Do I have a medical malpractice case?

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Do I have a medical malpractice case?

I had gastric bypass surgery 15 months ago. About 18 month later I occurred an ulcer where my intestines met to my stomach. My surgeon felt that it needed to be removed so he scheduled an appointment to remove it immediately seven days after the surgery to remove the ulcer an infection started and I went beck to the surgeon to have the infection drained. A few days after that I received a letter stating that the hospital knew that there was an infection in the hospital and they apologized. A few days after that i received a letter from my insurance

agency telling me that they were gonna refuse to cover the procedure because they felt it was malpractice. Do I have a case?

Asked on July 12, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There are three hurdles to having a viable malpractice case.
First, you have to show causality: that some act or omission by the medical care provider harmed you. It's not enough that it *might* have harmed or your logically could have--you actually have to have evidence (e.g. medical tests, or the opinion of a medical expert) that shows that the act or omission did in fact cause you harm. Here, you'd have to show that the infection "in the hospital" is the one that you got.
Second, you have to show negligence, or unreasonable carelessness based on what was known *at the time* (not after the fact). So you'd have to show that it negligent to perform a procedure on you then, based on what they then knew, and/or that their sanitary, etc. precautions were inadequate.
Third, the case must have worthwhile "damages," or compensation available. You can only receive compensation for your additional medical costs caused by the infection, any wages lost due to it, and, if you suffered at least weeks, if not months (or longer) of life impairment and disability, some amount for pain and suffering. If you incurred little in the way of additional medical expenses, did not loose much income, and did not have weeks or more of impairment, it's not worth even contemplating a malpractice suit--malpractice suits are expensive due to the need for medical expert testimony and medical tests, so unless it's a large case, you could spend more on the case than you'd win. 


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