Can I sue for malpractice if a doctor said my wife’s lab result was OK but learned it’s fatal after a month?

My wife was rushed to ER because of extreme chest pain. Her CBC was normal according to the doctor. She was discharged few hours later. Then we did some stressful activities for a month drove up along the coast and back, and others. We then visited her clinic to find out that her platelets are almost gone. The doctor from the clinic requested the data from the hospital where my wife was rushed and they had the same lab results which they didn’t tell us. Is this a case of medical malpractice because thrombocytopenia is a serious

medical condition?

Asked on September 20, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Washington


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence on the part of the hospital is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hospital would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
If the delay in treatment for thrombocytopenia due to the hospital's failure to disclose the condition made your wife's condition worse, she could document that with medical treatment and medical reports from the clinic and would have a malpractice claim against the hospital.  If there were no ill effects from the delay in treatment, then she would not have a medical malpractice claim against the hospital  because the hospital's negligence did not cause an injury.
If the hospital's negligence caused a worsening of her medical condition, prior to filing a lawsuit against the hospital, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance carrier.  Your wife should notify the hospital's insurance carrier in writing of her malpractice claim.
When she completes her medical treatment and is released by the clinic or is declared by the clinic's doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in her treatment where no further improvment is anticipated, she should obtain her medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Her claim filed with the hospital's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of her condition and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the hospital's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If your wife is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hospital's insurance carrier, she should reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.
If the case is NOT settled, the lawsuit for negligence against the hospital must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitatiions or your wife will lose her rights forever in the matter.

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