What do I need to pursue a medical malpractice case against a hospital for negligence or a misdiagnosis?

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What do I need to pursue a medical malpractice case against a hospital for negligence or a misdiagnosis?

I went to the emergency room because I was sure that I had a blood clot. I explained to the doctor that I had had a blood clot 3 years earlier and that the pain I was experiencing was the exact same pain I had before. I also explained that I have factor 5 which is a genetic thing were my blood clots too much. They did an ultrasound of my leg and said it was just a strain. 5 days later I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, which is where the clot moved from my leg to lung. My lungs may never completley heal and I will have damage to my leg as well.

Asked on June 24, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice is the provision of medical care which does not meet then-accepted standards for medical care. It does not mean merely that the hospital or doctor was wrong, since medical care providers are not held to a standard of perfection--the issue is, where they as careful as, did all the same things as, and came to an acceptable conclusion for, a "reasonable" doctor or similar care provider. If they did, then there is no malpractice; so, for example, if the proper thing to do when you went was an ultrasound and the clot simply did not show on it, then they most likely did not commit malpractice.

On the other hand, if they did not run the tests they should have, paid too little attention to your symptoms or history, or misread any tests (like the ultrasound), then that could be malpractice, and you could potentially recover resulting medical costs, lost wages, any future medical costs or diminution of earning potential, and possibly also "pain and suffering" for disability or other impact on the enjoyment of life.

A good first step would be to consult with experienced medical malpractice counsel. An experienced lawyer in this field can tell you whether it seems as if you have a valid case and what it might be worth. A second step, if it premliminarily looks worthwhile to pursue, will be getting some doctor to examine you and/or the records, and provide some expert opinion as to whether this was malpractice--you cannot proceed with a medical malpractice case without expert medical testimony.


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