What can we do regarding negligent post-operative care that caused my grandfather’s death?

My grandfather passed away 5 months ago after complications that arose while in an extra care facility post surgery to remove a portion of his colon that was perforated. He had been on the mend until sudden vomiting occurred. The charge nurse had no idea that he had been going on for 2 days and no one had any blood work ordered after his antibiotics regiment ended. Only after a lot of pushing did she order blood work and have it rushed. He died from massive infection to his organs and his system shutting down. The doctor who did the surgery said this shouldn’t have happened the facility dropped the ball. We believe them to be at fault but don’t know what to do.

Asked on September 10, 2015 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your grandfather.
Prior to filing a wrongful death claim negligence causing death against the facility, it may be possible to settle the case with the facility's insurance carrier.
The claim on behalf of your grandfather filed with the facility's insurance carrier should include the medical bills, medical reports, and the statement from the surgeon that your grandfather's death should not have occurred and that the facility "dropped the ball".
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering resulting in death is an amount in addition to the medical bills and is based on the medical reports.  If your grandfather was still working at the time of his illness and death, a lost income claim should also be included.
If the case is settled with the facility's insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.
If your family is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the facility's insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility.
If the case is NOT settled with the facility's insurance carrier, the wrongful death lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your family will lose its rights forever in the matter.


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