What are my rights regarding possible malpractice?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights regarding possible malpractice?

I went in for one left ovary and fallopian tube to be removed; I had 2 small cysts that hung on for about 9 months. My OBGYN of 17 years went in to operate and said my ovary was pressed up against my colon and he did not want to risk nicking my colon and referred me to a specialist. I had a discussion with him about having a hysterectomy and his opinion was against it since all my lady parts were working fine. When I went to see the specialist she told me that she would be removing the ovary and fallopian tube but there would be a colorectal/pelvic floor surgeon would also be in the operating room just in case there were any problems with my colon. I went in for the surgery and woke up with a full hysterectomy. I was told that I had some adhesions and I was lucky not to be in a colostomy bag. Then 9 months later after having an abdomen X-ray, I noticed that the X-ray report said that I had 2 staples protruding over my left pelvis. So, I went back and got my operative report and realized that the colorectal specialist was not in the operating room with the OB-GYN but different doctor who graduated medical school just a few years ago and is a board-certified gynecologic oncologist (a doctor who treats cancer). Didn’t the OB-GYN specialist need to tell me that the colorectal surgeon was not going to be attending? That is the reason I was referred to their office in the first place as my colon was the troubling issue. As a side note, I did find that the OB-GYN specialist did in fact make a mistake and cut me causing me to have the full hysterectomy. She explained to me and my husband that my adhesions were the cause.

Asked on September 30, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice cases are designed to one thing only: compensate someone for out-of-pocket medical costs, lost wages from not being able to work (or having to work less, or in a less-lucrative positon) and "pain and suffering" for long-lasting (typically, many months or more) serious disability and life impairment. If malpractice is committed but does not result in such financial losses or disability, there is no point in suing.
At the same time, malpractice cases can be *very* expensive: not only do you really need to have an attorney (these are not cases for the layperson to bring as her own attorney), but you MUST hire a doctor or similar medical expert to write a report and testify in court and that can take thousands of dollars.
You do not describe significant long-last life impairment/disabilty, or large out-of-pocket medical costs or lost wages. Even if, for the sake of argument, this was malpratice (medical care that did not reach currently accepted standards for such care), you do not appear to have an economically viable case based on what you wrote: you'd spend more on the case most likely than you'd get back.

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