Issues When Considering Surgery in a Comp Case
In many Mississippi workers’ compensation cases an injured worker faces the decision of whether to have surgery or not. For purposes of this article, we will separate surgeries into two broad categories. Major and less major. First, examples of what I will classify as “less major” surgeries are carpal tunnel release, knee surgery, and other similar surgeries. The reason I classify the latter as “less major” is more because of the routine nature of the surgeries and the high probability of a positive outcome. Also, some surgeries are emergent and there is little question as to whether it is necessary. An emergent surgery, for example, could be a fractured femur that will not heal without immediate, emergency surgery. I will focus on the non-emergent surgical decisions we see our clients have to make.
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What Should I Ask My Doctor?
With any, non-emergent surgical decision, there are some important issues you should discuss with your doctor. First, have all conservative measures been taken prior to resorting to surgery? Second, what experience does your doctor have with the specific type of surgery? Next, you should ask your doctor what improvements you can expect if you have the surgery. In other words, what will you be able to do if you have the surgery that you can not do now?
You should also ask the doctor about the recovery following surgery. How much pain should you expect? What type of physical therapy will you need to have? How long will it take for you to get to the improvement level your doctor expects? What type of assistance will you need once you are discharged to home? Will future surgeries be a possibility?
Keep in mind that no doctor is going to absolutely assure you as to any particular outcome. However, it is important that you are well informed as to all possibilities. It is your body, and surgery will impact your future in many ways. The more questions you ask, the better. The more mentally prepared you are to face the challenges that will come with recovery, the better your recovery will be.
What Should I Ask Myself?
Some injured workers seem to think that surgery will restore them to 100% of what they were prior to the injury. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. In most instances, the best hope for surgery is to improve your situation. Maybe pain levels can be decreased. Pain may not be completely alleviated. Maybe your mobility or use of a member can be improved. It may not be completely restored. In most situations the question is risk versus reward. Remember, the final decision is yours and yours alone. No one can force you to have surgery.
Rundlett Law Firm can help walk you through this difficult decision. We truly care about our clients and their futures .
Please contact us if you have any questions.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill