Can my sisters and I file a lawsuit regarding our mother’s death due to possible malpractice?

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Can my sisters and I file a lawsuit regarding our mother’s death due to possible malpractice?

My mother went into the hospital for pneumonia. Her physician asked us if he could do a procedure to take a look at her lungs, we agreed. While doing the procedure he decided to take a sample from her lung and collapsed it and didn’t inform us of about the collapsed lung until the next day. My mother died from her injuries a few days later.

Asked on August 23, 2011 Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You and your sisters should speak with an attorney who handles medical malpractice to evaluate whether you have a case and its strength and value. To begin with, you should be able to bring the lawsuit--or rather, your mother's estate should be able to bring the lawsuit (the attorney can examine the situation and determine how best to file it).

Assuming a lawsuit can indeed to be brought, the question will be whether this was in fact malpractice. Every bad medical outcome is not malpractice; malpractice, or literally "bad practice," is when the medical professional or institution provides care that does not meet the ordinarily accepted standards of medical care, such as due to carelessness, lack of training, bad equipment, poor judgment, etc. If the care provider did everything right--for example, accepted standards of care would include the procedure you describe, performed the way this provider did--there is no malpractice; there must be fault, or something done wrong, to be malpractice. Experienced counsel can evaluate whether this situation may present malpractice, and thus whether it is worthwhile taking the next step, and either filing a lawsuit or having a medical expert evaluate the care.


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