Can I sue for medical malpractice if I was given charity?

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Can I sue for medical malpractice if I was given charity?

I had surgery. At the time I didn’t have health insurance. Luckily the hospital gave me charity. During the operation the anesthesia wore off about 6 times and I could feel everything. I was never put under and I was awake the entire time. Can I sue for pain and suffering? I have nightmares about this. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? In Baltimore County, MD.

Asked on July 28, 2011 Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can file a lawsuit for negligence (medical malpractice).  The fact that you received charity is irrelevant.  Your lawsuit for negligence would be against the hospital and anesthesiologist.  Since you are still having nightmares, it would be advisable to document this by seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist and obtaining that medical report in addition to the medical report and medical bill from the hospital/doctor.  You also want to document any wage loss.  Compensation for medical bills and wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  The medical reports will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.

It would be advisable to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers for the hospital/anesthesiologist, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 

Medical malpractice is based on negligence.  Negligence is failing to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hospital/ anesthesiologist would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  The standard of care for the anesthesiologist is that degree of care that a reasonable anesthesiologist in the same community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.


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