CHF caused by too much fluid given in the hospital?

My mom is in the hospital right now. I bought her in for a fever. When she got
admitted, they did a chest x-ray and he heart was functioning normally. They gave
her a TON of saline to keep her hydrated and now her new x-ray shows her heart
is only functioning at 25 due to the fluid build up. She also had trouble breathing
because the fluid backed up into her lungs. Once asked for an explanation, the
doctor said ‘they had to do that to keep you hydrated’. They have obviously given
her too much which has effected her heart. Do we have a case here?

Asked on April 29, 2016 under Malpractice Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may have a case: it depends on whether, given the symptoms and test results, the amount of saline they gave her was medically appropriate, under accepted medical standards of care for her condition, or not. Sometimes, a doctor or hospital does everything right, and the patient still does badly; or sometimes they have to risk or cause one injury to prevent a greater injury or death, and that is appropriate, too (example: if someone comes in with gangrene on a foot, the hospital may amputate to save his/her life, because the risk of trying to save the foot is too great, with a high probabiltity of death). At present, you don't know enough to know whether what the hospital and doctor did was appropriate or careless. A good start would be to speak with a medical malpractice attorney (many provide a free initial consultation to evaluate a case; you can ask about this before making the appointment); the attorney should be able to direct you to a doctor who can discuss the situation, examine the medical records and/or your mother, and offer an opinion as to whether this may have been malpractice or not. The lawyer can also advise you as to what the case might be worth, and what it might cost to pursue it, if there is malpractice.

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