fucked and things like this happen constantly . That's why so many people sue . It's so easy for someone else to discount your quality of life and act like it's not a big deal . Your now permanently suffering because of that shoulder . Fact is there is many things you won't be able to do . All because some asshole was to lazy to give you the contrast .

If you don't do something then who is the next guy this doctor is going to screw , That's how I look at it ! Not only that but your totally screwed . 20 years from now that shoulder will still hurt you in one way or another ....


Don't listen to this guy and his prove it to the jury crap either . It ain't that hard . The jury is the same as me and you and most likely , they been screwed over by a doctor like the rest of us ! This guy removed a piece of your body for Christ sake !