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West Virginia patient claims negligence in wrist treatment

Charleston patients receive medical treatment based upon doctors' recommendations. A physician who neglects to share treatment alternatives fails to provide vital health care information. Without knowledge of treatment options, a patient is robbed of the opportunity to make medical choices for themselves.

A West Virginia woman, who broke her wrist in a January 2012 fall, sought help at a Beckley Hospital. The examining surgeon performed a closed reduction surgery on the patient's wrist the following day. According to the New England Musculoskeletal Institute, incision-less closed reduction surgeries are performed on patients with distal radius fractures – forearm bone breaks close to the wrist -- frequently caused when patients try to break falls or other accidents by extending their arms.

Surgery is one of several treatment options for distal radius fractures, according to the institute. In a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon and his employer, the woman stated her doctor never discussed alternative treatments. She also claimed the wrist surgery failed to alleviate symptoms, including numbness and pain.

The woman continued to see the surgeon for nearly nine months without any improvement in her condition. In October 2012, she visited West Virginia University Hospital for a second opinion. A diagnosis led to a second operation, an open reduction surgery, in November 2012.

The lawsuit seeks punitive as well as compensatory damages. The complaint accuses the defendant of neglecting to tell the patient about optional treatments for the broken wrist.

Patients cannot make informed decisions about medical treatment, unless they are aware of all the choices available. Wrong actions, as well as decisions not to act, may be perceived as evidence of physician negligence in West Virginia medical malpractice and other liability cases.

When doctors withhold crucial information, like risk factors and alternative treatments for a medical condition, they may put a patient at risk of serious injury or even death.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Fayette Co. woman says doctor, med group didn’t properly treat fracture" Annie Cosby, Sep. 08, 2014

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