Knee replacement surgery is a common and effective procedure that can relieve pain and improve mobility for people with severe knee problems. However, like any surgery, it comes with some risks and complications. One of these complications is a locked knee, which means the knee cannot bend or straighten properly. A locked knee can be very painful and limit the patient’s ability to walk, work, and perform daily activities.
A locked knee can have various causes, such as infection, nerve damage, blood clots, or scar tissue. However, sometimes a locked knee can be the result of a doctor’s negligence in not ordering physical therapy after a knee replacement. Physical therapy is an essential part of the recovery process after a knee replacement. It helps the patient regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the knee. It also prevents stiffness, swelling, and inflammation that can lead to a locked knee.
If a doctor fails to order physical therapy after a knee replacement, or does not monitor the patient’s progress and adjust the therapy accordingly, the patient may suffer from a locked knee that could have been avoided. This can be considered a form of medical malpractice, which is when a health care provider deviates from the standard of care and causes harm to a patient.
A patient who suffers from a locked knee due to a doctor’s negligence may be entitled to compensation for their damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life. To prove a medical malpractice claim, the patient must show that:
- The doctor had a duty of care to the patient, which means they had a professional relationship and an obligation to provide competent care.
- The doctor breached the duty of care by not ordering physical therapy after a knee replacement, or by not providing adequate supervision and guidance during the therapy.
- The doctor’s breach of duty caused the patient’s locked knee, which means there is a direct link between the doctor’s negligence and the patient’s injury.
- The patient suffered damages as a result of the locked knee, which means they incurred losses or harm that can be measured and compensated.
A medical malpractice claim can be challenging to pursue, as it requires expert testimony, medical records, and other evidence to support the patient’s allegations. Moreover, the doctor and their insurance company may try to deny or minimize the patient’s claim, or argue that the locked knee was caused by something else, such as the patient’s own negligence or a pre-existing condition.
Lloyd W. Gathings