Role of orthopedic experts in different orthopedic surgeries
The demand for an orthopedic surgery expert witness is growing because of rising orthopedic malpractices. Patients who’ve been victimized get the right to seek compensation from the surgeon or the medical professional who was responsible for the injury. These experts help obtain the best outcome and help the patients get their compensation for the damages caused. When a person has a broken bone, fractures, or musculoskeletal conditions, they should immediately seek medical attention from an orthopedic surgeon. These experts are responsible for treating and diagnosing a wide range of conditions like back pain, shoulder injuries, sports injuries, ACL knee surgery, ankle injuries, wrist injuries and so much more.
Generally speaking, an orthopedic expert witness acts as a middleman between the attorneys and the plaintiff. They help in understanding the orthopedic procedures and the right ways of performing surgery. They help in establishing the fault of the surgeons as well as help quantify the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. This is because they have the knowledge of the subject in which they are testifying. It means that if you’ve sustained any kind of musculoskeletal injuries due to surgical errors, you’ll need an expert witness for the same. They have expert knowledge in pain management, therapies, and the costs required for such treatments. The best expert witness should have the knowledge to determine how certain procedures can affect someone’s life! In this regard, let’s discuss the factors based on which the experts should be selected.
Experience and Knowledge:
The expert witnesses must have the requisite degrees and the experience to become an expert witness. Remember that all expert witnesses are orthopedic surgeons but all surgeons are not expert witnesses. Besides having a degree, they must have board certification to testify in malpractice claims.
Experience and degrees will be of no importance if the expert witness is unable to communicate the findings with the jurors. The facts presented by the expert should not only be scientifically correct but they should be presented in a simple language. The orthopedic surgeon expert witness needs to have the skills to persuade the jury to believe in him/her. Unless the decision-makers believe that the facts are convincing, the outcome of the case might not be in the plaintiff’s favor.
Must have the ability to negate the claims put forward by the defense:
In court trials, the defense attorney will try to throw difficult questions to the expert and sometimes may use different tricks to quiz the witness. When you choose an experienced orthopedic witness, you can be sure of the fact that they can handle the defense with confidence and ability.
Check the success rate-
Before taking orthopedic expert witness services, it’s important to check the success rate of the cases in which the expert had testified. Having experience or knowledge will not suffice if the ultimatum is zero. After all, you’re appointing an expert to win the case and not just to get case facts or reviews. So, this is an important factor that must be considered before selecting an expert witness.
By considering the above points, it’ll be easier to make an informed decision. Now that you know the importance of expert witnesses, it’s important to know how they assist the attorneys in several orthopedic malpractice claims.
Knee replacement malpractices:
The role of orthopaedic expert witness is manifold in all orthopedic malpractice cases. Before discussing the role, one should take a look at some of the important orthopedic surgeries, their malpractices, and complications.
Knee replacement is recommended for patients suffering from immense pain and inflammation in knee joints. The procedure is also known as Arthroplasty in which some or all parts of the knee joint are replaced with a synthetic implant. Mainly, knee problems take place due to osteoarthritis. The procedure needs to done by a professional surgeon in adherence to the established standard of care. There can be surgical errors before, during, and after surgery. Some of the examples of malpractices include-
- Failure to communicate the pros and cons of the surgery
- Failure to seek the previous medical history of the patient
- Failure to seek informed consent from the patient, which is the most crucial.
- Using obsolete or outdated equipment
- Failure to use sterilized equipment
- Surgical errors like cutting the wrong organ or foreign bodies left inside the patient’s body
- Post-surgical complications include- failure to prescribe the right medications or dosage, or failure to keep the patient under observation after surgery.
All these instances can be termed as a case of medical malpractice and you’ll need a knee replacement expert witness for the case. You may face the following complications as a result of surgical errors:
- Knee infections
- Blood vessel injuries
- Nerve damage
- Chronic pain
- Frozen or stiffness
- Pulmonary embelism
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Movement impairment
Malpractice cases are also common in ACL Knee surgery. People who are involved in rigorous sports activities like soccer, basketball, hockey, or football are prone to an ACL injury. In this matter, the surgeons will first study the condition of the patient before recommending surgical treatment. Though the procedure is safe, there can be complications and you can face some of the complications like- weak knees, blood clots, improper healing, joint infection, and others. Patients have the right to seek compensation and therefore, they’ll need legal representation from an attorney. As malpractice cases are complicated, the attorneys will retain a knee surgery expert witness to understand the complexities of the case. They help determine the total amount of compensation and they’re also called upon to provide deposition or testimony services.
Ankle surgery malpractices:
Ankle surgeries may be recommended for patients having the following problems:
- If you get persistent pain and it doesn’t go away with non-surgical treatments
- Limited mobility
- No relief with medications or treatments
- Sharp pain during winters
Your doctor might recommend an arthroscopic procedure because it is minimally invasive and has excellent success rates. Though the procedure is safe and ensures quick recovery, the patient may sustain injuries for the breach of duty of care by the surgeon or negligence. You have to retain an attorney to make your claims on your behalf and seek compensation for the damages caused. The role of a foot and ankle expert witness is similar to that of any other expert witness. But it’s better to retain an expert who is specialized in cases similar to yours. This is because when an expert witness from a specialized area deals with your matter, you can be ensured that they have knowledge about different problems that may arise during the entire process. Besides this, an ankle surgery expert witness can also give effective solutions for those problems.
Sports Medicine Malpractices:
Medical negligence in sports injuries can change the life of an athlete and in severe cases may also prevent the athlete to return to sports activities. The athletes before joining any sports team should get a thorough checkup of their physical conditions. This is called pre-participation evaluations where the sports medicine doctor needs to perform a rigorous health checkup of the athlete. The doctor needs to explain to the athlete about their health condition which might affect their ability to play. A concussion is one of the major injuries faced by the athletes and the on-field trainers should diagnose the condition. Remember that in sports injuries, the employer will be responsible for the actions of their medical staff and there’ll be a case of malpractice if the doctor sends the athlete back to the field who is sustaining potential injuries.
In these instances, an attorney should be retained for negligence by the doctor or has been hurting in a sports event. The sports medicine expert witness plays an essential role in testifying in cases regarding traumatology, exercise physiology, physical therapist, or sports injuries. Retaining a sports injury expert witness is important to get the right compensation for the damages.
Shoulder surgery is also an orthopedic surgery and just like all other surgeries, it is also associated with risks. Botched shoulder surgery takes place when the surgeon is negligent while performing surgery or there can be negligence during the pre-operative and post-operative period. Some of the reasons for botched up surgeries include the following:
- Professional misconduct
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
- Causing nerve damage due to surgical errors
- Failure to consider the previous medical history of the patient
- Failure to provide medications for recovery after surgery
- Improper use of equipment
A shoulder surgery expert witness is important in this regard. They help in understanding the orthopedic procedures and the right ways of performing surgery. They help in establishing the fault of the surgeons as well as help quantify the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.
Similarly, there can be complications in elbow surgeries as well and the complications include- infection, nerve damage, bleeding, blood clots, pain, and inflammation. By appointing an elbow surgery expert witness, the patient can heal from the injuries by allowing the attorney and the expert witness to fight on behalf of him/her. Also, it’s important to retain these professionals on time because there is a statute of limitation within which the lawsuit needs to be filed.