What to do if we were just notified that my wife has2 surgical needles inside her left over from a gall bladder removal last fall?

We are just wondering what our options are and how we should proceed? I would think that they have to be removed however I am not a medical professional. I would anticipate that our insurance company will want some answers if they are expected to cover and medical related expenses regarding this. Should I contact them beforehand or leave them out of the picture until later? My wife has had various symptoms since her surgery, from fatigue, pains, nausea and backache (this is the one that drove us to get an X-ray which discovered the needles). Should she speak to a personal injury attorney? We’re in Monroe County, NY. 

Asked on October 22, 2011 under Malpractice Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It would be advisable to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.  Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable surgeon in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Your wife should obtain her medical reports confirming the presence of the needles.  The doctor and the hospital where the surgery occurred are liable.  Their medical reports and medical bills should also be obtained.  Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier and with the hospital's insurance carrier.  The personal injury claim filed with the insurance carriers should include your wife's medical bills, medical reports, and if applicable, documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of the 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 the case is settled with both the surgeon and hospital, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is only settled with one of the parties, the lawsuit for negligence is filed against the remaining party.  If the case is not settled with either party, both the surgeon and hospital are named as defendants in your wife's lawsuit for negligence.  If your wife is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier(s), reject the settlement offers and file the lawsuit for negligence.  If the case is NOT settled, the lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your wife will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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