What should I do about a possible malpractice case?

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What should I do about a possible malpractice case?

When my wife was in labor she was given an Epideral. As soon as they put it in, her blood pressure dropped rapidly and she lost all feeling in her legs. We found out from the nurses that the anathesiologist said that they put it in the wrong spot (too far into the spine). Since then she has had constant headaches and debilitating back pain, along with dizziness, and muffled hearing. During the actual birthing process the medication had worn off and she felt everything. She was told they couldn’t give her any more medication because it could stop her from breathing. Do I need to speak with a malpractice attorney? In Milwakee, WI.

Asked on February 21, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it would be advisable to consult directly with a medical malpractice attorney.  Personal injury litigation, under which a malpractice case falls, involves claims where someone is injured through the negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct of another. In this case, your wife's medical provider apparently placed the eperderal incorrectly, which ihas resulted in her combating headeaches, hearing loss, dizziness, and back pain.   Additionally, the purpose of such a case is to compensate those injured as a result; this includes out-of-pocket costs/losses, as well as pain and suffering.  Accordingly, your wife's claim against the doctors, nurses, and/or hospital should include medical bills and lost wages, if any.  It should also include medical reports which will provide evidence establishing malpractice by documenting the nature and extent of her injuries, which in turn will determine the amount of compensation that she will receive for her pain and suffering.  Note: These reports should also include those from other physicians that have evaluated her (i.e. a neurologist; another anesthesiologist, etc). 

If you can't settle with the appropriate insurance carrier(s), a lawsuit will need to be timely filed or her claim will be permanently barred.  Again, at this point you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney in your area.

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It would be advisable to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.

Your wife should obtain her medical reports, medical bills and any wage loss documentation.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of her injury and will determine the amount of compensation she receives for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If the statement from the anesthesiologist is included in the medical reports, that will provide evidence in support of your wife's claim.  An opinion from an anesthesiologist not connected with the case may also provide additional evidence of malpractice.  It would also be advisable for your wife to be evaluated by a neurologist.  The medical malpractice attorney may be able to provide referrals to another anesthesiologist and neurologist.

If the case is not settled with the  insurance carriers for the physician and hospital, your wife will need to file a lawsuit for negligence against the physician and hospital prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or she will lose her rights forever in the matter.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with a medical malpractice attorney. Malpractice is when a medical care provider (doctor, hospital, etc.) makes an error or mistake, or otherwise departs from accepted medical procedure, in such a fasion as to cause injury. If epidural was inserted in the wrong place, that could certainly qualify as malpractice. In a malpractice lawsuit, one can sue for pain and suffering, disability, inability to enjoy life or perform routine tasks, work, or chores, or for medical costs. If you wife is suffering constant headaches, dizziness, debilitating pain, hearing loss, etc., those could certainly be damages for which your wife could receive compensation, as you may also be able to receive compensation for the cost of medical treatment to deal with these conditions.


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