What to do if my dad had a heart surgery and the signed consent said there was only a 10% chance of paralysis when in fact it was more like a 40% chance?

It said there was a 10% chance of paralysis. Now that he is paralyzed they said it was more like a 40% chance. He would never have had the surgery in the first place because he is such an avid golfer and the surgery was elective. Is the malpractice? Does he have a case?

Asked on September 3, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Florida


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The only way to know if you have a potential medical malpractice case is to consult a malpractice lawyer in your state.  This is a complex area of the law and depends on both legal theories and medical science.

In general, doctors must tell patients the truth about risks and benefits.  If they don't and something bad happens, the patient may have a claim.  These "informed consent" cases are very difficult, however.  They often come down to "he said, she said" with unpredictable results.

When you say your dad is "paralyzed," do you mean completely paralyzed, or partially paralyzed?  One of the factors you and your lawyer must consider is the potential damages your dad would recover if he won a lawsuit.  Medical malpractice cases are very expensive, take a long time, and are difficult.  Many states have capped the amount of damages a person can recover for "pain and suffering."  Lawyers look carefully to make sure a settlement or verdict would actually help your Dad and your family.  If not, they will decline to pursue it.

I hope this helps.  I encourage your Dad to consult a malpractice lawyer in his area.

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