Do I have a case of medical malpractice?

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Do I have a case of medical malpractice?

I have a condition called hepatic encephalopathy. When it flares up I suffer altered mental status and hallucinations that are very frightening to me as well as for those close to me. In researching this disease I discovered I should never take Benzodiazepines yet my doctor prescribed these for me. As a result I had several frightening incidents of altered mental status, including an arrest for a suspected DUI which was dropped due to lack of evidence. There is also a medication on the market to treat this condition and she has not yet prescribed it for me. Can I sue her for malpractice?

Asked on August 22, 2012 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may have a case for malpractice, if the doctor was aware of your condition; if she was, then prescribing Benzodiazepines for you, and/or failing to prescribe medication to treat the condition, may be medical care that does not rise to accepted standards of care--i.e. malpractice. The question is whether it is worth while to take legal action, since in a malpractice suit--which is among the most expensive types of lawsuit to bring, since you *must* have expert medical testimony, and medical experts do not work cheap--you can only typically recover amounts for actual physical injuries, medical costs, disability, loss of wages, and other definable physical or economic injuries or costs. If you do not have many, or they are not "expensive" ones, resulting from the malpractice, you could spend more on the lawsuit than your would recover.


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