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Old 01-17-2012, 04:35 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,527 posts, read 29,233,815 times
Reputation: 21263

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vault612 View Post
I found out after knee replacement a drill bit was broken off and left in my femur. This was at my six week checkup. In the surgical notes it states there were no complications and all surgical equipment was okay before and after surgery. I am having pain and burning still which I have had since surgery. I have complained all along and the dr at my 12 week checkup said I was in the healing process. I feel I should seek legal counseling but i am more concerned about infection because of the bit. What should I do?
MY GOD. Sue the ever-loving bejesus out of them. You have got a dead-to-rights claim. Pursue it. Please.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,309 posts, read 33,329,150 times
Reputation: 7038
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opsimathia View Post
They are all very hard to see. Its why you are suppose to count the items. Rags and sponges can easily look like flesh with blood soaked into them.
I agree with that, I'm trying to say that it may not make sense to keep a patient under general anesthesia for more time and inflict additional trauma attempting to extract a piece of a bit from a weight bearing bone.
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:42 PM
 
4,618 posts, read 10,497,588 times
Reputation: 10291
Quote:
Originally Posted by vault612 View Post
I found out after knee replacement a drill bit was broken off and left in my femur. This was at my six week checkup. In the surgical notes it states there were no complications and all surgical equipment was okay before and after surgery. I am having pain and burning still which I have had since surgery. I have complained all along and the dr at my 12 week checkup said I was in the healing process. I feel I should seek legal counseling but i am more concerned about infection because of the bit. What should I do?
You should have been told about the drill bit...agreed. How did you find out about it now?

If it is a small piece, it is possible that the surgeon didn't even know it broke off until he saw the X-ray.

There is little chance of infection from a sterilized drill bit. You have a hunk of metal and plastic in your knee now, the additional drill bit isn't going to hurt you.

Going after the drill bit is likely to cause more harm than good. If its embedded in the femur it isn't going anywhere and it is extremely unlikely that it is causing your symptoms.

You don't need nor want an MRI as someone suggested.

You should ask for an explanation on why you weren't told about the drill bit and it can't hurt to get another opinion.

Just "any doctor" as someone else suggested won't cut it an internist or family practitioner isn't going to be able to help you or give you an educated opinion on your options. See an Orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in total knee replacement.

You could seek legal counsel but it will be extremely difficult to prove pain and suffering for this issue.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:00 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,453 times
Reputation: 15
Default Broke Drill Left in

I just came from my Dr for my first (2 week) post op visit since my right total knee. Left was done about 2 years ago. He did tell me that a drill had broke and the piece is still in there and will cause no problems. It was one that was used to install the ***. He gave me a copy of the x-ray and off I went. He told me it wasn't worth the extra hour it would of taken to try to remove the small piece left behind. I have no intentions of getting a lawyer. I look at it this way. It's made of surgical grade material and no different then if I had a pin installed. With the amount of metal I have in both knees now this doesn't bother me a bit. Sure down the road if it causes complications I might get it removed but as for now its part of me. I fell this is different then leaving a tool or a sponge behind. That would be negligence but this is just part of the inherent risk associated with such a complicated surgery.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:43 PM
 
16,487 posts, read 20,332,656 times
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I can't believe for legal reasons that your surgeon didn't get that thing out of you as soon as he realized what happened. I'd seek another doctor and an attorney as well.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:38 PM
 
4,618 posts, read 10,497,588 times
Reputation: 10291
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencrayola View Post
I can't believe for legal reasons that your surgeon didn't get that thing out of you as soon as he realized what happened. I'd seek another doctor and an attorney as well.
I can't believe that folks that haven't a clue what they are talking about make assumptions about lawsuits and what can and should be done about a broken drill bit.

Is it worth the risk of a femur fracture or potential nerve damage to go after a piece of metal that is imbedded in bone that isn't going to do any harm at all if left where it is???

If someone signs up for surgery and a complication like this, mechanical failure occurs and in the best judgement of the surgeon it is riskier to go after the piece of metal then leave it alone and if this all communicated to the patient after surgery in a timely matter there are no grounds for a lawsuit.....period....
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:40 PM
 
4,618 posts, read 10,497,588 times
Reputation: 10291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sontime View Post
I just came from my Dr for my first (2 week) post op visit since my right total knee. Left was done about 2 years ago. He did tell me that a drill had broke and the piece is still in there and will cause no problems. It was one that was used to install the ***. He gave me a copy of the x-ray and off I went. He told me it wasn't worth the extra hour it would of taken to try to remove the small piece left behind. I have no intentions of getting a lawyer. I look at it this way. It's made of surgical grade material and no different then if I had a pin installed. With the amount of metal I have in both knees now this doesn't bother me a bit. Sure down the road if it causes complications I might get it removed but as for now its part of me. I fell this is different then leaving a tool or a sponge behind. That would be negligence but this is just part of the inherent risk associated with such a complicated surgery.
You have a great attitude about this.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:32 AM
 
2 posts, read 6,442 times
Reputation: 10
My replacement was done under a local anesthesia. I am just upset I was not given the opportunity to decide one way or another while I was in the surgery and before everything was finished. I know my doctor did not realize it had broken off. With it being 1 1/2 inches it would have been quite obvious part of the drill was missing. With all of the people in the room it should have been checked.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:49 AM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,807,408 times
Reputation: 5865
They leave bullet fragments, pieces of shrapnel in patients all the time when it is deemed too risky to remove them. I would think that the same thing would hold true of broken drill bits...which are probably a risk inherent to that type of surgery any way.

I would imagine that the doctor left the drill bit in your bone because he felt that the risk of removing it was higher than the risk of leaving it in there. Definitely seek a second opinion if you think that this doctor is "sketchy" or not being 100% straight with you.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,482 posts, read 26,078,274 times
Reputation: 26435
Quote:
Originally Posted by vault612 View Post
My replacement was done under a local anesthesia. I am just upset I was not given the opportunity to decide one way or another while I was in the surgery and before everything was finished. I know my doctor did not realize it had broken off. With it being 1 1/2 inches it would have been quite obvious part of the drill was missing. With all of the people in the room it should have been checked.
Even if you were awake, you were likely given medication to help you relax. It's hard to lie completely still for the length of time it would take for the surgery. Those medications often cause some amnesia, so even if it was discussed with you, you might not remember it a few hours later.

Suppose your doctor did tell you while you were in the OR and that he did not think it would cause a problem and that he preferred to leave the broken bit where it was. Would you have disagreed with his educated choice?

Why would you sue? The probability that you will have any long term consequences from the small piece of metal is unlikely. Therefore, you would have no damages. You would also have to show that either the bit was defective or the surgeon did not use it properly. The fact is that a well made bit used by an expert surgeon might break. I can envision the point of breakage of the bit being well below the surface of the bone. Getting it out would involve possibly sacrificing some of that bone, possibly weakening it.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery | Article

"Results: During the observation period, 11,856 surgical procedures were performed in the two hospitals. The overall rate of instrument breakage was 0.35%. The broken piece was removed in five cases, and the broken instrument was left in situ in thirty-seven cases. During the follow-up period, none of the patients had any symptoms."
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