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how do I find out how much my injury is worth?

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Old 06-09-2004, 07:39 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1
brookenterry HB User
how do I find out how much my injury is worth?

the following is a copy of portions of a letter that I have sent to many many personal injury/medical mal practice lawyers. The only info I need is how do I go about making a claim and how much is my injury worth...and there is the "mystery" pain...anybody suffering with those symptoms too? I'd appreciate any info. Thanks!
I am a dependant spouse of an active duty AF TSgt. My doctors (s) are also active duty AF officers, and typically, I am treated in military facilities.
On September 24th 2001 I became an Open RNY gastric bypass patient. Four months later we were re-stationed here in England. I became very ill with severe abdominal cramping and pain, constant vomiting and diarrhea. After being seen in the ER a few times and being sent home with Tylenol 3 and the diagnosis of “mystery pain”, my PCM, gave me a referral to the Military Hospital under the care of the base gastric bypass surgeon. On that consultation he discovered two small ventral hernias. One at the top and one at the bottom of my incision, that he felt were causing me the pain and illness, but because I had lost only a little weight (I started at 358) he decided to wait for complete weight-loss and do the hernia repairs at the same time as the abdominoplasty. A year later in October of 02, after having several “mystery pain” attacks, and surviving only on cheese and crackers because that’s all I could keep down, and now that my hernia was the size of a melon, my PCM gave me another referral, this time with in the British community. The doc put a mesh guard over the hole but could not pull the muscle fascia together because being over weight had stretched it out and the injury had been left too long, the muscle wall had deteriorated and atrophied. Later, after several more “mystery pain” attacks (we now call them episodes, as I will explain further) and a few more visits to the doc, he decides that the hernia can and should be repaired better. February 20th 04 I was opened up again, doc but in a large and “special” type of mesh designed for enormous ventral hernias. It stretches from my pubic bone to my breast bone and from side to side, stapled to each area. He said he was able to pull one set of fascia muscle over the mesh and together, but not the other due to the damage suffered. When I woke I was in an extreme amount of pain in spite of the morphine. ( I have a very high pain threshold, so this alarmed us all) My nurse would not listen to me, driving me out of bed. (I’ve been cut open four times already, I know what to expect) She said I was being a baby. I had shooting pains running from just above my hip bone on the right hand side (abdominally) down my right thigh, I could barely stand and she expected me to walk, I made it down the hall but the next time, I couldn’t even make it to the door…they sent me home anyway. I had Not had a bowel movement, I had NOT eaten, I had only urinated once. Five days later I was readmitted via ER with severe debilitating abdominal pain, vomiting (heaving really since there was nothing to come out), no bowel movements ( prior to going to the ER, we had phone my surgeon for help and advice, he told me to take Mylanta and gas-x and that he would call me the next day). Through X-ray they found a kink in the bowel and an illyus (sp?). I was given an NG tube and some pain relief and sent to the ward to wait for the doc. The following morning I went to surgery. He was able to un-kink the bowel but the illyus would have to work it’s self out. He noticed then as well that there were “acute” changes in my intestines. He mentioned then that it could be crones’ disease. I believe I was in the hospital over 13 days…can’t really tell ya though, because I‘ve lost many “days” and events with in this time period and even time it’s self is a bit skewed for me, I was highly medicated. I have had several of these debilitating episodes since then, as a matter of fact, the nurses, most of the physicians and workers in both the clinic and the hospital know me by name…never saw that happening. At the on set of recovery from my last episode, Doc said that we would wait until the next episode to try and find out what is wrong, and that for now we’ll treat the symptoms. What that means is that now I can not eat. I am on a liquid diet, and I take Reglan, Donnatal, and Phenagrine just to be able to tolerate it going through my intestines, and even then just barely. I was on Percocet for nearly three months, and still need it due to the level of pain I’m in, but can’t have it because of the addictive nature of it. I can not take anti inflammatory because they irritate the bowel, and Tylenol does no good. The side effects of the raglan are nausea, dizziness muscle ticks and spasm, and anxiety…similarly all the drugs I have to take, and they all cause drowsiness I can not drive while taking them. I Have 4 children, two are at home during the day. Most days all I can do is rest on the couch. I can not pick my children up, or stop them from falling, or play with them physically. I am a highly skilled cosmetologist, but I can not stand and use my arms for any length of time with out being in severe pain and discomfort. My husband and I backpack and hike and white water raft, all of those things I can no longer do. If I clean my house (which typically, I do once a week) it puts me out of commission for a good three days. I have to take anti- depressants now. Some days, I prey that I’ll die in my sleep. I used to be able to function normally, I was mostly healthy, but these two problems have been left too long and mistreated in every way, and still, and I’m left holding the bag waiting for my next episode. I want to be diagnosed and treated properly…I know you can’t help with that, but I’m working on it. I want compensation for the loss of ability I’ve suffered, for the pain myself and my family has suffered, and will suffer. There are other smaller but relevant side effects of every thing this little body has been through, but I can get into that at another time if necessary.

Last edited by brookenterry; 06-09-2004 at 07:44 AM.

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Old 06-09-2004, 08:51 AM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 3,308
Blastoff9600 HB UserBlastoff9600 HB User
Re: how do I find out how much my injury is worth?

First try your hardest to get copies of all your medical records from the very beginning(before the GB surgery). You would be surprised how certain medical records can disappear when it comes to blaming military docs. Second it will be extremely hard to to sue the military docs since they are military docs. I make my DH get new copies every other year. We have seen too many AD friends who didnt keep their own copies and wound up getting screwed over in medical discharges. I know you arent AD but it would be wise to get those copies so you can read over them.
As for finding out how much an injury is worth that tends to be figure through the costs of your medical bills(kind of hard to do since we dont have to pay the military docs)loss of income by you not being able to work and then pain and sufferring you have gone through. As for p[utting a price on all that a decent lawyer who knows what he/she is doing will have an easier time figuring that. I say that becuase the ones you are sending the letter to deal with that type of figuring a lot.
Married 3/25/95
DS 13 yr
DS 8 yr (3+ yrs ttc)
TTC #3 since 01/02

Old 06-12-2004, 08:28 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4
Paprikash HB User
Re: how do I find out how much my injury is worth?

Two points: I believe from my review of your post that you saw military doctors, and doctors in Britain. Your entitlement to free medical care by the the U.S. Military (CHAMPUS or otherwise) does not entitle you to sue the military for medical malpractice; in other words, the U.S. Government does not waive its sovereign immunity to allow lawsuits against the military for malpractice. As to any lawsuit against a British doctor, that would be governed by the British courts, not the U.S courts.

Last edited by Paprikash; 06-12-2004 at 08:29 AM.

Old 06-12-2004, 08:31 AM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4
Paprikash HB User
Re: how do I find out how much my injury is worth?

Post #2....As to suing British doctors, since Britain has a system of socialized medicine in which patients are treated at no cost, they generally do not allow the type of personal injury lawsuits for high punitive damages that we allow in the U.S.

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