What are my rights if my infant son suffered broken arm while at the doctor’s office due to falling off of the examining table?

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What are my rights if my infant son suffered broken arm while at the doctor’s office due to falling off of the examining table?

I took my 6 month old twin boys to the cardiologist on yesterday. The doctor took one of them from me to begin examination. While he had him on the examination table, he rolled off and hit the hard wood floor. Although, I was very upset. I tried to remain civil. They performed no examination on him, other than rubbing his head.The cardiologist did tell me to keep a close eye on him an if he started to stare off call him back and let him know. After leaving the doctor’s office and getting home, I noticed when I lifted his arm up he would cry out, as if he was feeling excruciating pain. I took him to the emergency room, only to find out he has a fractured humerus due to his fall. I am now seeing an orthopedic specialist. Please help!

Asked on January 13, 2016 under Malpractice Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fundamental issue is "why" did your son roll off the table? If it was because the doctor left him unattended, or had an unsafe table (too small, too sloped, rickety, etc.), or moved him to the edge and then didn't make sure he was secure, etc., then the practice may be liable for his injury. But if the doctor did nothing wrong--e.g. you son was seated normally and safely on a stable table, but then simply moved or rolled without any warning, as children sometimes do--the doctor and practice would not be liable. That is because liability depends on fault, so only if the doctor was at fault in some way might they be liable for your son's injury. If they are liable, you could potentially recover your out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance) medical costs related to the injury, lost wages if you missed work, and, if there is any lasting detriment to your son, pain and suffering.


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