What are my rights if a nurse practitioner misdiagnosed me, saying that I had cancer when actually I was actually pregnant?

One of her tests was a CT scan which was and has been scary knowing my baby was exposed to the radiation. I had a meeting with this practitioner to try to resolve some of the issues i have had with her mentally and financially and she basically said everything was my fault and leaving me with $4,000 in bills with barely an apology. I am in the process of filing a complaint but I don’t think it is right that I have unnecessary bills that I can’t pay because of complications during pregnancy I had to quit working and now having the baby I can’t work enough to pay even my normal bills. What legal actions do I take to resolve this?

Asked on August 7, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you can't work something out with her voluntarily, if you refuse to pay the bills, she will have to sue you to get the money; in the lawsuit, she'll have to prove that she provided the services, while you can defend yourself by attempting to show that the services were not medically necessary or otherwise inappropriate. If she wins some amount of money from you, you could file bankruptcy (especially if you also have other bills, such as credit card bills) which you simply cannot pay.

If you believe you received any value from her, you might try first to settle for some mutually agreeable amount of payment; if you do this, make sure to get the settlement agreement in writing.

You could attempt to sue her for malpractice, but if--as we hope--neither you nor your child suffered actual injury, all you could recover would be any additional medical bills which incurred due to her initial misdiagnosis; since malpractice cases can be very expensive, it may not be worthwhile to do this.

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