Q: Hi! I would like to know if I have a case for product liability for a broken screw from my spinal stenosis surgery ?
I’ve been having excruciating pains in my lower back ever since I had my spinal stenosis surgery in 2015. My doctors advised me that with proper physical therapy and epidural injections I would feel back to normal. On 6/14/2019 I had a Ct scan and last week the doctors compared it to a 2018 CT Scan and discovered I have a broken screw and I have to have surgery all over again. I am 33yrs old and my life has changed DRASTICALLY, other than seeing my orthopedist, I’ve been seeing a therapist for anxiety and depression due to all of this. I can barely drive to places, can walk much, can’t stand for long, cannot work. What can I do?
It's hard to evaluate some cases without a more thorough review of all of the facts involved in the potential case. Though personal injury is not my main area of specialty, I work with an attorney who has extensive experience in helping people recover money in personal injury actions. He would be more than happy to discuss this with you. Please reach out to Craig Pogosky, Esq. by calling him at (201) 342-1103. I discussed the case with him on your behalf so when you call him, please tell him Noel Rivers sent you to him so he will recall your case.
Good luck with everything!
A: I'm sorry to hear about the difficulty you are experiencing. Obviously, you need to have confidence with the medical advice you are receiving. If you doubt the advice, you should get a second opinion from a qualified orthopedic back surgeon. It is not unheard of that screws can break after orthopedic surgical cases, however, should a piece dislodge it could cause complications. There has been recent attention in the media with regards to physicians in certain areas using poor quality foreign screws to save money. Should you need additional surgery, you should ask the doctor who is doing it to retrieve it and keep it for you so you can investigate whether it was defective. It may also be marked with identifying information as to the manufacturer. Finally, you should discuss the matter with the doctor suggesting the surgery about the frequency of such events, and whether he feels the screw was appropriate. Your treating doctor is a good place to start in getting basic information from as to whether you have a viable claim against anyone. I hope you find relief in the near future.
I'm sorry for all your suffering as a result of this ordeal. With that second surgery you describe, request all components that are removed, in particular that broken screw. I agree with Mr. Pogosky that a determination must be made as to whether it was defective.
You could consider a consult with an attorney who should be able to outline for you the legal theories that would be involved if you were dealing with a defective product. Such a cause of action would be based on a component being defectively manufactured (e.g., metallurgical failure) or designed. If an attorney felt that there was a valid basis for a case, that sort of determination would likely be supported in court by experts such as metallurgists, material scientists, biomedical engineers, etc.
This would be a complex case, but you could arrange for a free initial consultation with an attorney and gather information that would enable you to consider your options. Good luck
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