Worst Times to Hear “Oops” – Thank Goodness for Second Opinions!

Generally speaking, someone only says “oops” when they make a mistake, right? Of course, not all mistakes are the same, and here are several times you’d rather not hear that common exclamation:

  • During your haircut. Barbershops and hair salons don’t always have a lot in common, but there’s this – these are both places you don’t want someone saying “oops!”
  • At the dentist’s office. A major reason this is such a bad time to hear the dreaded acknowledgement of a mistake is because you can’t see what’s happening. Without a visual assessment, you’re left to run through worst case scenarios in your head. (And especially because you can’t clearly ask questions!)
  • When having a new tattoo inked. It’s basically a trope at this point for a tattoo about having “No Regrets” to become one reading “No Regrets,” but you really want to make sure the tattoo artist has a reputation for accuracy before getting one.
  • Upon showing up for a funeral service. “That’s not my mother!” “Oops.”
  • While getting an oil change. Admittedly, initially we were thinking about more advanced car repair jobs, but you usually aren’t sitting in your car when this work is done – unlike being at an instant oil change shop. While we’re Austin’s top podiatrists and not mechanics, we can safely say that the wrong fluid in the wrong part of your engine would be quite catastrophic.
  • At your son’s bris (or circumcision). Every male reader just cringed.

bad haircut

Doctors Are Human, Not Divine

It’s tough for us to support the brand because sugar-laden snacks are a contributing factor to the rise in diabetes, but Snickers has a commercial that is either humorous or obnoxious—depending on your personal taste and preferences—featuring a definite “oops moment.”

The setup is a patient in recovery following a surgery. The surgeon is sitting next to him apologizing and a hospital administrator is in the middle of promising to recover the surgeon’s phone—now inside the patient—when it starts ringing. For a brief moment, the surgeon has an internal conflict about whether or not to answer the phone, when he decides to with a slight pinch.

The final part of the gig is when he says he going to “make it better” and the phone’s automatic assistant says “Okay, here’s how to make butter.”

What Happens When I Still Have Pain?

Obviously, this is just a commercial and the situation is intended to be used for humor, but back in 2014, The Washington Post reported that surgeons actually do leave something behind inside patients once out of every 5,500 to 7,000 surgeries in the U.S.

To give some context, there are roughly 51 million surgeries every year – and this means somewhere between 7,000 and 9,000 patients left the hospital with more than they expected. (For further context, the typical U.S. hospital averages two such occurrences every year.)

At a roughly 0.012% chance of a surgeon leaving something in a patient, the odds of this kind of “oops” are reasonably small—definitely not a reason to cancel a much-needed procedure—but it does happen.

Outside of this very rare chance of having something go “wrong” with a surgery, it’s very possible that a treatment plan from another doctor doesn’t fully resolve your pain or other foot or ankle issue. We often have patients visit after a procedure elsewhere and say, “My foot still hurts! How long until it goes away?” The answers they’ve received from other doctors just don’t do it.

foot pain

Here are 10 things our patients have heard from other doctors (no joke):

  1. “The surgery went perfectly, but . . .”
  2. “How can your ankle hurt? I operated on your knee!”
  3. “It’s all in your head.”
  4. “There’s nothing ‘clinically’ wrong with you.”
  5. “See a psychiatrist.”
  6. “I can’t help you.”
  7. “Your symptoms are out of proportion to your injury.”
  8. “You’re only looking for more drugs.”
  9. “You’re only looking for attention.”
  10. “It’s got to be you.”

Needless to say, these answers don’t work! When you’re in pain, you want answers. We take the time to talk to you, understand where you’re coming from, and develop a plan to get you pain-free.

We Provide Second Opinions When Things Don’t Go As Expected…

In fact, you might need to see one of our doctors for a second opinion on account of some kind of mistake from a treating physician. (Remember, your primary care physician or previous doctor was trying his or her best and the mistake was not intentional!)

Certain conditions—and especially nerve-related ones—can be difficult to diagnose, which is why Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists is committed to staying current with the latest technological advances for our patients.


Basically, it is rather difficult to see nerve injuries in such diagnostic methods. As such, we will likely use other tools—perhaps EMG (electromyogram) tests, nerve blocks, or MRN (magnetic resonance neurography, which is a modification of an MRI)—to determine what is actually happening. Then we can start creating our plan to address it.

…Or Even When They Do

This might be surprising to hear at first, but you could potentially want to see us after having a successful surgery.

Wait, after a successful surgery? What??

There are instances wherein the initial problem is resolved, only to uncover a second, possibly-unrelated condition. For example, let’s say you have neuropathic pain in a lower limb. After careful diagnosis, the problem is determined to be tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Accordingly, a procedure is performed to address the nerve compression. The previous pain from the tarsal tunnel syndrome is gone – but you now have neuropathic pain in the ball of foot area. In this case, the tarsal tunnel pain had masked the fact you also have Morton’s neuroma.

Fortunately, we have procedures we can use to treat the neuroma—or other lower limb issue—and provide the ultimate relief you are seeking.

Learn More About Second Opinions

As we’ve seen, there are various reasons as to why you might want to seek a second opinion – and you can learn even more about this in your Free Guide to Lingering Pain After Foot & Ankle Surgery!

It takes less than a minute to sign up for it, but the guide contains valuable information to help you understand how to put the lingering pain behind you.

Of course, it’s one thing to know when you should seek a second opinion, and quite another to know where to go. Fortunately, we make that decision pretty easy for you!

Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists has been able to treat numerous patients who came to see us for a second opinion following treatment or diagnosis elsewhere. Give us the chance, and we’ll do the same for you. Contact us by calling (512) 328-8900 or use our online form to connect with us.

And don’t forget to request your Free Guide to Lingering Pain After Foot & Ankle Surgery today!
Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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