Old School Liability 2
February 12, 2010 by admncc
I published a similar post on July 21, 2008, well before 99% of you followed The Constant Complainer. But back then I was a rookie blogger and couldn’t give this topic the exposure it deserved. So I cleaned it up a little and it’s back for its day in the sun.
I’d like to tell you a true story about a 13-year-old boy. This boy was at a Cub Scout event and was playing a game called capture the flag. During the game, he got tackled and hurt his right hip. It was very sore, but he kept playing with his friends. Eventually, he went home and told his parents that he hurt his leg.
The boy’s parents called his pediatrician the next morning. And the boy went in for an appointment. The doctor checked him out, did some mobility tests and declared the injury to be a pulled muscle. She indicated the boy would be fine in a few weeks. No x-rays or prescriptions needed! Excellent, the boy thought, as he had two baseball games upcoming.
The first game was later that week. At that game, the boy was the pitcher and played the game of his life – extreme hip pain and all. He pitched nearly the entire game, but unfortunately had to be removed in the last inning due to the pain. As the doctor had suggested, he took it easy and tried to help the muscle heal in time for the next game.
The next game day arrived and the boy was playing first base. He was visibly still in pain, but he kept playing. At one point, he was up to bat and hit a ground ball. As he tried to run to first base, his hip was so sore that he couldn’t. A parent in the stands (angry that the boy seemed to be walking to first base) stood up and yelled “he can barely run – take him out” and several other parents agreed. The boy’s father was sitting there and heard this. He decided to immediately take the boy to the emergency room.
At the hospital, an orthopedic surgeon determined that the boy had actually broken his hip while playing capture the flag at Cub Scouts. And the boy’s pediatrician had misdiagnosed him because the tests she ran were inadequate.
That 13-year-old boy was me.
You know, 22 years later, not a week goes by when I don’t think about how my life was changed forever due to this injury and the doctor’s misdiagnosis. My hip was not only broken, but playing baseball and two weeks of day-to-day activities had permanently and irreparably damaged my leg.
I had to have two hip surgeries and one knee surgery. I was in a wheelchair for one week, was on crutches for six months and then had to use a cane for three months. To this day I have back pain because my leg’s growth was stunted. I also walk out of kilter and have to wear special inserts in my shoes. Plus I see a chiropractor regularly.
This happened 22 years ago. I suspect had this happened in 2010, my parents probably could have sued the pediatrician, the Cub Scouts or the kid that tackled me. However, back in the 80’s, we just accepted the doctor’s mistake and moved on. But like I insinuated, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow.
Don’t think I can’t operate day to day, because I can. I’ve passed every medical test possible and my hip has been deemed perfectly healthy. The spirit behind this post was to describe the pain and suffering I’ve endured over the years as a result of what happened.
The reason this was on my mind was because I recently wondered if that same pediatrician (who misdiagnosed me) was still practicing medicine. So I made a few calls. Not only is she still practicing medicine, but she is still at that exact same office. Irrationally thinking, of course I want to call her and tell her off – as a thank you for 22 years of hip, knee and back pain. In the same breath though, I feel the time is well overdue to let it go. I’m sure her answer would be that she did the tests she thought she were necessary back then. Maybe I should have gone to the emergency room when I was first injured. My parents didn’t think I needed to. I was a young kid and thought I could walk it (whatever the injury was) off. To this day I wonder how I walked around and played baseball with a broken hip. It seems unreal, but it happened.
I guess what ticks me off is that I’m just another statistic in the area of medical malpractice. But that doesn’t ease my pain any – that’s for sure.