If I had complications after surgery but the hos[pital staff did nothing, what are my rights?

I went to the ER and was then rushed to surgery to have my appendix removed (a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure). However 60 hours later, after an episode of screaming pain and a nurse who threatened me and yanked my IV out, I checked myself out of the hospital and back into the same ER again. I was rushed to get a CAT scan (they didn’t give me one while I was recovering even after the screaming pain), and then to another surgery (a full blown laparotomy). I was turning septic while in recovery; the nurses said I almost died. Since the hospital didn’t find, or even check for, gut leaks even though given cause. Is this malpractice?

Asked on August 5, 2014 under Malpractice Law, West Virginia


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice is negligence.  Negligence 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).

Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the hospital, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance carrier.

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports  and documentation of wage loss.  Your claim filed with the hospital's insurance carrier should include these items.

Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document tha nature and extent of your injury 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 you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hospital's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.  If the case is NOT settled with the hospital's insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the hospital must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.