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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Lost Fingertip at Work Confused at Where to Start

    Today i lost my finger tip on my right index finger, I am a press brake operator and lost it due to a malfunction of the machine. I was taken by ambulance to the ER and i sat there for hours to have them only cover it with cause and give me pain killers and antibiotics. The cut was clean and i had the fingertip with me and im confused as to why they didn't try to reattach the lost tip or anything else such as stitches to stop the bleeding. Something about that seems fishy to me as it is waiting on a doctors appointment that is scheduled on 9/6/11. There is an awful lot of time between the injury and that appointment with nothing being done to the wound itself which has me worried since the cut was completely down to the bone. My job has been great with working with me but with the Labor Day weekend here and no offices open on monday im trying to figure out if im going about this correctly or if i should be talking to a lawyer regarding the lack of action at the ER. Currently looking at not being able to get back to work until at least 9/7/11 if im lucky but that is depending on if i get cleared to work.
    I know that there are compensation payments based on amputations and the severity of them and trying to figure out what im entitled to receive. If anyone has any idea as to what im able to receive that would be great to here from you or if you have other questions ask away i'll try to respond just trying to get through this without loosing too much money. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: Lost Fingertip at Work Confused at Where to Start

    the time to figure out your settlement is after you've completed recovery; not before.
    being delayed in an ER while it is frustrating it is not grounds for malpractice.
    you need to have been harmed in some way.
    do you have a medical opinion that the delay was the cause of some level of damage to you?
    when you do then think about talking to a malpractice lawyer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Lost Fingertip at Work Confused at Where to Start

    I would seriously doubt that you have a claim for Malpractice. ER Physicians generally have more procedural protections than a general practitioner or surgeon would because of the "immediate assessment / treatment" nature of their services.

    What was provided to you at the ER was in compliance with EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986). Basically, the Act requires "life-saving" treatment within the capabilities of the treating facility or stabalization of the patient and transfer to a capable facility. The treating facility is required to provide necessary medical treatment sufficient enough to stabalize the patient. Since the amputation of a fingertip would not substantially reduce the functionality of the digit (finger), and would not present a life-threatening condition, emergency reattachment surgery would be at the discretion of the attending ER physician, and their obligation to provide that would be determined upon whether not doing so would threaten life.

    While you (and others) might conclude that the end of the finger should have been sutured (stitched), that might not be current medical protocol. You didn't say whether the finger was amputated at the first joint, or nearer to the nail bed. That alone could dictate how the wound was treated. Believe it or not, if the finger was severed between the first joint and nail bed, NOT suturing it would likely allow the fingertip to grow back. The finger would be shorter, and would look different, but would probably function almost normally.

    The decision to suture the fingertip back onto the digit might have also had to do with how the fingertip was transported. If it was not put on ice, the flesh will begin to decompose rapidly due to lack of blood circulation. Also, if the fingertip was in direct contact with the ice (instead of a separate bag inside a bag of ice), it will have been moderately frost-bitten and no longer viable for reattachment.

    I would hope that, besides pain medication, you were given some antibiotics to prevent infection, unless the packing contained a sufficient amount to prevent it until your September 6 appointment.

    As to your other questions, .SH is correct. You're probably a bit premature in seeking information for a monetary award.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Lost Fingertip at Work Confused at Where to Start

    Yeah the whole situation is just frustrated and confusing i was thinking about talking to a lawyer just to make sure im going about this correctly is all. My main concern is just getting back to work. All the have given me is an antibiotic for the wound nothing to put on it just gauze is all. The fingertip was also put on ice by my boss as soon as it happened and the thing that confuses me is that the doctor at the ER didn't even look at it. Guess i will figure out whats going on soon enough depending on what workers comp says and what my follow up visit tells me thanks for the replies guys.

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