Do I have a malpractice case for a missed diagnosis?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I have a malpractice case for a missed diagnosis?

I have been having episodes of chest pain, nausea and vomiting for 10 years.

On about 50 of these occasions, it has been bad enough to visit the ER. I have been given heartburn medications, pain medications and sometimes nothing. I recently became pregnant and had an episode, so I went to the ER. They reacted much different this time; they were concerned about the baby and did an ultrasound. They found multiple gallstones in my gallbladder but told me that they could not perform the surgery needed until after I delivered, in 6 months. In the meantime, they told me to watch my diet and if it get’s severe, they would have to perform emergency surgery. I have filed grievances with 3 different hospitals for failing to do a simple ultrasound. I could have had this surgery when these symptoms started. I have had so much pain and suffering and unnecessary vomiting in the past 10 years, which I’m sure has done damage to my esophagus.

Asked on February 9, 2017 under Malpractice Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If it was negligent, or unreasonably careless, for the hospital to not do further or more detailed testing in the face of a long-standing series of complaints or problems which were not being resolved by the medication(s) they prescribed--and it very well may have negligent, based on what you write--then this may have been malpractice. If it was malpractice and, as you believe, the failure to identify the gallstones caused your problems, you could potentially recover compensation for 10 years of unnecessary pain and life impairment, for any damage that was done to your esophagus, and for any additional medical costs you did pay or will pay, which were required by the failure to diagnose in a timely fashion. It would seem to be worthwhile for you to consult with a medical malpractice attorney: many provide a free initial consultation to evaluate a case, and you can inquire about that before making any appointments. 

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 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.

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