Florida trial lawyer and chiropractic physician, Guy S. DiMartino, discusses avascular necrosis and how it can be related to an accidental injury.
The Typical Client History
A client of mine comes in a few months after injuring his wrist, hip or knee in an accident. He is pretty distraught. He just left the doctor's office and was told that he has a condition called avascular necrosis. Avascular necrosis goes by a bunch of other names including: osteonecrosis, ischemic bone necrosis, and AVN. The doctor's description of what happened was way over his head.
My client had a lot of questions but the most pressing question was – What About The Future? What does this mean to me in 5 or 10 years? Will I be able to be compensated for this injury? My first job is a counselor at law with a healthcare background was to give my client counsel, and explain why he developed AVN, discuss his treatment options, and what the future may bring.
Why did my client develop Avascular Necrosis?
Avascular necrosis is a medical term for bone death due to a lack of blood supply. Avascular means “lack of blood supply”, and necrosis means “tissue death”. So his bone died in an area that was supplied by a certain arterial system because the blood supply was injured. If the blood supply is injured, nutrition cannot get to the bone and by products of metabolism cannot be taken away from the bone.
I explained to my client that he most likely developed avascular necrosis because the fracture that he received or the trauma that impacted his bone also damaged his blood supply. I told him that I believed it was related to his accident.
What are the most common locations of Avascular Necrosis?
I went on the explain that the most common sites in which we see avascular necrosis develop are the scaphoid bone of the wrist (located at the base of thumb), the hip, knee, and since the advent of anti-osteoporosis medications, the jaw.
What is the outcome of Avascular Necrosis?
Because the bone has died in the area of avascular necrosis the bone actually remodels. If this happens in the hip, the head of the femur actually collapses and these folks need a hip replacement. If avascular necrosis happens in the scaphoid, the treatment will depend on the pain and loss of function in the wrist. If avascular necrosis occurs in the knee and causes the joint to collapse, a knee replacement will be in order.
Will my client be able to be compensated for the medical care and loss of function?
Yes; if we are able to show that the other person was a fault for the accident, and the injury caused or substantially contributed to the avascular necrosis. It is in cases like avascular necrosis where causation becomes an issue that the type of attorney a client hires could matter. The medical concepts in these types of cases are more complex and I believe it is important to retain an attorney who has substantial knowledge of the anatomy, physiology, pathological process and long term prognosis associated with a condition such as avascular necrosis.
If you have any questions about developing avascular necrosis after an accidental injury, give me a call at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form on the right.