Can you sue the hospital for causing a condition not related to the admission?

I went to the ER for and pain, nurse started IV (meds never given), was d/c’d 2 days later symptoms occurred again, was admitted for kidney infection. The arm where the ER nurse “poked” 2 days prior caused my arm to swell severely causing cellulitis and DVT. Kidney infection cured in 1 day- never went home, stayed inpatient for 7 days because of the infection. Now I have tons of bills from extended stay!

Asked on December 12, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Nevada


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The hospital, as the nurse's employer, is liable for the negligence of the nurse which occurred during the course and scope of her employment. You could sue the hospital for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable hospital would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care by the injection in your arm causing cellulitis and DVT), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

Actual cause means but for the nurse giving you the IV would you have gotten cellulitis and/or DVT?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening events which would relieve the hospital of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit. Your damages would include your medical bills, pain and suffering and documentation of any wage loss.  Prior to filing a lawsuit against the hospital for negligence, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance carrier.  Your personal injury claim filed with the hospital's insurance carrier would include the medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hospital's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.  If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the hospital prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

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